Social media can be a very effective way for lawyers to grow their practice. One of my friends in Michigan is a family law attorney that has earned a lot of new clients through Facebook, YouTube and Foursquare. While social media has been great for his business, he faced a number of challenges along the way.
There is a learning curve for anyone using social media to grow a thriving law firm. Here are some important tips to set you on the right track.
Choose your social networking platforms carefully
There are hundreds of social networking sites out there. You can't afford to invest time with all of them. You are better off identifying three or four sites to focus on.
Every lawyer should have a presence on Facebook. Facebook is the largest social networking site in the world, with over 1 billion active users.
But what other sites should you be using? That depends on the nature of your practice and where your customers are.
LinkedIn is a great site for lawyers that offer B2B services. Patent attorneys, white-collar criminal defense lawyers, tax lawyers and obviously business lawyers can all benefit from using LinkedIn. Family law, DUI and product liability lawyers probably won't get as much traction from it. They would be better off using more general social networking sites.
You should also consider social networking sites that relate to your area of practice. Business and patent lawyers may want to join social networking sites for entrepreneurs, such as Evans Carmichael.
Avoid the appearance of violating client privilege
As a practicing attorney, you obviously take your responsibility to protect client privilege very seriously. However, when posting on social media, you need to be careful that you don't send any mixed messages.
One lawyer I spoke with wrote a Facebook post that summarized a recent case he read in the news. The story wasn't about any of his clients, but some people assumed that it was. He accidentally earned a reputation for violating client privilege.
You need to be very careful when sharing stories on social media. Make sure you clarify that you are divulging information about any of your clients. Post about newsworthy events need to be properly cited to avoid this mistake.
Build followers quickly
Having a large base of followers is important. You want to make sure that you can get a large base of followers to interact with you. Having more followers will increase the likelihood that your content will be shared and help you get your content to rank more highly in most social networking feeds. If you are trying to find more followers, you want to use services to generate automated Instagram likes. They tend to help you get more visibility, which means more people will find your site later.
Screen post from your social media managers beforehand
As a busy lawyer, you don't have time to manage all of your social media profiles on your own. You need to outsource to qualified social media experts.
Vetting their content is very important. Social media managers lack your legal expertise, so they may not realize that some of the content they post may create serious liability problems. It is better to be safe than sorry, so sign off on every post before it gets published.