Social Media For Lawyers:
Best Practices

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Now that you’ve read my last few posts and know all about the ins and outs of using the three major social media platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter), it’s time to make sure you’re making the most of your time spent interacting online. After all, there’s no point in wasting your time by using social media ineffectively. Instead, here are some tips to help you to efficiently achieve your law firm’s online goals,

Create robust, consistent profiles

First, give some thought to how you would like to present you and your firm to world. Make sure to include all relevant information in the bio section of each social media site, including your firm’s name, links to the firm’s website and blog, and contact information.

Also upload a current, professional, and flattering photograph of yourself. Feel free to use more casual photos for less formal sites, such as Twitter, although you don’t have to. Some suggest using the same photo for all sites to increase recognition, but that’s not a necessity.

Ensure that the message your profile sends is a consistent one across the various platforms, both in terms of content and tone. Doing so ensures that you and your firm are more easily recognizable and remembered.

Determine your goals

Before diving into social media, decide what you’re trying to accomplish by doing so. Are you trying to reach potential clients? Are you seeking to connect with other lawyers and professionals for networking and/or referral purposes? Would you like to showcase your expertise and share blog posts or other articles that you’ve written? Do you have other goals in mind? Or are you seeking to accomplish a number of these goals through your online interactions?

There’s no correct answer, but what’s important is that you identify your goals first, and then come up with a plan. Decide which platforms will be best for achieving your various goals. Then follow the recommendations in my earlier blog posts which are linked to above, to help you decide how to best accomplish your goals on each platform.

Social media formula

When interacting online, it’s important that you’re not simply broadcasting news about you and your firm. Instead, it’s imperative to interact with other people. After all, that’s why it’s called “social” media.

What should you share online and how do you go about it? Here’s my suggested “social media formula” to get you started:

  • 50% of your posts should be links to other people’s content, such as articles and blog posts
  • 30% should be interactions with others, whether re-shares or direct conversations
  • 20% should consist of promotional content, whether it’s links to your own blog posts or articles about your law firm.

This formula is simply a guideline, but it provides a rough outline of what you should do and how often. Think of social media as a cocktail party. No one walks around a cocktail party handing out cards and sharing all of their accomplishments. Instead, you engage in small talk, ask others about themselves and their work, and then occasionally share information about you and your firm. Make sure that your interactions online follow that same pattern. That way you’ll be memorable and likeable.

Share your personal side

Speaking of being likable, it’s important to share a little bit about yourself when interacting online. Otherwise, you’ll blend in with all the other lawyers who are busy being business-like to the exclusion of all else. Social media is all about people. And people want to interact with other people, not nameless, faceless identities.

And you are the face of your business. You’re a complex human being – not simply a lawyer – who has outside interests that set you apart from everyone else. Share some of those interests, within reason. If you play a sport, occasionally post about it on the less formal platforms, such as Twitter or Facebook, If you are crazy about a sports team, post about that. If you have a unique hobby, such as cooking or woodworking, that’s another topic you could post about.

Regardless of what your outside interests are, as long as they’re g-rated and professional, make sure to occasionally post about them. That way you won’t blend into the online crowd of lawyers who all look and sound alike; instead you’ll be remembered as that lawyer from Idaho who likes to collect stamps from the 1950s.

Think before you post

And last, but certainly not least, think before you post. Don’t make the mistake of posting something you’ll later regret. Because even if you delete the post, the Internet is forever. A screenshot is all that’s needed to preserve that comment forever. And websites like the Wayback Machine preserve websites into eternity.

So think first, then post. And for goodness sake, don’t drink and tweet! If you’re out with friends and having fun, put the phone away. Trust me on this one. It’s better to have not posted, than to regret a post until the end of time!

So, with that advice, go forth my lawyer friends and engage responsibly on social media! Make smart, educated decisions that will allow you to take full advantage of the wonderful online world and all it has to offer. Follow my advice and reap the benefits of online interaction. Best of luck and see you online!

 

 





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