A large part of social media strategy involves writing. Unfortunately, many people don’t enjoy writing and even the savviest digital marketers don’t always consider themselves strong writers. Fortunately, there are a few best practices that legal marketers can implement to create even better social media content for their law firm.
One of the best things your team can do if you’re serious about improving your social presence is to create a Social Media Style Guide. This will ensure everyone on your marketing team knows how to post to social using approved messaging, while staying on-brand. Include a mission statement, an audience summary, your ideal brand voice, and tone-approved branding elements, and ideas about which messaging should go on which social platform. Make sure anyone who will be posting on your law firm’s behalf has access to this document. You can also include these best practices to help guide post creation:
Legal Marketer’s Guide to Writing for Social Media:
1. Use the Active Voice
Writing posts in the active voice (vs. the passive voice) will make your content clear, direct, and therefore more engaging. To be clear, the active voice is a style of writing that puts the subject at the beginning of the sentence, followed by an action, and then the object that receives the action.
2. Think of Your Audience (Not Yourself) First
Just like in conversation, it comes off rude to only talk about yourself. Think about what your audience wants and create posts from there.
3. Follow the Problem + Agitation + Solution (PAS) Copywriting Formula
Understanding the problems your target audience face is critical to writing engaging copy. To follow the PAS formula, make it clear that you understand the challenge or pain point your audience is experiencing, then convey how difficult the problem is to endure (throw salt on the wound), and round off your message with the solution to the problem.
4. Make Sharing a Goal
People will share things that they believe their network will find valuable, so write with that in mind. People also like to share things that reinforce their values or identity or make them feel connected to others.
5. Ensure Posts and the Pages They Link to Align
If your post is linking to an external page, then it’s critical that the messaging on both lines up. It’s frustrating to click on a link and be taken to something that doesn’t relate.
6. Make Sure Copy Connects with Any Images or Videos
7. Be Concise
Be as succinct as possible when writing on your topic. Avoid complex language and use short sentences. People skim on social media, so punchy posts tend to work better than long paragraphs.
8. Avoid Sales-driven Messaging
When writing organic (not paid) social content, you want to avoid pushy or aggressive messaging. You can encourage people to take action without veering into salesy territory.
9. Pique Curiosity
Write in a way that makes people want to click. Remember that you don’t need to tell the whole story up front – the goal is to get people to take another action.
10. Use Tools
11. Take a Look at Your Competitors for Inspiration
In many cases, firms similar to yours will have an audience like your own. What kind of content are they publishing on social media? Which posts are receiving the most engagement? This will provide you with ideas and help you to identify gaps and opportunities with your social media content.
You can use a tool like BuzzSumo to analyze your competition’s most shared posts. Remember to always offer your own unique perspectives on any topic you might want to explore.
12. Include Calls-to-action at the End of Each Post
A call-to-action (CTA) at the end of your social copy should be crystal clear and tell users what you want them to do. A great CTA should include active words. For example, “for more information, check out this article” or “for more tips download our guide.”
Communicate the benefits of your CTA. What will the user get out of completing the task in the call-to-action?
13. Be Positive
It’s understandable that some firms may have to discuss negative topics on social media, but try to keep things positive and focus on the good (such as, how your firm is helping your clients overcome negative challenges.)
14. Keep it Simple
The average reading level is 8th grade. Stay away from using overly complicated language, especially complex legalese that your audience won’t understand.
15. Write Stand Out Captions
The first line of your caption is most important, as often that’s all users see before clicking ‘see more’ on social media posts. Use a question, statistic, or grand claim to grab the user’s attention from the beginning and get them to click to see more.
Advanced Social Media Writing Tips
1. Discover Your Brand Voice
Your brand voice should have a tone and language usage that’s particular to your firm and unique. It should fit your law firm’s personality and emotions. Keep this voice consistent across channels.
2. Write Posts, Then Edit Them Later
Social media may seem like it should be a quick process where you can set it and forget it. However, errors can easily be made when moving too quickly. Often, when we read our own writing over and over, we miss out on identifying opportunities for improvement. Try writing your social media posts, then taking some time away and rereading them later so you can make final edits.
3. Keep it Conversational
Nowadays, users prefer marketing and copywriting which is akin to how we speak. So do just that. Try speaking your social media posts out loud. Does it sound natural? Does your post flow well? Do you need more punctuation to indicate the flow? Are there any words that may not sound conversational?
4. Leverage a Tool for Perfect Grammar
Having perfect grammar is essential if you want your firm to remain credible. Leverage a tool like Grammarly so you can ensure all your posts have solid grammar.
5. Avoid Making the World Revolve Around You
Similarly to avoiding salesy language, you should also be writing in a way that promotes thought leadership rather than promoting your firm. If you’re sharing a link to your firm’s content, don’t share it in a way that makes it seem like you’re just trying to get more web traffic. Instead, write a caption that makes it seem like you’re focused on educating your audience and sharing useful resources.
6. Always Add Value
Your caption shouldn’t be a repeat of what everyone else is saying on the topic you’re discussing. Instead, make sure each caption is focused on adding value to the ongoing conversation and to your audience’s experience.
7. Make Your Posts Accessible
Many users use screen readers in order to access social media posts. It’s okay to use some emojis, but stay away from overusing them as this can complicate things for users. Also, always add alt text to your images.
Network-Specific Social Media Writing Tips for Legal Marketers
There are a variety of social media platforms for a reason – if they all performed the same function, there would only be one! Each channel offers different audiences and different purposes. That means that in order to get the best results, your strategy should differ across platforms.
- Ideal post length is 500-600 words
- Remain professional and communicate expertise
- Pose questions or highlight important statistics that relate to your content
- Include 3 hashtags that are relevant to your firm’s audience.
- Tag relevant people. For example, the attorney who authored the content you’re promoting. But only if you know they’ll respond.
- Keep posts short- around 40-80 characters.
- Make posts actionable by driving your audience to take the next step.
- Include links.
- Use Page Insights to ensure your posts align with posts that your audience engages with.
- Keep language simple.
- Share more than headlines as post copy.
- Pay attention to post length – add a shortened URL
- Try to tell a story within a tweet.
- Use trending hashtags but don’t go overboard on hashtags (we recommend using two)
- Talk to people rather than at them
- Tag other relevant accounts.
- Remember, Instagram is a visual network – ensure copy and photos align.
- Use trending hashtags at the end of posts, but hide them in the caption or comments.
- Keep the tone conversational.
- Ask a question your audience can answer in the comments.
- Use emojis
- Make your text stand out; experiment with font generators. All you do is type your text and see it in a dozen cool font styles.
We encourage legal marketers to write social media posts armed with the following information: knowledge of your audience, knowledge of your competition, and knowledge of how you can help. If you have a good idea of who your audience is and what they’re looking for, what your competition posts and what is resonating, and the personality your brand wants to convey on social media, you have the basic information needed to create compelling posts.
Though many forms of media are becoming more popular on social media, it’s still powered by the written word. Getting the text portion of your social media posts right is key in a successful law firm social media strategy. In order to be successful, follow our legal marketer’s guide to writing for social media.
Do you need help driving real business results through social media? Our social media offerings can be customized to your law firm’s needs and realities. In addition to social media management, we offer social media consulting and training for our clients. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Updated and republished from May 21, 2021.