As the old age saying goes, “If you can’t beat them, join them”. This is a sentiment that perhaps is relevant to many solicitors now that we are well and truly in the digital age. The pressure on businesses to maintain a presence online has been mounting gradually over the last decade, however, the global pandemic over the last two years has simply accelerated this move.
For law firms, the idea of having a website was almost a novelty not so long ago, now it’s simply a necessity to stay ahead of competitors, and more importantly, clients actually expect it. Now, the next step in this shift to the online world, is Social Media, however understandably it’s a move that many solicitors and law firms are going to be hesitant in making.
Consider how clients choose a solicitor or law firm to handle their legal needs – they are going to look for a solicitor that they can trust, is knowledgeable in their field of expertise, has a proven track record and showcases good communication skills. A social media platform allows you to demonstrate all of these qualities to your target audience, clients existing and new, and your peers. However, there are some drawbacks to having a presence on social media – it’s all about balance and finding the right strategy that works best for you and your firm.
In this article, we are going to share some of the pros and cons of using social media for your law firm.
What are the Pros of social media for law firms?
Creating brand awareness
You might not think of your law firm as a ‘brand’ per se but at the end of the day, it is a business and every business has to sell itself as a brand.
By setting up branded profiles for your law firm, complete with your firm’s logo, brand colours, fonts and contact details, you are creating an identity for your law firm that clients will recognise over time. You can also include a useful and descriptive bio that showcases what your areas of law practice are and why people should choose your law firm over a competitor.
Finally, remember it’s all about the people – you can share Meet the Team posts with your audience, which will help your clients become familiar with the people behind your firm, from your receptionist, to your trainee solicitors, all the way up to the partners.
Helps you attract new clients
With a reported 3.79 million social media users in Ireland, which is equivalent to 76.4% of the Irish population, social media platforms are a great way of reaching out to prospective clients.
Having a presence on social media increases your chances of building up your client base, as you’re offering potential clients another route to reach out to you, rather than by email or telephone.
Furthermore, it offers you a chance to share regular testimonials from existing clients with your audience, which increases the chances of a new client taking the plunge and making contact with your firm for their legal needs.
Demonstrates authority in the legal profession
There are continuous developments in the legal world, particularly with changes to laws and updates to Acts. As every solicitor worth their salt know, it’s important to keep on top of all the latest developments in order to be able to serve their clients’ needs.
When you have a social media presence, you have a platform where you can share updates and all the latest legal news with your target audience. Not only does this demonstrate your authority in your field of practice, but it also is valuable information for both existing and new clients.
Communication is an integral part of a relationship between a solicitor and their clients. Connecting with your target audience on social media can help to convert them from potential clients to existing clients.
It also gives you the platform to maintain and build upon your relationship with existing clients, making sure that your firm remains fresh in their minds for any future legal assistance.
Another key point is that a social media presence can connect you with a wide community of fellow solicitors. This could prove to be extremely useful should you wish to expand your legal team and you want to attract the best quality candidates to join your team.
So let’s look at the downsides of Social Media for Law Firms
Takes up valuable time
Of course, we understand that the workload of solicitors is already stretched to the limit so it might seem counter productive to be distracted from your primary role in order to create and schedule social media posts.
Particularly when you’re starting out and trying to build up your audience from scratch, it can feel like you’re ploughing all this time, energy and money into posting content that’s not reaching anyone. It takes patience and the right strategy to build your audience but it can prove to be a frustrating time waiting to see a return on your investment.
One solution to help this is to make it a team effort so that everyone shares the workload. It’s also worth speaking to an expert in social media marketing – they can guide you on building a strategy that is going to reach your target audience, so your efforts are not going to waste.
Hard to make sense of social media metrics
While it might give you a little boost to see those comments, likes and shares popping up on notifications, at the end of the day, it has to have positive results for your bottom line. It’s easy to get engagement from family, friends and colleagues on social media, (and of course every little bit helps) but it’s more difficult to make sure you’re reaching your target audience which is perspective clients. And it’s even trickier to convert those clients from potential to existing clients. If you can remember that, just like with all forms of marketing, it’s all about nurturing – if you build a social media strategy that is consistent, informative and engaging, it will result in a positive outcome.
Understanding the metrics can be confusing, so taking the time to do your research, and calling in the services of a social media guru will help you make sense of the algorithms and figures.
Open to negative engagement
There’s no doubt – any audience on social media can be a tough crowd! If you’ve put yourself out there on a social media platform, you need to be prepared that it may not always be positive engagement in the comments section.
Remember that, for the most part, there’s always something to be learned from negative criticism. If your audience have highlighted an area of your client service that needs some attention then at least you’re now aware of it and can take the necessary steps at resolving it and improving for the future.
Ready to showcase your law firm on Social Media?
As you can see from above, the benefits far outweigh the negatives to having a social media presence for your business. With the right strategy, social media marketing can help your law firm prosper, establish you as an expert in your field of law and stay ahead of your competitors. The great thing is, you don’t have to go all in, you can start with one platform and build up a virtual presence from there – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, there’s a platform to suit everyone.
So if you’re ready to dip your toe in the world of social media, we have a resource that will really steer you in the right direction. In our webinar, LinkedIn for Personal Branding, we are joined by LinkedIn coach, consultant and expert, John McGrath, who talks us through how we should be using LinkedIn for our personal and professional brand. You can watch the webinar on replay here.
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