Years ago when we opened our law practice, we had a website and emailed newsletters to clients, friends and family. One of our clients asked if we were on Facebook. We were stunned. Did lawyers do Facebook?
With all the Rules of Professional Responsibility to follow, a professional image to maintain and the perceived learning curve, it can be daunting for an attorney to jump into social media. Perhaps not the younger attorneys who have grown up with social media, but maybe the attorneys who remember that mobile phones were once used to call people.
So we looked into it. Since our practice was in estate planning and we targeted families with young children, having a Facebook page for our firm made sense. Most moms we knew had Facebook accounts and it was easy for them to find us (and tell others about us). As a result of setting up our Facebook page, we could post a schedule of our speaking engagements and provide helpful articles about estate planning.
How to Benefit from Social Media
- Showcase Your Personality. Be more approachable. People want to hire who they like, know, and trust. Display both your personality and professionalism. This will make a potential client more comfortable in contacting you.
- Communicate Your Expertise. Write articles, blog or answer commonly asked legal questions in a video. Demonstrate your knowledge in a specific legal area.
- Maximize Your Marketing Dollars. Find free or low-cost social media sites. Use Google adwords or other social media promotions that are relatively cheap. Look into how to leverage free listings on social media to get the most exposure for your practice.
- Network with other Attorneys or Professionals. Connect with those influencers that could learn about your practice and recommend you.
Social Media Tips for Lawyers
- Research. See what your competitors are doing well and not so well on social media. Know your target audience and find out what social media they are more likely to use. Read our post, Use Social Media to Target Your Ideal Law Client.
- Know Your Bar Rules. Social media posts, profiles and pages may be considered legal advertising by your bar jurisdiction and therefore subject to their rules.
- Do not Make False Statements or Misleading Claims. Avoid labeling yourself as an “expert.” Don’t advertise your past successes as promised results.
- Avoid Disclosing Confidential or Privileged Information. Although your audience enjoys your war stories, be careful. Do not spill secrets that reveal a client or matter.
- Include a Disclaimer. Avoid the trap of creating an attorney-client relationship. Add a disclaimer to your social media that makes it clear you are giving generalized advice. Find a sample disclaimer in our post, 5 Tips for Law Firm Websites.
- Start small. Master one social media account before leaping onto several sites. Embrace the mistakes you make. Learn from them and move on.
- Track down all legal directory sites. Make sure all your contact information is accurate. Complete any missing details. I can’t tell you how many highly rated AVVO attorneys fail to include their phone number or website on their attorney profile. Don’t miss an opportunity to connect.
In conclusion, if you are not engaging in social media, start somewhere. Jump into social media. Promote your law practice and get more clients.
Want more tips and advice for your awesome law practice? Check out Law Office on a Laptop, Second Edition: How to Set Up Your Own Successful Law Mobile Law Practice.