Having a social media presence has become an essential part of doing business in the modern world. A law practice that isn’t interacting with the public on at least one or two social media platforms is as good as invisible. That said, some law firms still struggle to implement effective social media marketing strategies that really drive engagement and quality leads. This is a huge missed opportunity as an effective social media presence can help lawyers attract prospective clients and build valuable connections.
With so many different platforms available, and each having its own specific characteristics and quirks, it can be difficult to know where to start and on which platform to focus your efforts. To make sure your firm gets going in the right direction, we’ve put together a social media strategy checklist for law firms. If you’re just starting out, this checklist will help you put together a reliable social media strategy. If you’ve already started building a presence, it will show you where you might be able to make adjustments to improve the effectiveness of your current strategy.
Define your target audience
The single most important part of planning your strategy is to know your target audience. Everything you do, including the blog posts you write, is going to be geared towards nurturing and growing your target audience.The more clearly you define your audience, the better you can understand how and where to reach your best prospects.
You should be as detailed as possible when considering who you are trying to reach. Think about age, gender, profession, marital status, etc. No detail is too small to be considered. Go beyond generalizations. Your target audience should not be as broad as “people who need a lawyer.” Rather, you want to define your target audience more specifically as to design marketing collateral that speaks directly to them, and therefore engages them. For example, if you’re firm is looking to expand it’s personal injury nich, you might define your target audience as follows: “people in the New York City area who have recently been involved in a traffic accident and might be looking for a personal injury or criminal defense lawyer”.
Select your platform(s)
Once you’ve defined your target audience, you’ll want to do some research on where your audience is most active and likely to engage with your law firm page. You should be able to pick out the social media platforms they are most likely to use. For example, if your audience is made up of professionals, they’re likely on LinkedIn and Twitter. If you’re looking for millennials or retired seniors, you’d probably do better with Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
Most social media channels will give you a breakdown of their target audience demographics so take a look through this and also keep an eye on industry reports and surveys that can reveal valuable information to help guide your decision. It’s also a good idea to check out where your competitors are active. It’s important not to spread yourself too thin. Try to pick one to two platforms on which to be active. It’s much better to do well on one or two than to perform badly on five or six.
Create and curate content that speaks to your audience
With a clearly defined audience and realistic goals in mind, the next step is to create and share content that aligns with your goals and provides real value. It should be educational or help audience members solve a problem. You could, for example, post content on legal terms and examples, or news involving trials or changes in the law.
Always try to frame your own written content around your audience’s challenges. A general rule of thumb is that the content you share should be about 30% your own and about 70% from outside sources. The idea is to show that you are knowledgeable and up-to-date in your area of practice without making your account look like an endless, self-promotional commercial.
Define clear, and realistic measurement and ROI goals
As your planning your law firm’s social media strategy, it’s imperative that you identify what your goals are with social media and develop clear metrics to track them. If you’re not getting page views, and shares, and visitors aren’t engaging with your content, you’re not generating any return on investment (ROI). Some of the goals you may have for social media marketing include brand awareness, traffic to your website, generating new leads for newsletters, and acquiring new clients. Beyond likes and followers, you want to understand how many people interact with your content. You can learn more about engagement by tracking retweets, shares, comments, and views. Benchmark your audience on each platform, and then track the growth or decline. Knowing what you want to measure and establishing time frames help to identify a real, measurable metric. If you want to improve your growth, consider changes to frequency, topics, or content formats.
Create policies on how to respond to your audience
If more than one person will be interacting with your audience, it’s important to make sure everyone involved knows what’s expected of them. Responses should appear unified and consistent. The personality presented should be that of your law firm, not the individuals doing the posting.
It is especially important that everyone involved knows how to deal with negative comments. Responding improperly to negative comments can do great harm to your law firm’s reputation.
Create an employee advocacy strategy
Content should not be merely posted to your firm’s Company Page. Make the effort to invest time and money to properly train your lawyers and employees on the use of social media and empower them to regularly share relevant and approved content to their own audiences. This will increase your reach and exposure on social media, making it easier to reach those who may not follow your Company Page yet. We suggest investing in employee advocacy tools such as LinkedIn Elevate, PostBeyond, or Clearview Social that make it easier for everyone at your firm to participate in social media. These tools can send out prompts to employees to share appropriate content, and artificial intelligence can also dictate when content should be shared, making it even more impactful.
Following the steps above as you plan and revise your law firm social media strategy will help you to achieve the best ROI possible. Sticking to this social media strategy checklist for law firms will ensure that you remain focused on your goals and whether or not you are reaching them. If you need help knowing if you’re moving in the right direction, or if you need to rethink your strategy and make adjustments, feel free to contact us today.
Updated and originally published on May 25, 2017