The Busy Lawyer’s Guide to Social Media

By Ryan Stewart | on Jan 31, 2024

Social media is by far the most misunderstood marketing channel for law firms.

You know that you should be active there, but it’s a total drain on your time and generally doesn’t result in more clients.

This comprehensive guide will show you how to not waste your time on social media and actually attract more clients to your practice.

Specifically, you’ll learn:

  • The key benefits social platforms offer lawyers
  • Which networks best align with different legal practice areas
  • Creative tactics for quality content creation
  • Tips to maximize your reach through social ads
  • Proven ways to convert followers into paying clients

So, let’s get started.


Why Lawyers Overlook Social Media Marketing

It’s easy to dismiss social media as just another new marketing fad. But the numbers speak for themselves:

Clearly, prospects are on social media. So to gain their attention, lawyers must meet them where they already spend time online.

Yet many firms shy away from developing intentional social strategies. Why the disconnect?

Several common barriers hold lawyers back:

  1. Lack of time. Most attorneys are already overworked as is. Staying active on social channels feels like just another task to add to their overflowing plates.
  2. Uncertainty around posting. Fear of sharing the wrong content or crossing ethical lines keeps many lawyers away from social altogether.
  3. Choice paralysis. With seemingly endless platform options like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, X (Twitter), YouTube and more – analysis paralysis sets in. Where should they even begin?
  4. Difficulty measuring ROI. Social platforms don’t make it easy to directly track sales generated from social efforts alone. This murky ROI deters lawyers focused purely on immediate returns.

However, these challenges obscure the immense advantages social media offers law firms who implement it strategically, including:

  • Humanizing otherwise stiff legal brands
  • Establishing expertise around practice areas
  • Connecting with prospects where they already spend time
  • Controlling narratives and public perception
  • Rapidly increasing visibility and authority

Now let’s be clear – social media alone likely won’t match the direct sales impact of channels like SEO and PPC. But when combined with a robust digital strategy, it becomes an invaluable tool for brand building and client engagement. For a law firm looking for organic, long-term growth, a well-executed social media strategy should be part of the equation.


Which Social Platforms Best Fit Different Legal Fields?

While every lawyer can benefit from social media, some legal fields naturally lend themselves better to social efforts. The key is choosing networks where your audience already spends time.

Let’s explore which platforms typically align best for specific practice areas.


Immigration Lawyers

Reaching international audiences and immigrant communities is crucial when providing citizenship, visa and green card assistance. Social media allows immigration lawyers to connect globally and share educational content.

Best Platforms:

  • Facebook – Connect locally with immigrant communities and share relevant news.
  • YouTube – Publish “explainer” videos around complex immigration laws and processes.
  • LinkedIn – Establish your expertise and interact with other industry professionals.

Follow accounts like McBeanLaw or Goldstein Immigration Lawyers for inspiration.



Personal Injury Lawyers

Speed matters when seeking to sign up local accident victims or injury sufferers for your personal injury law firm. Social platforms like Facebook offer instant lead gen opportunities through targeted ads.

Ideal Networks:

  • Facebook – Use dynamic ads to target victims or those seeking legal services.
  • X (Twitter) – Follow and interact with local healthcare providers and injury-related news sources.
  • YouTube – Produce educational videos about accident law and the process of filing a lawsuit.

Check out Aimee the Attorney or Serpe Firm for smart social media marketing examples.



Criminal Defense Lawyers

Maintaining an ethical yet approachable brand is critical when defending clients involved in criminal cases. Social media allows criminal defense lawyers to shape public perception and establish expertise.

Effective Platforms:

  • X – Follow and interact with criminal law news sources, courtrooms, and police departments.
  • YouTube – Share commentary on new rulings and trending legal news.
  • LinkedIn – Connect with potential clients, prosecutors, and legal experts.

Take notes from Doug Rohan.



Family Lawyers

Managing reputation and conveying empathy is hugely important when dealing with sensitive domestic cases. Being accessible on social platforms humanizes family law attorneys.

Ideal Networks:

  • Facebook – Engage with the local community and solicit positive reviews.
  • LinkedIn – Showcase subject matter expertise around divorce, child custody, etc.
  • X – Share family law news updates and practice insights.

Check out Paula Rhone-Adrien for social media examples tailored to a family law audience.


This table summarizes the ideal platforms based on legal field:

Practice Area Best Platforms Content Examples
Immigration Law Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn News updates, explainer videos, thought leadership
Personal Injury Facebook, YouTube, X Local offers, video testimonials, client referrals
Criminal Defense LinkedIn, X, YouTube Expert commentary, video FAQs, reputation management
Family Law Facebook, LinkedIn, X Community involvement, expertise building, news commentary

Now that you know which networks to prioritize, let’s analyze the ROI.


