Social media is both the most exciting development since the launching of the Internet and for some, the most daunting.
Although most Law Firms have a Facebook page, a LinkedIn account, perhaps a Twitter handle, and maybe G+ circles, using these and other social media still tends to confound.
No worries. At Oakes Writing, we can both develop excellent pages for your Law Firm in numerous social media platforms and maintain these for you as well. We can manage your existing social media accounts or create new ones. And we can do one or several–it all depends on what you want.
However, we recommend not overdoing it if you plan on managing your social media accounts in-house (which we strongly recommend you do–more on this in a moment).
First, consider the 10 most common mistakes Law Firm website owners make regarding social media.
Before we discuss the following 10 most common mistakes we at Oakes Writing see Law Firms make with social media, consider an analogy. Think of social media as a party. Better still, think of each type of social media as a different party. Tonight you may attend a fund-raiser for local charity, tomorrow a gathering of old college buddies, and a day later a business party with contemporaries.
How do you behave at each? Different, yes? Why?
Each must be approached differently, though there are similarities, which brings us finally to the 10 most common mistakes Law Firm website owners make when using social media:
- Build it and Leave it – As with a website, we cannot simply open a social media account, perhaps create a flashy page, then leave. That would be like showing up to a party then making a quick exit. People will talk and it is not likely to be good.
- Too much shop talk – Like a party, some business is fine, but don’t overdo it. Often, all anyone needs to know is that you are an attorney. Leave it at that and enjoy the party. Those who need you will seek you out. Some social media is just like that. Some, not all. As with a party, it depends on the setting. For instance, LinkedIn is social media for professionals so shop talk is expected whereas Facebook is more about reconnecting with old friends, so shop talk is minimized.
- Not enough shop talk – But don’t let that stop you from initiating professional conversations if there is a clear need. Tell your friend from high school you can help with his divorce or accident or bankruptcy. But like you wouldn’t follow him around at a party, don’t bug him on social media. Plant the seed and let it grow.
- Spread too thin – Don’t plan too many parties at once. Don’t bite off more than you can…you get the idea. One or two well-maintained accounts are better than several which never hear from your Law Firm.
- Over-Automation – Be aware of what any automation does and how frequently it does it. Don’t let a machine overrun your social media account and annoy prospective clients because it can.
- Ignoring comments – If someone comments on a post or anything in social media, respond. Failing to do so is like having someone wave at a party only to be ignored or walking away when they are saying something. It is rude and will backfire.
- Lack of natural human interaction – And when a friend has a baby, or bar mitzpah, wedding, funeral, or whatever, comment, send congratulations, condolences, or anything else you would do if they were physically present presenting the news.
- Lack of community understanding – Every party setting has its own understood set of social mores, rules. So at each function, everything from the clothes worn to the demeanor in which we conduct ourselves differs. Social media is the same, be it Facebook or Pinterest.
- Lack of metrics/measurements – Find a way to measure success with social media and the information you post.
- Inconsistency with brand
Social Media is About Building a Brand
As a lawyer, you ARE your brand. The Law Firm you build is part of your brand. The reputation you gain is part of your brand. In fact, everything from the clothes you wear to the car you drive is part of your brand. Either you are seen as successful, a winner, or something else.
In thinking of Lawyer brands, one of the best examples is perhaps Clarence Darrow. Darrow made it a habit to enter a courtroom frumpy and appearing ill-prepared. Those who knew him knew this was a ruse–he used the tactic to throw off his opponents. It worked for many years to the extent that once enough attorney’s knew the tactic they feared his skills. In other words, he used the tactic to build his brand and once the brand was solid, he could beat his opponents over the head with it.
The point is this: We all tend to be someone different online and especially on social media than we are in daily life. A lawyer building a brand cannot afford this luxury. Stay consistent with your brand especially on social media. Doing otherwise will damage your brand, your website, and your practice.
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Oakes Writing is a content marketing firm located in Lubbock, Texas, USA. Since 2009, Oakes Writing has been creating content for the Internet. Prior to that, Oakes Writing developed ghost-written books for clients nationwide. Most of these were created for traditional print media, but with the rise of eBooks, this focus shifted to include shorter books for email marketing, extensive books for impressing clients, technical manuals, and books for any other purpose required by clients.
From 2010 to 2015, Oakes Writing developed web content for any kind of website, mostly business and real estate. However, starting in 2016, our founder C J Oakes took his passion and training in law to Law Firms. Noticing a trend, he recognized that a need existed to help Law Firms improve and grow their websites. Combining his skill in writing with his formal training in law and criminal justice, he decided to take Oakes Writing in a new direction…helping Law Firms exclusively.