How Lawyers Can Grow Their Personal Brand Using Social Media
Law firm branding is essential for developing name recognition and building trust with current and prospective clients. In today’s digital landscape, brand identity is strongly linked to social media presence. By building their own personal brands and establishing a social media following, attorneys can enhance their reputations and facilitate greater reach for their firms. This is unfortunately not always an easy task – the social media landscape as a lawyer is competitive, but there are several strategies you can employ to make your name stand out.
Polish Your Social Pages
You first need to make sure that your social profiles are refined and ready to be viewed. Create professional pages separate from personal accounts and delete any extra accounts that may make it hard for users to find you. Choose a professional, high-quality headshot for your profile photo and consider using it for all accounts – maintaining a consistent image will facilitate a consistent brand. Finally, when writing social media bios, think carefully about how you want to introduce yourself to the world. It’s important to include relevant keywords when describing your skills and services, but put time and effort into making your bio as original as possible.
Know Your Audience
Your target audience will first dictate what platforms you should use to promote your brand. Remember that LinkedIn and Twitter tend to be used more by professionals, Facebook by older generations, and Instagram by millennials. So, if you are an elder law attorney, it is probably not necessary to try to grow your brand on Instagram.
Your audience will also drive the angle you take when providing your followers with information. Following from above, as an elder lawyer, it would make sense to portray yourself as a source of assistance rather than as thought leader. You will want to keep this theme and tone consistent throughout the content you post, so your audience knows what to expect by following you. They will ultimately associate you with your brand, leading to top-of-mind awareness when they are looking for information.
Create Relevant Content
Your practice area can often serve as the theme for your social media content. If you work in more than one specific area, choose the one that you are most passionate about or that best lends itself to creative, engaging and informative content. Again, consistency is key – try to stick to posts about or related to this topic.
Keep in mind that content will differ for each social platform. Twitter and LinkedIn should be used mostly for sharing insights, news updates, and blog posts whereas Facebook and Instagram are still mainly social platforms that encourage a more personal approach. Video can be especially effective here in humanizing your online presence, through Q&A sessions, “day-in-the-life” clips and how-to videos.
Engage With Your Followers
It’s essential that your social presence is not just one-sided. To help gain followers and actually build connections, make sure you are liking and responding to comments, retweeting, and following others. If someone directly messages you, it is important that you respond in a timely (and polite, appropriate) manner. Additionally, joining groups on Facebook and LinkedIn will allow you to further interact with both personal and professional communities.
Don’t Overpost or Overpromote
These two actions are a sure way to lose some followers. In terms of post frequency, create a social media calendar and schedule posts to help establish a consistent yet appropriate posting routine. Frequency also differs by platform – aim for 3-4 Twitter posts a day, but keep LinkedIn and Instagram to once a day or every other day. Additionally important is having a healthy balance between promotional and non-promotional content. It’s okay to share awards and recognition you receive with your followers; just make sure self-promotion doesn’t make up more than 30% of your posts.
Look to Influencers for Inspiration
If you don’t consider yourself a social media guru, don’t be discouraged – there are plenty of savvy individuals out there who can help you grow your brand. Social media today is teeming with influencers in many industries, including the legal field. You can look to these experts to get an idea of best practices for becoming a thought leader and partner with them to share content and industry connections.
Know What To Do In A Crisis
After all the hard work your firm puts into building a positive brand image, the last thing you want to face is a social media crisis that will tarnish your firm’s reputation. Especially as a law firm looking to be viewed as trustworthy and professional by clients and prospects, it is important to try to prevent crises from happening, and to have an action plan in place if they do. Having a detailed social media policy outlining what is and isn’t safe to post will help to head off a crisis. If a crisis does happen, make sure your firm has a plan of how and what to respond, and how to avoid the issue going forward.
How you represent yourself online is of utmost importance whether you are a solo practitioner or an attorney at a big firm. A well-established personal brand will not only increase your visibility as a lawyer but also help define your purpose and values as a person.