Consider These Before Investing in Social Media

Driving new business is likely your #1 goal. So is investing time and money in social media marketing worth it?

The short answer — it depends. While there are many success stories, social media is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Many legal business owners have had success using modern marketing techniques such as content marketing and social media outreach. That said, it’s important to consider the following before investing in social media for your firm:

  • Current caseload: Are you able to handle the additional workload at the moment? If not, would you be open to outsourcing?
  • Profit margins: Can you maintain a healthy return on investment (ROI) while investing in paid ads, software, and potentially a new hire or contractor?
  • Team bandwidth: Do you have the capacity to run and manage multiple social media accounts?
  • Conversion process: Are your intake forms, call-to-actions (CTAs), and fee structure optimized to convert visitors into customers?

If you’ve never had a strong social media presence, it will take time before you see concrete results. If you prefer not to wait, you can explore other options like search engine marketing. This approach can generate leads almost immediately.

However, social media offers certain unique advantages:


1. Humanizing Your Law Firm

Social platforms add a much-needed personal touch to your law firm’s brand. Prospects want to engage with the human side of your business before becoming clients.

Posting behind-the-scenes photos, company events, attorney highlights and community involvement helps prospects connect with your firm on a deeper level.


2. Increasing Visibility

Simply having profiles on multiple social networks expands your visibility to new audiences. Optimizing these profiles with keywords and compelling visuals enhances your search rankings as well.

The more people exposed to your brand across channels, the greater your opportunities for new business.


3. Showcasing Legal Expertise

Social media allows you to establish thought leadership and credibility around your practice areas. Sharing legal analysis, breaking down complex topics and weighing in on trending issues demonstrates your proficiency.

This builds trust and authority with prospects.


4. Real-Time Reputation Management

Online reviews make or break law firms these days. Social platforms give you access to and control over your reputation.

Responding promptly to comments, questions and reviews shapes your narrative in a positive light. Being accessible helps offset any negative feedback that may arise.


5. Diversifying Your Marketing Mix

Every successful digital strategy requires diversity — a healthy blend of traffic sources and tactics. This protects you when changes occur on any one platform.

Integrating social efforts with SEO, PPC and email marketing results in a robust promotional plan with built-in stability.

Now that you understand the advantages of social media for legal teams, let’s look at crafting an effective strategy.


Developing a Strategic Social Media Marketing Plan

While getting set up on social platforms is easy, a purposeful approach is necessary for long-term success. Define goals, target audience and messaging before launching campaigns. Follow these best practices when building your strategy:


Choose Networks Strategically

One of the biggest mistakes firms make is creating profiles on every popular social site. This thin spread rarely succeeds.

Instead, select just the 1-2 platforms that best fit your audience, service offerings and resources. Otherwise, you’ll stretch yourself too thin.

Analyze demographics and use cases to identify where your buyers spend time. Which networks offer the most visibility potential?

For most law firms, focusing social efforts on just Facebook, X, LinkedIn and YouTube covers all the bases:

Platform Overview Tips
Facebook Best for personal community engagement and conversations. – Create a business page to promote your services and build relationships.
– Make useful, relevant posts with hashtags to increase visibility.
– Carefully follow guidelines to avoid violations.
Twitter Great for trending topics, Q&As, and customer service. – Share legal news, tips, and content to connect with followers.
– Track metrics to improve future tweets.
– Engage followers by asking for feedback on desired content.
LinkedIn Ideal for professional networking and expertise positioning. – Create a professional profile and network to connect with potential clients and partners.
– Share relevant content like articles and advice to establish expertise.
– Join groups to expand your reach.
YouTube Great for visual storytelling and helpful educational content. – Create videos showcasing your firm’s personality to attract clients.
– Use visuals, establish a niche, and optimize with hashtags and promotions.
– Focus videos on providing useful info to potential clients.

Once you identify the right platforms, dedicate your efforts towards mastering just these channels.


Ensure Brand Consistency

Conflicting messaging across networks confuses audiences and triggers distrust. Brand consistency throughout your social presence is mandatory.

First, document your core brand pillars, voice and visual identity. Then carry this through on your profiles, posts and engagement.

Refer back to your brand guide if you have one. If not, outline key elements upfront for reference as you publish content.


Customize Your Strategy Per Platform

Taking a “one size fits all” social media approach fails every time. Each network has unique audiences, algorithms and best practices.

