Social media for lawyers? What is “social media” exactly anyway?
Sure, you know about LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Maybe you’ve heard of Instagram. You might have heard someone mention Pinterest once.
So what? Why should you — a busy, stressed-out lawyer — care about social media?
Let’s put that question aside for now, and focus on something more fundamental.
Ask yourself these questions.
- Do I need more clients? (If you’re too busy because you already have enough work, great!)
- Do I get enough of the legal work I most like to do? (if you have enough good work, even better!)
- Do I like working with most of my clients? (If most of your clients are easy to work with, congratulations: you won the lottery!)
If you answered yes to those questions, then you probably don’t need to spend time on figuring out social media. Or marketing, either.
But, if you find yourself wanting more good work, read on.
First, let’s be clear about strategy: your marketing goal should be to get more work from nice people with legal problems you enjoy working on.
Sounds like Nirvana, right? Wildly unrealistic, that’s probably what you’re thinking.
No, actually it’s not. What’s unrealistic is thinking that you’ll get better work from good clients without any strategy at all.
So, you ask: how can social media help my strategic marketing goals? (as wisps of skepticism seep out of your skin pores)
Crafting a sound strategy is about being realistic, and working through the process step-by-step.
Step #1: figure out how to get “ideal clients” to pay more attention to you. This is a lot harder than most lawyers realize. Why?
Because when these “ideal clients” are on the Internet they act like everyone else: flitting about from place to place with twitchy attention-spans. Yes, getting their attention is hard, but you have a more fundamental problem, more fundamental than Internet-enabled ADD.
Most people are afraid of lawyers. You know this, right?
Most people find lawyers cagey and unapproachable. Ordinary people don’t feel comfortable sharing private thoughts and troubles with anyone, much less with cagey lawyers.
So, if you want to attract new business the first step is to send a signal that you’re not cagey and unapproachable.
If you’re comfortable letting other folks see your “human side,” then you can probably make use of social media. But if you take the plunge, ignore pundits that advocate “engagement” via social media.
What does that term even mean? Engagement. Forget about it.
Just use social media to do what (hopefully) you are doing when you meet people in person: let them know that you’re down-to-earth and approachable.
Yes, you also need to convey that you’re a serious professional. Yes, you need to let clients know that you’ll protect their confidences.
But you also need to help folks feel comfortable talking about difficult subjects. That’s how you help your good clients. And that’s how you get more good clients.
So, to summarize: social media is just a tool. But, if you’re an approachable guy or gal then maybe you can use it to your advantage.
If what I’ve been saying doesn’t make sense, ignore me. Perhaps you prefer the advice of lawyer-marketing gurus who disdain social media.
For sure, don’t listen to gurus who bloviate about “engagement.” The question isn’t: how do you engage people flitting about on Internet?
Can you be thoughtful and approachable? That’s a better question to ask.
That’s the key to finding better clients—ones who trust you and are willing to share the key information you need to help them with their legal problems.
So if you’re interested in testing social media, then what? Do you have any familiarity with LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or Twitter?
Focus one of those, whichever one you know best, and are most comfortable with (I recommend Twitter if you have a blog). Figure out how to post interesting tidbits that reveal your personality and worldview. Learn to post things quickly, or you’ll wind up down a time-wasting rabbit hole. Speaking of which…
Pay no attention whatsoever to Instagram or Pinterest.