A common misconception with regards to social media marketing is that it is only beneficial for retail businesses that have some type of product to sell. Even though the uses for social media within service-based professions might not be quite so obvious as they are within the retail realm, there are tons of opportunities for these professionals to benefit from social media marketing, specifically for our attorney friends.
As a attorney, you might argue that you have a better time studying the intricacies of a divorce case than figuring out the concept of the Retweet. My advice to you; it’s never too late to get up to speed on the best social media practices to promote yourself as an attorney. Here are 5 ways our friends in the legal profession can use social media to take their practice to the next level.
1. Network Like a Pro
Any client-based profession is going to require a certain amount of schmoozing and rubbing elbows as a part of an all-encompassing networking strategy. If there is one thing that social platforms like LinkedIn are great for, it’s networking. LinkedIn provides you with a great way to keep track of your contacts, including potential clients and fellow colleagues. So after the next big gala or golf outing, log yourself into LinkedIn and make those virtual connections with all of the fine people you just met with in real life.
2. Establish Thought Leadership
As an attorney you want people, specifically clients and potential clients to think of you as a legal mastermind. Whether you are just starting out fresh out of law school, or you’re an old codger who’s been practicing for decades, blogging is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge and vast understanding of the law. Take the opportunity to write about general advice you would give your clients. Don’t be afraid to give away free advice. People who need representation will still come to you as paying clients.
3. Gain Industry Exposure
Writing a blog is a great way to get noticed by the heavy hitters in the legal realm. Once you have gotten a feel for writing, make an attempt to get published in a legal publication or journal. Eventually, people will start to recognize you as a very reputable attorney and offer you speaking opportunities. Take advantage of this and be sure to document the experience on your blog and other social networks.
4. Put Your Spin on Twitter
To a social media novice, Twitter can seam like a completely foreign concept. Questions surface about what’s worthy of a Tweet? Who do I follow? How do I get people to follow me? And most importantly, what exactly is a Retweet? On top of all this, a lawyer might find herself completely stymied trying to relate all of this to her law practice.
Who to Follow
The Twitterverse can seem quite vast, and starting out with zero followers and followees is a little deflating. As a lawyer, start off by following fellow lawyers, industry news sources, and potential clients. To make your life a little easier, here is social media expert within the legal realm, JD Supra’s list of 145 Lawyers to Follow on Twitter. You can also allow Twitter to pull people from your e-mail contacts for suggestions of people to follow.
Tweet to Your Heart’s Content
Now it’s time to start tweeting. Tweet about your latest blog article or things that come up throughout the day at the law firm. Obviously there is some limitation as to the specificity of your tweets but I’ll leave that up to your discretion. As you start tweeting more regularly and following more people, people will start to follow you back, and before you know it you’ll have yourself a nice healthy following.
5. Be Yourself
Throughout your social media marketing campaign, it’s important to be consistent about who you are and on who’s behalf you’re creating content. As an attorney, you may be tempted to build your campaign under the security of your firm name or specialty. Steer clear of this by consistently using your own name with each social network you join and each blog article you write. Social media marketing is most effective when it’s kept personal, as it builds trust and adds a human element to an otherwise virtual activity.
Unfortunately I can’t promise you that your next million-dollar client is going to be a product of your social media efforts, but if you commit to creating content regularly and work to keep making your connections, you’re going to build a sense of trust and authority within your followers. Just like there’s no good way to figure out the ROI of your country club membership, there’s no exact science to figure out the value in using social media to promote yourself as a lawyer. But if you set goals from the start about what you hope to accomplish you should get a feel for whether or not your efforts are paying off.