Last time, I focused on how Google Trends can be a powerful SEO tool. Meanwhile, I often discuss the potential of social media in the legal field, particularly because of how many firms still avoid it in fear of Facebook or Twitter usage reflecting insincerity. Today, I want to talk not only about why these platforms can be helpful, but how you, as a lawyer, can use them to your advantage.
Over the years, businesses have evolved, and this includes the practice of law. Many businesses can function almost entirely online, and while this might not be plausible for all companies, there is certainly something to be said for using the tools available to you in the best possible way, whether it’s video marketing, pay per click advertising, higher quality web design, or social media.
One thing that Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest have in common is their ability to communicate with your clients and monitor potential legal infractions. In past updates, I have discussed the use of social media as a tool to share info and promote your practice, but what if you used it for more than just self-promotion? The American Bar Association states:
Used carefully, social media can give your firm a voice, amplify your professional reputation, and help drive new business. But that isn’t the whole story with social media. Social media now represents a ripe source of electronic evidence for litigators and potential sources of risk for those advising businesses.
In the past, almost all of the promotional activity for law firms came through word of mouth. One client would share with another client, or a partner in a practice would hand out a business card or two at a social function. Now, you almost need to think about these online accounts as though they are the social functions you are attending. Don’t just post stories and photos, talk to your potential clients through comments, liking, sharing their posts, and even private messages.
Handling Public Relations
Marketing yourself as an upstanding law firm means being an authority in your industry, and that can only be obtained through public recognition. About a decade ago, all of these supportive official documents would come in the form of professional publications, magazines, newspapers, and articles from educational institutions. Now, this same recognition can be found online. Legal Marketing Review explains:
Public relations has changed radically in the last few years. Social media is now a significant part of public relations. When you reach out to journalists you are now often reaching out to bloggers and a common way to do so is through Twitter. Journalists no longer have time to read traditional press releases.
Unfortunately, it isn’t just positive recognition you need to worry about in terms of social media and what the online world has to say about you. Social media can play a huge role in quality control in terms of keeping negativity to a minimum or crushing it all together. If you are aware and present in social media, you can help journalists, potential clients, local businesses, and the world to view you in the way that you want your firm to be viewed.
Don’t Depend On Your Account
Social media may be able to help you communicate with customers, monitor legal issues that may arise with those whom you are advising, and promote your firm among journalists, but it isn’t a magic wand. Simply opening an account isn’t enough to build a following and create a market for yourself. You must manage it properly, and use other resources as well.
I have mentioned before that social media is one of the best ways to share with potential clients you may not have reached yet, but it isn’t the only way. To be smart with social media means not only using it effectively, but using it in combination with other methods of marketing and customer interaction. You can make a bigger impact on your local community by using your account to participate in events and community activities than by simply posting informational videos and links to your blog.
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