For example, long-form video excels on YouTube but falls flat on Instagram. Hashtags drive discovery on X yet are irrelevant on LinkedIn.

That’s why tailoring your content and engagement style specifically for each platform is so crucial. Study what resonates where before sharing posts.


Use Social Media Management Tools

Maintaining an active presence on multiple networks takes serious time. Jumping between apps to post and engage is incredibly inefficient.

This is where social media management tools become total game-changers for legal marketers. Rather than hopping between networks, these tools centralize your efforts under one platform.

HubSpot, Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Buffer are popular options here. Look for key features like:

  • Post scheduling across multiple networks
  • Comment monitoring and response automation
  • Analytics and reporting
  • Account and hashtag tracking
  • Team workflow collaboration

The ability to plan, publish, engage and monitor from one centralized dashboard will significantly amplify your social efforts and save tons of time.


Creating Compelling Social Media Content

Now for the fun part – creating content. The posts you share ultimately make or break your social media success.

Let’s explore proven formats and distribution strategies your law firm can use to captivate audiences.


Find the Right Promotional Balance

One common mistake firms make is overwhelmingly self-promotional content. While offers have their place, constantly pitching sales alienates followers.

Instead, aim for an 80/20 mix of value-added content vs direct promotional messages. Share educational posts, entertaining commentary, behind-the-scenes photos, attorney spotlights and inspirational quotes. This engages and delights followers while organically building brand affinity.

Once you establish trust, occasional promotions feel natural, not intrusive. Just ensure offers solve problems and align with audience interests.

Now here’s a pro tip: Strategically tailor your content approach based on audience “temperature”:

For hot traffic visitors already familiar with your brand, meet their demonstrated intent with relevant CTAs. Promote free consultations, guides, webinars and other conversion-focused offers. Still, customize messaging to their specific needs.

For cold traffic unfamiliar with your firm, prioritize an infotainment style. Blend informative legal commentary with entertaining pop culture highlights. Showcase your lawyers’ expertise and personalities through shareworthy videos, posts and visuals. This attracts and nurtures cold visitors into hot leads over time.


Social media represents your chance to humanize the brand and connect with people through helpful information. Take advantage of it!


Experiment With Different Content Formats

While educational posts are essential, mixing up your content formats keeps engagement high. Photos, videos, live streams, gifs, quotes, polls and more all resonate differently with audiences.

Tap into the types of content and formats that perform best on each of your chosen platforms.

For example, short visual posts work great on X and Instagram, whereas long-form thought leadership does well on LinkedIn.

Creative formats to test include:

  • Behind-the-scenes photos
  • Attorney spotlight videos
  • Case result infographics
  • Live Q&As
  • “Ask Me Anything” AMAs
  • Inspirational quotes
  • Interactive polls and surveys

Track metrics by post type to determine what your audience most responds to. Then double down on those formats.


Foster Two-Way Interactions

Social media is about building community, not just broadcasting messages. Making authentic connections through engagement shows you truly care.

Reply to every comment, question and message received on your profiles. Set up notifications so you never miss replying.


When appropriate, proactively share user-generated content like reviews, shares and mentions. This drives credibility through third-party validation.

You can even crowdsource content from time to time by asking followers to share photos, experiences and feedback. This shows you value the community.

The more you nurture interactions, the stronger your relationships and credibility become. This fosters immense trust and loyalty over time.


Monitor Brand Mentions For Outreach

Your prospects are already discussing legal needs and experiences online. Identifying these conversations can uncover opportunities to connect.

Social listening tools like Hootsuite, Meltwater and Talkwalker allow you to monitor keywords and brand mentions across the social web. You can even track competitors.

Set up alerts for key terms like “seeking legal help” or “attorney referral” to find those expressing a need. Consider providing value by responding with helpful guidance or resources when appropriate.

Just be sure your outreach provides true value, not just a sales pitch. No one likes unsolicited promotional messages on social media.


Get Your Team Involved

The most powerful social advocacy happens organically from your own staff. Employees serve as credible brand evangelists.

Encourage your team to share content, engage with followers and publish their own relevant posts. Featuring attorney spotlights and specialities boosts expertise and approachability.

Just be sure to educate employees on proper social media etiquette, online ethics, security protocols and brand guidelines first. You want to avoid any PR missteps from ill-advised employee posts.

Now let’s explore ways to expand your reach even further through advertising.


Maximizing Social Media Exposure Through Ads

While organic efforts establish familiarity, paid advertising accelerates results by exposing you to massive new cold audiences.

