Social Media for Lawyers–Done Right (Part 2)

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Can social media play an important part in an effective online presence for a law firm? In my opinion, yes. That’s why last week, in Part 1 of this series, I explained that one way go about doing this is to create a loyal online community of followers, or a tribe, through your blog or by creating an online forum of like-minded lawyers. This week and next week, I’m going to give you other examples of lawyers whom I believe are using social media to effectively create an strong online presence.

What is an effective online presence?

But first I want to briefly discuss what I mean by an “effective online presence.” An effective online presence is one that ultimately forwards your business goals, which for most lawyers means bringing in new business. Of course, the path that leads to this result is different for every lawyer and varies depending on each lawyer’s specific goals and the chosen platforms for online interaction.

The difficulty with measuring the effectiveness of an attorney’s online presence is that it’s not always easily quantifiable. This is because an online presence represents the totality of its parts. So, sometimes potential clients land on your blog post or website as a result of a Google search. Sometimes clients are referred to you by lawyers who are familiar with your because of your online activities. Other times, your online presence results in media mentions which result in calls from potential clients.  And, oftentimes, you receive a call but it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where the business came from. And, you leave it at that, since pestering callers to determine exactly how they discovered your firm isn’t exactly good for business.

Your online presence is just one piece of the puzzle

Your online presence shouldn’t be the only method through which you seek to obtain business. It’s simply one piece of the puzzle and it’s up to you to determine whether the time you spend online pays off for you in the long run. If, for example, it brings in 20% of your business and you spend 20% or less of your marketing and networking time online, then your time networking online has been spent wisely.

You’ll need to experiment to find the right balance that works best for you given your areas of practice, your geographic region, and your goals.  In most cases, a combination of traditional business development methods (ie. attending local bar association events, golfing with potential clients or other lawyers, writing for the local legal newspaper, or getting quoted in the local newspaper) and online methods will work best. And keep in mind that what works for one law firm or lawyer may not necessarily work for you or your firm.

That’s why I wanted to write this series of posts: to highlight the ways that different lawyers are creating what I find to be useful and interesting examples of an effective online presence. So, today, let’s look at one lawyer who is using Pinterest, the newest social media darling, in a very creative way.

Reproductive Law and Pinterest

If you’re not familiar with Pinterest, it’s one of the newest and most popular social media sites.  It’s growing extremely quickly and is now said to be the third most popular social media site, behind Twitter and Facebook.

So what exactly is Pinterest? Pinterest differs from traditional social media sites in that you share by creating “boards” and “pinning” images and links from sites you discover on the Internet. Pinterest is more popular with women and is oftentimes used to share images of subject matter traditionally associated with women, including fashion, home decor, craft projects, and food.

At first glance, it doesn’t seem like a very good match for lawyers interested in using social media platforms to create an effective online presence for business development purposes. At least, that’s what I thought until I saw the boards created by attorney Catherine Tucker for her law firm’s Pinterest page.

By way of background, Catherine’s law firm, the Law Office of Catherine Tucker, offers a full range of fertility law-related representation for intended parents, donors and carriers in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. As part of her practice she prepares the necessary paperwork to document the intention of all the parties to a donor or gestational carrier/surrogacy arrangements. In other words, a large portion of her target market is women–the very same group of people who tend to frequent Pinterest.

So for Catherine, using Pinterest as one of her chosen social media platforms simply makes sense. However, as is the case with any social media platform, it’s important to use Pinterest in a way that would appeal to, and hopefully attract, potential clients. And, in my opinion, she’s done just that. Her law firm’s Pinterest page consists of 94 pins on 8 boards, nearly all of which address the topic of infertility–some are humorous, some are informational, and some are poignant reminders of the difficulties faced by infertile couples.

All in all, I think this is a wonderful, and very creative, use of this new social media platform. Since the firm’s Pinterest page was created just 6 weeks, ago, it remains to be seen whether interacting on Pinterest will pay off in the long run and help achieve the firm’s goals. But, given the minimal amount of time needed to locate and upload relevant images, it’s certainly worth a shot.

If at first you don’t succeed…

That’s one of the nice things about social media. If something doesn’t work as well as you’d hoped, you can always move on and focus your efforts elsewhere, because there are always plenty of other ways to accomplish your goals.

And there are many different social media platforms to choose from, which is why next week, I’m going to highlight how a few other lawyers have used social media effectively, including: 1) how a law student created a name for himself online and continues to do so as he builds a solo practice from the ground up, 2) how one personal injury attorney successfully created a blog that stands out from the crowd, and 3) how a BigLaw attorney has created a very successful niche using social media.

So tune in next week for further discussion and more examples.

–Niki Black

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