Is Facebook the missing link for law firms?
The key to avoiding the social media rabbit hole of time and money is to think of each platform as a cog in a bigger machine, explains James Noble
Now, more than ever, law firms are required to use social media to compete for work. The rise of service accessibility and affordability, and a lack of competitive differentiation, has ultimately led to the collapse of the ‘build it and they will come’ approach. As a result, comprehensive social media plans are now used by forward-thinking lawyers who want to grow their networks, win new business, and improve communication with clients and colleagues.
In fact, the percentage of socially active business profiles in the legal industry far exceeds any other under the professional services umbrella. Propero’s ‘The State Of Digital Marketing In Professional Services UK Industry Report 2017’ shows that 90 per cent of firms surveyed are active on LinkedIn and 84 per cent on Twitter. What this demonstrates is that the majority of law firms have woken up to the notion that these social mediums are a critical means of leading conversations and sharing expertise.
However, there is still a considerable number of heads in the sand when it comes to the social media channels that exist outside of those mentioned above. Just 67 per cent of firms surveyed are present on Facebook, which means one-third are missing out on the way this platform helps build relationships – something all legal professionals can agree is essential for growth.
Unbeknownst to these firms, the real purpose of being present on the full spectrum of social networking sites goes beyond directly connecting lawyers with new clients. Nowadays, regular and consistent social activity is the most effective way to boost your firm’s visibility among a slew of competition so that you actually show up when a prospective client searches for a law firm in your location. And putting your legal practice in the spotlight is where Facebook excels.
If you’re a smaller firm competing locally, for instance, Facebook’s ‘Boost Post’ function allows you to reach prospective clients in your target area for a nominal fee. Since the platform is already optimised for sharing content (for instance, blog posts and news articles), it can be a two-pronged approach to building authority and demonstrating thought leadership with the right audience.
Combine this with highly targeted campaigns that leverage Facebook’s more sophisticated advertising features, and you’ve got yourself a winning strategy – one that places your firm in front of the right people, at the right time.
Additionally, the ‘Groups’ function within Facebook makes it easy for lawyers to create, search for, and join groups that are specific to their practice area. You’re able to share information, build relationships, and ultimately put yourself forward with confidence when prospective clients ask for lawyer recommendations.
And, since almost every prospective client will now consult Google before committing, it’s important that what they find is representative of your firm and reputation. Setting up your Facebook company page and engaging with your followers regularly is a secondary yet effective way to appear favourably among competitors and clinch new business.
The bottom line is this: the key to avoiding the social media rabbit hole of time and money is to think of each platform as a cog in a bigger machine. Once you understand and begin leveraging the nuances of each platform together, and combine this with an extensive social media communications and advertising plan (which should already be a non-negotiable in every modern-day law firm’s toolkit), you will find it easier and less costly to attract more work, appear ahead of the competition, and engage with the waiting community of people searching for your services.
James Noble is senior partner at Propero Partners, a London-based strategic marketing consultancy for firms in legal and finance