At our recent webinar, “Digital Marketing for Law Firms,” Gina Rubel, legal marketing and PR expert, shared tips on using digital marketing to grow your law firm business. If you missed it, never fear! You can watch a recording of the webinar here.
During the webinar, there were a number of great questions asked by attendees that Gina didn’t have sufficient time to answer. Fortunately, she was kind enough to provide her answers. You can find the questions and answers below.
Should a personal profile for a lawyer on Twitter link to the law firm’s website and should an individual lawyer brand his or her social media profiles independently or link/mention their law firm?
As with most marketing situations, the answer is “it depends.” For solo and small firms and individual lawyers, social media profiles should always mention their law firm. The lawyers, in this case, are inextricably tied to the law firm brand.
In big law firm scenarios, the attorney must first consult the firm’s social media policy. If the policy permits the lawyer to mention the firm’s name in his or her profile, and/or to link to the firm’s website, then this is a best practice. However, many firms require a disclaimer in the profile as well. They usually read something to the effect of, “These opinions are my own and are not endorsed by my employer.” Remember, there is strength in numbers and if you’re in a big law firm, being associated with the brand can only support your individual marketing and business development efforts.
What about potential violations of rules relating to multi-jurisdictional practice of law? With followers potentially being from all around the world, what should a solo or small firm do to make sure their posts don’t violate such rules?
There is a great deal of guidance written about multi-jurisdictional law practices and ethical issues to which I have provided several links below. General guidance suggests that attorneys must first be in compliance with the home state’s rules and in the states where the law firm maintains offices, and second, the attorneys should be in compliance with the ABA Model Rules.
I often advise lawyers that if you want to play it conservatively, defer to the ethics opinions and rules of New York, New Jersey, Florida, and Indiana. For example, review Marketing Your Practice – Attorney Advertising, Business Development and Ethics in New York State.
Other resources include:
Lawyer Marketing: An Ethics Guide (Hypotheticals and Analyses) by Thomas E. Spahn, McGuire Woods LLP.
ABA CLE Program: Multi-jurisdictional Practice -Major Ethical Issues and Trends by Lou Conti, Secretary/Treasurer, The Florida Bar, Business Law Section and Merritt A. Cole, Former Chair, The Philadelphia Bar Association, Business Law Section
You may also wish to read about virtual law offices and the ethics that apply. A relevant and detailed article can be found in Law Practice Magazine: Watch Where You Set Your Virtual Foot – Advice on Dealing with Varying State Rules by Daniel J. Siegel.
What about Snapchat, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Instagram, or any of the other chat/picture products that young entrepreneurs are on? Should lawyers be using them for marketing?
Like most social media tools, I am of the opinion that lawyers don’t need to be early adopters. Limited marketing investments of time and money for solo and small firms should be focused on platforms that have already been tried and tested. Some of these platforms will flourish while others will fail miserably link Ping, Orkut, Xanga, Digg, Friendster, MySpace, and a myriad of other sites, many of which you’ve probably never heard of.
Now, if your practice is focused on reaching millennials – and more importantly, millennial consumers – and they have need of your services and you are marketing in the right channels to reach your target audience, then by all means, there are creative ways to use every channel.
What specific recommendations do you have for a Boomer dinosaur doing Elder Law? I’m on social media, but not active. My clients are not active (or even on) social media but their grandchildren are using social media.
My best advice is to answer the following questions:
- What do you want to accomplish (objectives)?
- Who do you want to reach (audience)?
- Is your audience using social media to guide their buying decisions for elder law services (in many cases the answer to this question is yes)?
- Hire a business development consultant to either (1) train you on how to use the platforms or (2) manage your strategic marketing initiatives in order to best meet your objectives to reach your target audience.
Should companies that have various office locations make separate profiles for various locations especially on Facebook?
For companies such as franchises, the answer to this question is yes, and there is a framework in Facebook that allows users to do that. There is a Facebook discussion on the issue at Can you set up multiple locations for a business’ Facebook page?
For law firms, however, I do not recommend setting up separate social media profiles for each office location. The bottom line: it dilutes the brand, increases marketing costs unnecessarily and decreases marketing productivity thus diminishing the marketing return on investment.
How do you suggest blogging for a solo practice? A solo practitioner has to be on top of everything and blogging has to be updated all the time.
There are several ways for a solo attorney to blog. One way is to contribute to a relevant open blog once a month and link back to the firm’s website. Another way is to develop a firm blog and populate it bi-weekly.
Here are some additional links:
Do you know the statistic of what percentage or how many seniors are on Facebook?
According to Statista, 26% of Facebook users are age 50 and older.
For those of us who do not currently use social media, this can be daunting. How often would you recommend we update social media?
Social media is just that, “social.” Pick one platform to start with and make sure it’s the one that is used by the majority of your clients and referral sources. Remember, people do business with those they know, like, and trust. Then spend 10 to 15 minutes each day updating your profile, connecting with people, and sharing relevant information. That’s it.
If I’m posting on LinkedIn, do I really need my own blog?
If you are publishing on LinkedIn Pulse already and you are sharing that way, you do not necessarily need a separate blog. LinkedIn Pulse is essentially a blogging platform but remember that it is not branded for your business nor does it have a URL that is unique to your practice area or location, which are factors that always help with search engine optimization.
Is there an application that will allow you to post on Facebook and Twitter at the same time (for efficiency purposes)?
At Furia Rubel, we use Hootsuite for some clients and CoSchedule for others. There are many others that allow you to share on multiple sites and schedule your shared content. Keep in mind, however, that when scheduling your social media shares, if something happens in the media, your posts can be easily misconstrued. For example, you don’t want to be advocating for Second Amendment rights on the same day as a mass school shooting.
What is a reasonable “investment” in SEO? The numbers seem to have extreme variation.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in many forms. There is organic SEO which includes content such as blogs, image sharing, videos, website updates, online press releases, media coverage, and just about everything we do at Furia Rubel for our clients. Organic SEO is a strategic byproduct of well thought out marketing and public relations initiatives. On the other hand, there is paid SEO which varies greatly from company to company, practice area to practice area, and region to region.
A good place to start in determining your budget is to read “How much should you spend on SEO services,” published on Search Engine Watch which provides more technical and detailed information about search engine marketing.