Over the past few years, people have grown more skeptical of what they see and read online. “Fake news”, privacy scandals, and security issues have eroded users’ trust in today’s digital landscape (for example, 37% of respondents to one survey use Facebook less as a result of the Cambridge Analytica data breach). Though the largest technology companies have taken steps to protect users’ information, people have grown to expect more honesty and openness from the organizations they follow online.
Authenticity is the key to building trust. People want to do business with lawyers they know, like and trust. By keeping it real on social media, you can enhance the relationship between your law firm’s brand and your followers. Doing so will increase client engagement, respect, and loyalty.
How can lawyers market themselves authentically and on social media?
Authentic law firm marketing is the practice of speaking, writing, and behaving in a way that is transparent and genuine. Remember that followers are becoming increasingly savvy and can easily spot inauthenticity. In a recent study, it was found that consumers prefer authentic social media marketing. Authenticity is absolutely essential nowadays. Seth Godin once said, “Authenticity in marketing is telling a story people want to hear, and then making the story a reality.”
Here are a few tips for embracing authenticity in your social media marketing.
1. Just Be Real
Sounds simple enough, right? As an attorney, you are the product, so it’s important that people relate to you as an individual and professional. Let some of your personality shine through. By showing up and being real, you allow our audience to see themselves in your stories. They can see their own challenges and desires being echoed through what you share, thus making it easier for your audience to connect with you and feel closer to you.
If you love fitness or traveling or are heavily involved with a local charity, feel free to post about those topics and mention them in your social media bio. Share who you are, what drives you, and what you’re passionate about in your posts. Gone are the days when it was seen as unprofessional to post about personal interests on LinkedIn. Now you can share snippets into your life, whether it’s about family or your hobbies/ interests.
2. Show Some Vulnerability
No one is perfect, and it’s important not to portray who you are. People relate when you show them your human side. By opening up on social media, you can improve your online ‘relationships’ like you do your real ones. Vulnerability doesn’t have to mean you bare your soul on social media. Simply look out for instances where you can show your human side. Maybe there are challenges you’ve faced as a lawyer or a current event that’s struck a chord with you. It’s more human to admit to your emotions rather than pretend they don’t exist.
3. Be Consistent
You want to customize your various posts to the different platforms you use. This will help to ensure content is relevant and in the format that works best for those users. However, your values and your firm identity should always be the same. Have a brand voice and ensure it’s consistent across all of your social media content. And don’t forget to have a somewhat consistent posting schedule. Users may be turned away if they realize you rarely post.
4. Develop and Share Valuable Content
The content you provide should be well thought out. Posting content simply for the sake of posting content won’t cut it. Your content should be educational in nature and should add value to your audience’s lives. Focus on providing quality content over quantity.
5. Skip the Calls-to-action (CTAs) Occasionally
The whole point of your marketing strategy (including social media) is to drive new client activity. However, not everything needs to revolve around generating another action. Play the long game by creating posts designed simply to resonate with followers and connect with your audience. Make sure your posts are a balance of those designed to generate leads and those shared simply to create positive moments with your audience.
6. Interact with Your Audience Directly
The best way to turn your social followers into advocates for your law firm is to interact with them. Get to know your followers and take the time to respond to their comments and interest. Respond quickly to any questions or messages you receive. Remember that prospects will check your social profiles and immediately find you more credible if you’ve clearly been responsive and engaged with followers.
7. Be Transparent and Honest
This isn’t exactly groundbreaking advice, but we can all use the reminder. Social media is full of “enhanced” content designed to make the poster look better. People are becoming more likely to spot this approach, and they don’t appreciate it. Take transparency a step further by sharing behind-the-scenes looks at your staff, your services, events, etc.
8. Evoke Emotions
Part of humanizing yourself as a lawyer is showing that you’re more than just a face on a screen. As users search for and engage with lawyers, someone they’re considering working with, they want to feel at ease that their emotions are valid and that they will be met with kindness and an alleviation of their challenges. When speaking about cases, appeal to users’ emotions and always go the extra mile to speak sensitively when covering topics that evoke strong negative emotions in others. Prove with action that you can help others overcome their challenges.
9. Don’t Self Promote
Don’t use social media to simply self-promote. Instead, offer thoughtful answers to questions and needed information. If your firm spends time creating content such as blogs, white papers, or infographics, sharing them online is the best way to get noticed and create traction with your social media. Also, ensure you’re not posting solely about what’s happening in your firm. A few key updates here and there are good for followers to know – more than that will bore them. Think of what their challenges are and post information that will support users in addressing them. A good rule of thumb is to follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of your posts should be educational, and 20% should be promotional.
10. Don’t Follow Just Any Trend
Hopping on trends is a great way to gain traction and showcase your credibility, however, if you’re hopping onto every single trend without much thought of how it relates to your brand, then you may be hurting your brand name and authenticity. When you spot an emerging or new trend, ask yourself if it fits with your brand identity. And as you create content for trends, always find a way to tie it back into your practice.
11. Avoid Click Bait
It’s great to open your posts with something eye-catching, but something verging on the side of clickbait will ruin your image. Don’t include headlines in your post that make it seem like the post is about one thing, but once the context is added, it becomes misleading. If you want an eye-catching headline, then post an interesting statistic, pose a question, or share a new and exciting idea.
12. Show Your Values
You and your firm most likely have causes and issues you care about. Don’t be afraid to showcase that. If there’s an issue going on that you care about- speak up about it. If there’s a relevant holiday that you celebrate or would like to commemorate- post about it.
13. Encourage User Generated Content
UGC is a great idea for any social media page, as it takes something off your plate while also getting your audience more involved. Create some posts asking users to send in some of their own content. This creates a feeling that you and your audience are working together and demonstrates that you value their opinions and contributions.
14. Remain Helpful
Just as you should ask questions to get your audience involved, you should also seek out questions to answer. Go to relevant industry groups or search for key terms to find users that fit within your client personas who are asking questions. This is a great way to showcase your expertise while also showcasing that your biggest goal is to help others.
15. Write in the Right Tone
Social media is a place where casual language and tone will actually get you further. Users want to feel like the people behind the screens are just that- people. Write in a tone that’s similar to how you would speak to a friend. Avoid complex vocabulary or legal jargon and focus on making your posts easy to understand, even for those without a law degree.
Remember that every item you post will be permanently attributed to you. Make sure posts serve the purpose of not only promoting yourself as a lawyer but also creating trust and goodwill among your followers. It takes time to cultivate an authentic social media presence, but following these steps will help you get there.
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.
This post has been edited and republished from May 19, 2021.