Top 3 social media marketing mistakes made by law firms
Marketing a law firm isn’t easy because law is an inherently dull topic – unless you’re actually a lawyer you’re unlikely to find the nuts and bolts of recent legal case interesting, and even then it’s questionable!
But, despite this, I believe law firms can do a lot more to make their social media marketing interesting and more effective. So much so, that when I set out to build my "How to Start a Law Firm" course, I dedicated an entire section to the social media marketing of a law firm. This article sets out the three mistakes I see being made over and over again.
- Lack of focus
Many law firms use their social accounts to talk about the areas of law they specialise in and the sectors they operate in, rather than talking to their target client. They shout about how they’re experts in employment law and, separately, how they work with clients in the energy sector, and hope that someone from the energy sector who needs help with an employment claim will put 2 and 2 together and walk through the door.
One of the reasons for this is that law firms are rarely built to serve a particular type of client and, often, different departments will have different target clients but will all operate under the same brand. This makes it very difficult for marketing activities to focus on a particular audience which, in turn, makes it very difficult for law firms to distinguish themselves from their competitors.
From a consumer perspective, it makes choosing a law firm extremely difficult because they all look the same. If you’re a small business owner looking for employment support, there are thousands of law firms that could help you. But not many of them will say on their websites that they are focussed on supporting small business owners, so how do you know which one is right for you? Unless you can ask someone for a recommendation, the answer is that you probably don’t.
The whole point of social media marketing is to attract your target client to your business, and law firms who aren’t focussed enough on their audience are missing a trick.
- Conservative (and, dare I say it, boring!) content
If I see another stock photo of white middle-aged men sitting in a meeting room smiling at each other I’m going scream.
And don’t even get me started on how law firms typically share case law updates on social media. Does anyone actually read them?!
Law firms tend to be very risk averse in their social media marketing for fear of offending anyone; they want to be everything to everyone. But the consequence of this is that their content is as dull as dishwater.
But here’s the thing, it doesn’t have to be. You can express opinions, have a sense of humour and still be a credible law firm. If someone doesn’t find your joke funny and decides not to instruct you, that’s fine. Assuming that your joke isn’t a terrible ‘dad joke’, more people will be drawn to your firm and want to work with you than will be put off by it.
Numerous law firms posted about the Colin v Cuthbert trade mark dispute, but our post below outperformed them all. Why? Because we used humour to spark a discussion about the correct way to eat insect-based confectionary. And, at the same time, we let everyone know that we have an IP team that knows about trade marks.
We also took a bit of gamble on April Fools Day and shared the post below with a link to a blog explaining how we were ditching technology and going back to basics; handwritten letters and snail mail. It was so convincing that a number of people actually believed us, and we even had a couple of very concerned clients contacting us. But as soon as the joke was revealed all was forgiven!
Social media marketing is only effective when it generates discussion, which means you need to give people something to talk about. So take a risk, be bold and say something that no-one else is saying!
- Lack of authenticity
It’s well understood that people connect with people, so it’s hardly surprising that social media posts featuring people typically perform better than posts containing other content.
So why do so few law firms showcase their team on social media?
And I don’t just mean sharing updates of new hires and promotions, I mean sharing the human behind the lawyer.
On International Women’s Day social media was flooded with #choosetochallenge content, but our video below performed extremely well, with over 3,000 views. Why? Because it was authentic. The members of the team in the video weren’t told what to say; they spoke from the heart and viewers can feel the emotion behind it.
Showcasing your team in this way enable prospective clients to connect with them on a personal level, which makes your law firms much more approachable and personable. Trust is such an important factor in the decision to buy legal services, and authentic content which shows the human side of the business will make your social media marketing considerably more effective.
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