I am an attorney that markets his services to various individuals and organizations that may not have an immediate need for a personal injury lawyer but, eventually may require my services for themselves or someone they know. Staying “fresh in their minds” is key to my success. This holds true across the board including: referrals from other attorneys, prior clients, current clients and even just people or groups that have the ability to communicate my availability if and when the need arises. In my mind, there is no better way to do this than through the various social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and others. So having answered the question that, “Yes. I do need to make social media an integral part of my marketing efforts for my law practice”, the question becomes how to do this most effectively and efficiently.
What not to do when using social media to market your legal services:
Remember that episode from Seinfeld where Jerry gets a call from a telemarketer who starts right in on him with a pitch. Jerry says, “You know, I don’t have time to talk to you right now, but, if you give me your home number, I’ll call you back later and we can chat.” The telemarketer says, “Well, we can’t do that!”. Jerry replies, “Now you know how I feel!” What is my point: You cannot market in any format by simply trying to push yourselves on other people! It doesn’t work on the phone and it doesn’t work on the internet either. I see too many attorneys on social media these days simply posting up a link to their website over and over and over again with nothing else of substance. This just doesn’t work. People ignore these signals after awhile and just “hang up”! Is there a time and place for putting out links to your website and other “straight ads”. I think the answer is yes but, it is about timing. If you join a new Google Plus community or a new group on LinkedIn, you should absolutely put up a post to your home page with an intro about your law firm and the types of cases you handle. It also isn’t a bad idea to put those types of posts out on a regular basis into your “public stream” just to advise people that have just recently started following you or as a “gentle reminder” to your followers about your practice. However, if this is all that you do or if you simply “spam” the airwaves with this type of message, you will not be successful in my mind.
True Engagement: A better alternative to pushy commercial social content
If our goal is to have our law firm fresh in peoples’ minds, why not put out content on the “airwaves” that people actually find interesting, useful and informative? This is a more subtle and more effective means to get your message across. What are some examples:
- Legal Blogs: Blogging is great because it is dynamic and not static. You can come up with new ideas of interest on a regular basis and do blog posts that are fresh and can be shared (and hopefully re-shared) on the various social platforms. Instead of seeing that same post to the home page over and over, they see something new and different.
- Content Curation: Legal news is happening all around us every minute of every day. This provides an endless source of information for which a lawyer is able to provide his insight and commentary. These can be in the form of blog posts, or just straight social shares with a link to a news article and your insight. If you want to throw a relevant URL in there somewhere (preferably at the end), this is, in my mind, a much less “pushy” means of marketing communication.
- Engaging With the Content of Others: This is not “all about you”. In fact, it has less to do with “you” and more to do with “your” interaction with others. Comment on other attorney’s blog posts, provide your comments on their social streams, join their groups, participate in their hangouts, and, in general BE SOCIAL!!
- Share The Content of Others: Let’s face it, everyone is self interested to some degree or another but, if you want to succeed in social marketing, you had better be willing to share the message of others (yes, even competitors) if you want them to share your information. You should not do this gratuitously but, rather you should “re-tweet”, “share”, “like” and re-post information from other people that you find interesting and informative without a thought about whether they will ever “reciprocate”. If you have this selfless attitude, you will, in fact, receive reciprocation without having to ask for it. If you help other people get their message out, they will, in turn help you. Trust me.
Author Bio: Steven M. Sweat is a member of the Circle of Legal Trust. He is an attorney in Los Angeles, CA who practices both personal injury law and criminal defense. He is a regular contributor to this and other blogs about legal topics and marketing.