For attorneys focused on lead generation and rapid growth, exploring social ads is highly advised. Platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram offer robust targeting options.

Here are some tips to maximize your ad impact:

Target Ads Precisely

Geo-targeting your paid ads ensures only those within your service area see your messages. Exclude anyone living too far away to realistically hire you.

Further narrow your audience based on:

  • Demographics like age, gender, income level
  • Interests like homeowners, first-time parents, retirees
  • Behaviors like home buyers, divorce filers, DUI offenders
  • Website visitors for remarketing

Layering these filters focuses your reach on only those realistically in the market for your legal services. This minimizes ad spend waste from broad targeting.

Retarget Website Visitors

People who visited your website have already shown initial interest. Keep your brand top of mind by serving them relevant ads across platforms through remarketing.

For example, someone who viewed your divorce page but didn’t convert sees tailored offers across Instagram to bring them back into your sales funnel.

Facebook, LinkedIn, and X pixels allow you to track site visitors and display ads to potential clients. Adjust your targeting based on website interaction, such as using a special offer for visitors who clicked around but didn’t convert.

Track Conversions Through UTM Parameters

Understanding your ROI is crucial when evaluating paid social performance. UTM campaign tags let you monitor exactly where traffic and leads originate from.

For example, links in your Facebook ad promoting a free consultation would be:

UTM tracking provides the data needed to identify your best-performing channels, audiences and tactics. You can then optimize your paid social strategy leveraging actionable data insights.

Monitor Engagement and Conversion Metrics

Don’t just set and forget your ad campaigns. Closely analyze performance reports to identify winning messages and high-converting audience segments.

Prioritize action-oriented engagement metrics like:

  • Landing page visits
  • Content downloads
  • Contact and callback requests
  • Consultation signups
  • Email newsletter subscriptions

Take optimization further by actively A/B testing elements that impact conversion rate like:

  • Ad creative and text
  • Call-to-action design
  • Landing page layouts
  • Offer formats

Continual testing and outcome tracking will refine your social ad strategy over time.

Converting Social Media Followers into Clients

Growing your audience and engagement is great, but ultimately most law firms care about getting calls.

Use these proven tactics to turn social media followers into paying clients:

Promote Lead Gen Offers

Directing social traffic to landing pages with lead-gen offers converts substantially better than sending them to unrelated website pages.

Effective offers might include:

  • Free consultations
  • Strategy sessions
  • Alerts and newsletters
  • Checklists or guides
  • Case reviews
  • Webinars

Tailor your ad content and landing page messaging to closely align with the offer. For example, promote your “5 Mistakes to Avoid After an Accident” guide in your PI ads.

Use Click-To-Call Ads

For audiences demonstrating high intent ready to speak with a lawyer immediately, click-to-call ads can drive instant conversions.

These ads include a call button right in the ad unit to connect users directly to your law office in one click. Reduce friction for those ready to hire you now.

Create Video Ads

Video ads can be a powerful way to show potential clients why they should trust your firm. Use video ads to showcase your experience, expertise and success in court cases.

Include captivating visuals, easy-to-follow graphics and educational information that resonates with the audience. This will help them form a connection with you before reaching out for your services.

It’s Time to Get Social, Lawyers!

Hopefully this guide has shown you why social media is no longer optional for modern law firms. When leveraged strategically, it becomes a powerful tool for brand building and lead generation.

Now you understand which platforms to prioritize, how to create compelling content, and ways to maximize exposure.

But where should you focus your limited time and resources first – social media marketing or search engine marketing?

The answer depends on your business goals:

If your top priority is lead generation, search engine marketing is superior. Platforms like Google perfectly match those actively seeking legal help with the right law firm. Conversions happen faster with less effort.

However, mastering search requires significant technical knowledge around SEO and PPC best practices. Expect a steeper learning curve.

If brand building is your primary aim, social media delivers immense value. Organic social efforts are easier to manage than SEM. And you control the narrative on your own turf.

Social platforms also feel more personal and fun compared to search campaigns. You engage directly with real people vs faceless keywords.

Ultimately every successful digital marketing strategy requires a diverse mix of channels and tactics. As your law firm evolves, invest time and resources across both social media and search engine marketing for maximum impact.

Need help getting your digital marketing on track? WEBRIS offers fully managed PPC and SEO solutions tailored specifically to the legal industry. From hands-on content creation to conversion tracking, we handle everything so you can focus on closing cases.

Don’t leave business on the table. Contact us today to amplify your online presence!

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