This is a guest post by Jay Ruane, founder and CEO of FirmFlex.
Many lawyers attempt to build a following on social media, yet only a few succeed. Such success can be elusive, even if you post consistently and follow best practices.
After working with lawyers across the country, I’ve realized that many fall into the same trap: The thing that holds them back from establishing a great presence on social media is having the wrong mindset. Most lawyers view social media as a way to “sell” their business and advertise to potential clientele. They take the same approach that they do to advertising, for example, placing an ad in the Yellow Pages or using Google Ads.
Most lawyers view social media as a way to “sell” their business and advertise to potential clientele.
But the truth is that social media is not an advertising platform. It’s right there in the name - these are social platforms.
People go on social media to connect with others, learn some helpful tips for their lives, and read interesting stories. They are not interested in learning about a random lawyer’s credentials or how great they are.
Think about it: What would you do if an ad for a doctor popped up in your newsfeed and said, “Hi! I’m the best doctor in your state! I went to Harvard! I am very smart and capable and my patients love me!”
If you saw this, you would scroll right by, because it is ego-driven advertising that has nothing to do with you. This type of advertising doesn’t work on social media. We are not on Facebook or Instagram to find a doctor (or a lawyer) — we’re there for connections.
Instead of advertising, try marketing your brand. Marketing is about your audience — how you can help them and what you can add to their lives.
Stay with me here. Think of social media like a dinner party where you don’t know a lot of people. At a dinner party, you wouldn’t go up to someone and say, “Hi, I’m Attorney John Smith and I work for the #1 divorce law firm in the state of Florida. I went to Stanford and every year I help hundreds of people get what they want out of divorce.” You wouldn’t start with this spiel when meeting someone in real life for the first time, so why would you want to make that first impression on the internet?
At a dinner party, you wouldn’t go up to someone and say, “Hi, I’m Attorney John Smith and I work for the #1 divorce law firm in the state of Florida."
A better approach is to get to know the person you are talking to and find mutual interests. Maybe crab cakes come around as appetizers and the person you are talking to mentions that they love crab cakes. The natural course to take is to start talking about food – your own love for shellfish, a great crab cake recipe you know, a great seafood restaurant you’ve been to. Make that connection with the person you are talking to first. This will help you build a relationship that you can draw on later if you learn that this person needs help with a divorce. You will build trust with that person that might lead them to hire you over someone else.
Through my company’s work with hundreds of lawyers, we’ve found that social media is the exact same. If you are constantly posting about your credentials or your law firm, people just won’t connect. It’s not what they are on social media for. Social media rewards the most interesting idea by allowing users to easily scroll past what they are not interested in. This is why you need to provide content that your audience actually wants to see. If you do this, and try to get to know your audience and provide value to their lives, they will feel like they already know you.
When you post on social media, try to provide information about popular topics and trends. These range from the large list of popular days (like National Dog Day) to ongoing discussions on sports, art, travel, pets, food, etc. Share your interest in these topics and ask your audience about their own.
You can also provide useful tips in articles or videos. This will establish an audience who is engaged in your content. Then, over time, you can add information about your law firm and law practice. The people in your audience who need a lawyer will remember you and the value that you provide to their life. This could be the push that they need to hire you over someone else.
We get it – posting on social media is hard. You already have a demanding job, a personal life, and, frankly, it can be difficult to come up with interesting ideas to post about every day. That is why we created the FirmFlex DIY Program. Every day, we send you half a dozen ideas, a weekly theme and curated #hashtags for what to post to social media. We also provide high quality photographs that you can use in your posts. When you join our DIY Program, you join a community of people just like you — small firms trying to grow their practices. You also get exclusive tips and access to our coaching staff who can answer any questions that you have.