5 Tips Before You Start Attorney Marketing on Social Media (Part 2 of a Series)

Attorney Marketing With Social Media (Part 2)

Part 1 of this series ended with two principles that are worth repeating:

  • What really matters is your return on investment (ROI), and
  • there are ethical, cost-effective ways to attract new clients.

These things are true. But before you jump in, consider these 5 tips about attorney marketing using social media.

5 Attorney Marketing Tips for Using Social Media

  1. Social media marketing is going to require work. Most people use Facebook and Twitter for fun, entertainment or something other than work. But you need to understand the difference between social media use and social media marketing. Marketing always requires work.
  2. Social media marketing is going to take commitment. You can’t just put up a Facebook page and leave it there and expect to get clients. The social media gurus say that you need to be “engaging.” That can mean a lot of things, some of which would be unethical for lawyers. At a minimum, it means you need to spend at least a few minutes a day, virtually every day, on your social networks and you need to “engage” (or communicate) with your connections. If a Facebook friend makes a comment on your page, asks you a question, or sends you a private message, you’re expected to respond in a timely and appropriate manner. (In other words, act like a normal person, or as close to that as you can be while being mindful of the risk of solicitation or giving legal advice to non-clients.)
  3. You need a social media marketing plan to convert connections (whether they are Facebook friends, Twitter followers, Google+ or Linkedin connections) into clients. Attorney marketing won’t happen without a plan. You’re not likely to dazzle them with your brilliant, and/or witty comments and then, one day, one of them calls and retains your law firm. You need a platform, to use the word chosen as by author Michael Hyatt as the title of his interesting book on social media marketing). This platform gives you a place to send your followers so they can become clients. That platform can be one or more of the following (but, in my opinion, it’s best to use more than one if you have the time and/or money):
    • A blog (remember, I warned you in #1 this is going to require work. We may call it social media marketing, but another way of looking at it is this: it’s really just attorney marketing using social media. And attorney marketing always involves effort.). A blog is really the essential platform. Some people don’t think of a blog as a “blog,” but as a “niche website.” It doesn’t matter what you call it, but a good one does at least 3 things:
      • It lets you demonstrate your expertise for potential clients.
      • It gives you a place to put a contact form or case review form, or both, so visitors can actually contact you to hire you as their attorney.
      • If your area of expertise is a particularly narrow area, you may find that your blog gets found by people using search engines when they’re researching your topic. Once they find your blog, they may view you as an expert they want to hire. (In an earlier blog post, I mentioned an article reporting on the ABA 2012 Technology Survey. It said that 50 percent of responding small law firms (2-9 attorneys) and 53.3 percent of responding solo practitioners who blog say they have gotten clients directly or through a referral as a result of their blogging.
    • An official Facebook Page (as opposed to your own personal Facebook page). Your Page should have a contact form and/or newsletter where potential clients sign up to get information from you. As soon as one of your connections contacts you requesting information, you’re safely out of “solicitation” territory.
    • An official Google+ Page.
  4. Social media marketing  is not free. Even if you do it yourself, you’re going to spend time which (assuming you have legal work you could be performing) has a cost in lost income. Even if you don’t take time away from work, you will soon want to subscribe to a few services to help you manage your social media networks, and those services will cost something, even if you stick to the inexpensive ones, such as HootSuite (which let’s you manage multiple social profiles for as little as $4.95 per month). As I wrote above, social media marketing is just a form of attorney marketing, and attorney marketing always costs you time and/or money, and usually both.
  5. Don’t bank on your attorney marketing content “going viral.” The odds of one of your tweets, posts or YouTube videos going viral are almost nonexistent. We’ve all seen or read about the hilarious baby or cat video that went viral, but don’t stake your social media marketing plan on the concept of creating something that will go viral. I’ve been using YouTube and social media for attorney marketing for more than ten years, and the closest I’ve come to having any content go viral is the creation of a satirical legal video that got over 12,000 views on YouTube. According to Paul Adams, Global Brand Experience Manager for Facebook, a study by Twitter of 74 million tweets found that only a few dozen generated a thousand retweets. Only 2 of those tweets generated 10,000 retweets. (See page 72 of Adams’ excellent book, Grouped.)

This post wasn’t a lot of fun to write, and it probably wasn’t a lot of fun to read. But now that we’ve covered some things lawyers should consider before jumping into the social media marketing pool, later posts can discuss more interesting topics, such as concrete ways to use attorney marketing on social media to attract new legal clients.

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