This month Thomson Reuters released a press release titled “Consumers Likely to Hire Lawyers Who Are Active on Social Media, Says New FindLaw Survey”. I am not surprised by the findings. After all, if we think about how we decide which products or services to purchase:
- We often automatically turn to information and opinion found on the internet.
- If we were given a referral for a lawyer, we would very likely do a Google search to find out more about the lawyer before contacting him or her.
- The first page of the Google search results page typically reveals the lawyer’s biography on his or her firm website, LinkedIn profile and Twitter account. We would likely click on these links to continue with our research.
- We may search for other lawyers in the same practice area and discover that another lawyer has more recent shares on his or her social media account about legal updates and links to informative blog posts than the lawyer we were referred to. This may lead us to do further research and consider contacting the non-referred lawyer first.
This is all part of a potential client’s journey in assessing whether to retain a lawyer.
The importance for lawyers to have an active social media presence was referred to in my blog post “How One Social Media Skeptic Was Won Over”. Law firm marketer Elora Schatzker discussed how a senior partner of a large Bay Street firm changed her mind about the value of social media for legal professionals. She pointed out that “having an active social media presence can be a really great way to demonstrate your expertise and convince that potential client to pick up the phone.”
So how can you keep an active social media presence? Here are some things you can do:
- Set aside some time to regularly review news and social media shares of others, such as those from your colleagues, media outlets and those you follow or are connected with. Afterwards share or re-share it on social media, and engage with others by commenting or replying.
- Share information and commentary about your speaking engagements and attendance at industry events.
- Join in on the conversation at events. For example, use the hashtag that the event organizer provides.
- Remind your audience of legal information they need to be aware of.
- Share links to blog posts and online articles you’ve written, as well as to other digital pages supporting your legal expertise and mentioning your professional successes.
- Participate in Twitter chats relevant to your personal brand.
- Use a social media management application to schedule tweets and other shares over time. Examples include Hootsuite and Buffer.
Some things to remember so you don’t go overboard or feel overwhelmed in sharing are:
- You don’t need to be active on many social networking platforms. If you haven’t started using social media or feel that it takes up too much time, start by focusing on one platform. Consider which platform your target audience is using.
- You don’t need to share all the time to be seen as active. For example, don’t feel that you need to send out several updates or tweets every hour. Doing so may give the appearance that you have too much time on your hands. Also if you post a lot, your followers or connections may unfollow or “mute” you.
- Think about “WIIFM” from your target audience’s point of view. For example, when using LinkedIn, what is that one post you want to share that day that your target audience would find relevant and valuable.
Social media is available 24/7 for potential clients to search for lawyers, to learn more about them and compare them against one another to help decide whom to contact. An active social media presence will help you increase the likelihood of being considered in the potential client’s journey to retain you. The best way to be active on social media is to embrace it, enjoy it and not forget WIIFM from your target audience’s point of view.