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Unlocking the Potential of TikTok for Law Firms

by Guy Alvarez • October 6th, 2023 • Social Media | Blog

With 1.7 billion users today, a growth of 17% from 2022, it’s safe to say TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms we’ve seen yet. And its unique biteable video format has permeated every level of the social media sphere, causing a huge push for short-form videos, and even influencing Instagram to move away from photos and more towards videos.

But with such a young audience, many legal marketers may feel TikTok isn’t worth the investment, or they may be unsure of how a law firm should even go about posting on TikTok. (What’s a ‘For You’ page? What’s a ‘Sound’?)

The truth of the matter is, TikTok is no longer just for Gen Z dance videos. Many lawyers have been quick to get on the app, and the algorithm has made it worth their time. Due to TikTok’s rapid pace with trends, and its hyper-adaptive algorithm, many lawyers and law firms have found success by creating relatable content that not only generates brand awareness but most importantly humanizes their brand and informs their audience.

So, how can law firms start using Tik Tok?

Why Should Law Firms be on TikTok?

Many law firms and lawyers think TikTok isn’t worth their time. Sure, it’s nothing compared to LinkedIn, but TikTok’s fun and creative nature offers a wonderful opportunity for firms and lawyers to think outside of the box and really connect with their audience on another level.

As a young app, TikTok lacks many of the formalities and expected production costs that have permeated other video platforms like YouTube. Because brands on TikTok can be their most authentic selves, law firms can really showcase their personality and culture. 

TikTok provides an opportunity to show your audience that you’re not just another lawyer speaking legalize into the atmosphere. You’re a real person, just like them, who’s there to educate, offer advice, and above all else have some fun. 

Still not convinced TikTok is worth the investment? You can easily repurpose your TikToks as Instagram Reels or Facebook videos too. And above all else, recent conversations from tech giants have shown there’s a huge push toward video for social media. So, getting comfortable with short-form social media videos could also do your brand some good.

Related: Advanced Social Media Strategies for Law Firms eBook.

An Overview of TikTok for Law Firms

TikTok is a video sharing app that allows users to share videos that are as little as 15 seconds to as of recently, 10 minutes long. One of the reasons TikTok has become so popular is that it has simplified the video creation process. Users can shoot and edit their videos in the app, with features such as filters, noise reducers, enhancements, speed effects, subtitles, and much more.

The app is set up with two different feeds for users- a For You page and a Following page. The Following page is akin to any other social media platform, it’s simply a feed that shows you videos from pages you are following. However, the For You page has revolutionized the way social media algorithms work. The For You page is a feed that shows users content from both accounts they do and do not follow that the app believes they would enjoy. As TikTok’s popularity continues to surge, the platform has introduced an exciting new feature called the TikTok Shop, providing users with the opportunity to both purchase and sell a diverse range of products.

tiktok for law firms

Definitions

  • FYP– aka For You Page. This is the page where users can view videos from those they aren’t/may be following that have been selected by the algorithm based on the user’s past preferences.
  • PFP– profile picture. Make sure you have a branded profile picture that showcases some personality and fits into the circle sizing.
  • POV– point of view. Often users make POV videos where they show themselves doing something as if someone else is watching. Usually, the action that is being depicted in these videos is something very typical of the user. (Example: The caption may read ‘POV: I’m meeting with another happy client after winning their case in court.’ and the video may be a clip of them smiling and shaking hands with someone)

tiktok for law firms

  • Sound– Every video on TikTok is accompanied by a sound. In basic terms, it’s simply the auditory components of a video. What makes them unique is that users can add music, voice-over, whatever, and save this Sound to the Sounds library- where any TikTok user can take the Sound and repurpose it for their own videos. Often, certain sounds will become trendy and develop a large following.
  • Duet– Duets allow your own video to play simultaneously next to someone else’s video (usually someone you’re responding to). This is a great way to network with those in your industry/ audience. (Example: you’re a personal injury lawyer and you see a video of someone sharing their experience settling in court. You may ‘duet’ the video and add some captions with commentary.)
  • Storytime– Similar to YouTube, many users find fame by sharing stories about their experiences. (Think case study, but a lot more casual and verbal instead of written.)
  • Transition– Like any video, a transition is how you move from one scene to the next. However, on Tik Tok, many transition ideas will become trends, and they can be used in tandem with certain sounds and ideas. When you’re researching trends, pay special attention to how others are cutting between scenes. Using the right transitions can really help ensure your videos fall in line with what your audience wants to see.
  • Stitch– Similar to duets, this feature allows you to respond to another video on your own. Only in this case, the new video you create will only include a short clip from the one you’re responding to. This is a huge trend that’s easy to hop on. People will post specific videos saying ‘Stitch this with a time you…’.
  • Repost The repost feature allows you to repost TikToks that belong to other users from your own TikTok account to share with your audience.

What’s the Secret to the Algorithm?

TikTok’s For You page means any user has the potential to get their content seen- even if they don’t have a large following. That’s the beauty behind it.

