Social media might not be 'your thing' but there is no doubt that its use is growing at an exponential rate.  Anyone with a mobile device can search for virtually any information they need, at any time, meaning that an online presence can really help a law firm stand out from the crowd. You need your firm to be visible in the places your clients engage digitally.

Traditionally, law firms have grown through referral or word of mouth, but with an increase in competition it can be hard to attract new clients. In the 21st century, we now find ourselves 'googling' information, and this will go for your prospective client base too. Having some form of online presence will no doubt elevate your practice's standings and can also cut down on the traditional marketing costs which are much harder to quantify.

In this article, we explore some of the most popular social media platforms and the benefits they may have to your firm:     

LinkedIn

When LinkedIn first launched, it was intended to be a networking platform where professionals could network with others in similar industries, make contacts, and perhaps even find desirable jobs.

However, since then, it has morphed into a massive professional social media platform with more than 500 million users in 200 different countries. LinkedIn can have many benefits to your practice; you can create a company page to share content your firm may produce, and importantly you can also set up a personal page so clients can connect with you and gain an insight into your work-based interests and knowledge. It also allows individuals to promote thought leadership and show off your expertise whilst showcasing testimonials for prospective clients to see.

Key features:

  • Easy to communicate and make connections
  • Hosts discussions on latest trends that engage experts in the field 
  • Showcase your latest content to your target audience
  • Groups allow you to join the conversation of a specific field
  • Network with others in a field of expertise
  • Advertising opportunities allow you to promote your message to your target audience

Twitter

Twitter is fast paced and dynamic. Unlike Facebook, where you repeatedly see the same posts on your newsfeed and you can navigate easily back to past months/years, Twitter is a constant stream of incoming information. This means that if you only send out one tweet every few days, it will almost immediately be drowned out among other similar tweets and it will never resurface again. You therefore need to post regularly to avoid this downfall which could be very time consuming and disruptive on your business. This can be good a tool to communicate with your peers rather than clients itself. Through the use of the 'follow' button, it allows you to share thoughts and quick comments on each other's posts. 

Key features:

  • Establish thought leadership in your profession by sharing relevant content for your audience
  • Gain new clients by being approachable and engaged
  • Read current news to keep you up to date on developments and trends
  • Network to increase exposure and obtain new clients and followers
  • Share information quickly so your clients can learn more about your services

Instagram

Instagram may seem like an odd choice for the legal profession as it's an app used for sharing photos and videos from a smartphone. As you might expect, most law firms aren't using this platform to promote thought leadership or share case studies.  With over 800 million monthly active users and over 500 million daily active users, Instagram has come a long way since it originated in 2010. Instagram is great to show the visual platform of the firm 'behind the scenes' of the boardroom. A firm can highlight their passions outside of fee earning; this can include charitable and fundraising events, baking homemade cakes, or even showcasing pictures of the office dog. It gives you the ability to highlight the more human elements to your firm.

Key features:

  • Connect with customers across multiple channels
  • Instagram's Ad Platform has access to the most advanced social media advertising.  Targeting options are also available
  • Instagram differentiates personal profiles from business profiles
  • Instagram is an organic platform where you can see a lot of engagement on your posts without having to pay for it.

Facebook

Facebook is a great tool for gaining new clients through social engagement and advertisement. There are plenty of options available including starting Facebook groups, engaging in direct messaging, creating video content and advertising which can significantly increase your online traffic resulting in new leads. Their advertising platform also is the best (and most cost effective) in the business in allowing you to target your ads to your target audience.

Key features: 

  • Easy to share business information
  • Functionality allows you to promote anything from virtual events to lead generation with their advertising platform
  • Direct engagement with potential clients which can create business enquiries
  • Showcase all areas of your business from content to CSR
  • The most all around platform to use

When it comes to social media, many law firms overlook the importance of it as it's not seen as relevant to their business. In reality, social media should be viewed as another piece in your digital marketing toolkit. As the way we consume information changes, you need to be visible where your clients are, and like it or not, social media plays a big part in our modern day lives.

That being said, unless you have the time to carefully manage your social media channels, it can do more damage than good. You need to undertake thorough research into what is involved, what you hope to achieve and be prepared to dedicate your time to keeping it up to date. But with a little nurturing, you can use social media platforms as additional channel to showcase your firm to a whole new target audience.