If you’re skeptical about using social media, that’s perfectly fine.
As I often say, lawyers can often do more damage by embracing new technology than by ignoring it.
This admonition would probably send most legal-technology cult members into a frenzy of harrumphing.
But it’s sensible advice, right?
And your gut instincts confirm this…
Social media should be used cautiously.
Yes, social media may be helpful if you use it strategically…
But most lawyers wind up wasting time rather than gaining any marketing benefits.
And some lawyers wind up involved in serious, career-ending ethics trouble.
Use social media sensibly
If you understand strategic referral marketing, then you may (if it makes sense) incorporate social media into your strategies.
Okay, hang on…
Let’s make sure we are in sync about what “strategic referral marketing” is.
Basically, referral marketing is the MOST powerful way to get new clients because it works off existing trust.
That is, there are people out there that know, like and trust you. So when someone asks them, “hey do you know a good lawyer who…” they offer up your name.
Letting that process happen by happenstance is NOT strategic.
Orchestrating it by using the 3 R’s is strategic. So what are the 3 R’s?
The 3 R’s of Referral Marketing are:
- Remind people that you exist, what you do exactly, and that you care about helping people (i.e. that you’re empathetic)
- Regularly remind them (i.e. at least once per month, NOT just around New Years when everyone is sending holiday cards etc.)
- Reasonably remind them. Be low-key, and down-to-earth. Don’t be awkward by making it seem that you’re more interested in trying to get business than to be helpful.
If you already have an existing strategy for reminding people at least once per month (i.e. you send out a monthly email newsletter or a print newsletter) then you can increase the frequency of the “reminders” by using social media.
If you really want to use social media as a marketing tool, then come up with a well-thought-out plan for posting on a set schedule. And plan on posting a mix of non-promotional & promotional information on a 20 to 1 ratio. That is, for every 20 non-promotional posts, you can do 1 promotional post.
Which Social Media Platform?
When considering which social media platform to use here are the two key factors to consider:
- Which platform are you already using and at least pretty familiar with?
- Where are your best prospects likely to be spending more of their time?
If you are using Facebook then that’s a good place to start. Because you’re familiar with it, and lots of people are on that platform.
Twitter isn’t as useful as it used to be, so don’t go out of your way to use Twitter.
LinkedIn makes sense for most lawyers because it’s designed for business professionals. A good strategy for using LinkedIn is to join groups that are focused on discussions that you can chime in on with “helpful lawyer tips.” Spend time researching and evaluating different groups before committing to one.
And don’t spread yourself thin and join more than one group at first.
Learn the process of being the “cheerful, helpful lawyer” in one group first. You’ll have to invest a fair amount of time posting to the group (even if it’s an ideal group with great prospects) before you see results.
Referral Marketing requires a steady commitment of time, and it requires patience.
Referral marketing is not an “overnight success” strategy. It takes time to build relationships of trust, and then time for the referral opportunities to manifest. But if you’re “top of mind” when the opportunity manifests then you’ll have the best chance of getting the referral.
A Final Important Point
Look, I obviously like technology and think it can help lawyers tremendously.
But it always has to be used sensibly and strategically.
Too much of the bad or misleading advice I see about technology comes from well-meaning folks who also happen to be wildly enthusiastic about most new tech developments.
I say beware of taking advice from those folks.
Just because they have good intentions doesn’t mean they won’t lead you astray (e.g. this advice on Twitter is a good example).
The Bottom Line…
Too many lawyers struggle to get a “cash flow friendly” stream of high-quality clients. The problem is they don’t know the vital elements of effective marketing.
Most solo & small firm lawyers have vague assumptions about how marketing works. This ignorance creates insidious dangers.
For example, when lawyers become too desperate for clients they tend to trust those they shouldn’t trust. People such as greedy consultants, or well-intentioned-but-clueless amateurs (i.e. “marketing morons“).
If you’ve been given bad marketing advice, or if you feel less than 100% certain how to market your practice effectively do NOT spend any more money on websites, consultants or advertisements.