The goal of the For You page is to show users content that they will enjoy the most. It’s believed that past engagement has a huge impact on which videos are selected for users. Basically, if a user is engaging (liking, commenting, sharing, saving) with many videos on a particular topic, with particular hashtags, particular trends, or with particular sounds, TikTok will show them more videos of a similar nature in their For You page.

As an example, many law firms have found engagement by hopping on the ‘5 Things I Wouldn’t Do as a ____ ‘ trend. They’ve formatted their videos in the way others have while executing their trend, and they’ve used hashtags most often associated with that trend. Therefore, if a user is watching and engaging with many ‘5 Things I Wouldn’t Do as a ___’ videos, then it’s very likely they’ll see Lawyer Joe’s video on ‘5 Things I Wouldn’t Do as a Divorce Lawyer’. 

Now, imagine that on a large scale. The #5thingschallenge hashtag currently has 179.2 million views…. Think of all the people who will potentially see Lawyer Joe’s ‘5 Things I Wouldn’t Do as a Divorce Lawyer’ video.

How Do I Create TikToks?

Yes, TikTok is a lot more laid back than other platforms. But its uniqueness is a double-edged sword. You can’t simply repurpose YouTube videos and expect them to perform. You have to understand the trends, trending sounds, dialect, and audience in order to find success. This involves a lot of social listening, some goal setting, and some creativity.

1. Decide What Type of Video You Want to Make

As we said, a clip of you speaking legalize won’t do well. Explore TikTok, or follow an account where they break down the latest trends (check out @trendbible). Choose which trend you’d like to hop on, and review the wealth of the videos under that trending sound or hashtag. Take note of sounds, caption conventions (which parts are spoken vs. written out), transitions, facial expressions, etc. 

2. Connect This Trend to the Legal Industry

How can you make this trend work for the legal industry? If people are doing day-in-a-life videos, create one focused on a ‘day in a life as a lawyer’. If there’s a trend where people are sharing advice or tips- hop on that and share your own tips as a lawyer. There are even a lot of sounds that are popular but don’t have a rigid structure. You can simply use a trending sound and hashtags to share some thought leadership content via spoken word. (Think blog post, but spoken and much more casual,) Above all else, get creative, but keep in mind the conventions for different trends like specific transitions, sounds, word choice, etc.

3. Shoot your video

It’s time to shoot! Grab a tripod, friend, or shoot selfie style. It may take a few tries but don’t worry, you can always save your attempts to ‘Drafts’ and try as many times as needed. When you’re ready to shoot, simply hit the + button at the bottom of your screen. Then select any effects you’d like to use in the bottom left corner. The bottom-most panel is where you can select the length of your video (3m, 60s, or 15s), and above that is where you select the speed. (In most cases just do 1x- this will be normal speed.)  The right-hand panel is where you can add effects or enhancements. When you’re ready to go, hold down on the red circle to start shooting. At the very top, you’ll see the music icon. This is where you can select the ‘sound’ you’d like to use.

4. Final Adjustments

When you’re done shooting, release your finger and hit the red circle in the bottom right corner with a check. From there, you can use the right panel to add text, adjust clips, captions, etc. (Hint: try using the ‘noise reducer’ at the bottom- it’ll make your audio much clearer.) Always try to add auto-generated captions- this will ensure every user is able to understand your video. And don’t be afraid to give your video a title so people know what it’s about. You can add text by hitting the T button, typing, and then dragging the text where you prefer. After that, hold down on the text so you can set the duration where you’d like it to play.

5. Time to Post

Hit Next- now it’s time for a caption! First, make sure to turn on comments, duets, and stitches. This will ensure people can engage with your video on every level. And make sure your video is set to be shared with Everyone, not just followers. (This’ll ensure you’re on the For You page). And don’t forget to toggle to ‘Manage Video Quality’ so you can ensure your video is of the highest quality.

Now’s the time for a caption. Do your due diligence and research which hashtags work best for your industry, and for this trend. And don’t forget to capitalize on any number of trending hashtags to maximize your video’s potential. Make sure your caption is something that showcases your firm’s personality and adds some context to the video.

A Look at Lawyers Doing it Right

  • @lawbymike (7.4M Followers, 160.7M Likes)
  • @thelawyerangela (1.6M Followers, 25.2M Likes)
  • @kennedylawfirm (1.6M Followers, 36.1M Likes)
  • @husbandandwifelawteam (319.5k Followers, 14.6M Likes)
  • @thepaynelawyer (242.8k Followers, 3.6M Likes)
  • @lawyerpaige (1.7M Followers, 11.8M Likes)

Takeaway:

Remember, above all else, TikTok is about showcasing your brand, lawyers’ personalities, and company culture. TikTok can be highly educational, so this is a great opportunity to share some thought leadership content. But remember, while TikTok is young, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any conventions or best practices. You must prioritize social listening and do your due diligence to understand what’s trending, what’ll perform well, and how to execute your videos.

Does your firm not have the bandwidth to develop and execute a robust social media strategy? We’ve helped a vast amount of lawyers, law firms, and legal companies generate leads and reach their business development goals through social media marketing. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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