MTVA Spotlight

Social Media Rules for Lawyers

January 18, 2023

Social media can be a powerful marketing tool for lawyers. In fact, Constant Contact estimates that 80 percent of lawyers have already started using social media in their marketing efforts. But how do you make sure your social media marketing is working effectively and complying with your professional conduct obligations?

There are a few dos and don’ts you’ll want to abide by when it comes to social media for lawyers. Read on to learn more about social media marketing and how to manage your platforms the smart way.

Importance of Social Media Marketing

Before we dive into the dos and don’ts of using social media, let’s talk some about why social media marketing is important for lawyers.

As of 2021, almost 70 percent of U.S. adults used Facebook, and another 40 percent used Instagram. You’re going to be hard-pressed to find other platforms with such a massive percentage of your potential client pool.

Social media marketing is a simple, affordable way to grow your audience and engage with current and future clients. It can also help your legal SEO efforts by directing users to your website, improving your content reach, and boost your local searches.

What Are the Best Platforms for Lawyers?

Not all social media platforms are created equal, and some are better than others for marketing a law firm.

The best social media platforms for lawyers are:

  • Facebook. As noted above, almost three-fourths of U.S. adults use Facebook. Moreover, studies suggest that over 35% of Facebook users “regularly” use the platform to access news. This makes Facebook the cream of the crop for law firm social media marketing. By posting your articles and content to Facebook, you can engage with your followers and draw in users looking for newsworthy content on the platform.
  • Instagram.Instagram is an excellent tool for engaging a younger audience and demographic. Perhaps that’s why 25% of lawyers use Instagram. Unlike Facebook, Instagram is a video and image-based platform. Therefore, it gives you the opportunity to create visual content that educates your users and promotes your brand — which can increase your reach among potential clients who prefer videos and images to learn about the law rather than dense text.
  • LinkedIn. Studies show that 76 percent of law firms use LinkedIn. The platform is a hub for major brands and companies, making it a fantastic spot to build a professional reputation and connect with potential clients. Moreover, LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to create and maintain a professional network — which could help you get referrals.
  • Twitter. Twitter is a great platform for quick and easy communication with colleagues and potential clients. Here, you can share your website content, post professional insights, and promote your brand all in 280 characters. You can also respond and engage with users who reply to your posts or other posts on the platform.

The best social media strategy will utilize a combination of these platforms — preferably all four.

Social Media Best Practices

When you’re planning your social media campaigns, there are a few best practices you’ll want to follow. These will help you to get better engagement from your followers and to ensure you’re getting the most out of these platforms.

Do Set Goals

It’s important to set goals for your social media marketing campaigns. This can include everything from hitting specific follower counts or engagement rates to growing site traffic from a particular platform by x percent. Make sure these goals align with your overall KPIs, and consider using the SMART structure to create effective targets.

Do Tailor Your Language

When you’re creating content for each of these social media platforms, you want to be sure to tailor your language to fit each space.

For instance, content on Twitter needs to be casual and brief - less than 280 characters (although this could change). Instagram and Facebook captions can be a little longer, and LinkedIn is suited for longer-form content written in a more formal tone.

Do Schedule Posts

One of the keys to a successful social media campaign is posting on a regular basis, but that can get challenging on busier days. Scheduling posts can help you to keep that consistent posting schedule even when other demands arise.

You can also take advantage of peak posting times so you can drive more traffic on your page.

Do Use Analytics

As you’re developing your social media strategy, you want to make sure you’re adjusting based on the feedback you receive.

For example, if you notice a significant increase in engagement when you post about recent personal injury settlement cases, you might want to post more content like that. Use the analytics each social media platform provides to tailor your strategy around your most successful content.

Common Social Media Mistakes

Of course, there are also several common mistakes lawyers tend to make on social media. Keep an eye out for these pitfalls as you grow your social media presence.

Don’t Post from Your Personal Account

If you have personal social media accounts, keeping those profiles separate from your professional profiles can get confusing. Posting content meant for your professional account to your personal page can confuse your followers and hurt your credibility. Always double-check that you’re on the right profile before publishing a post.

Don’t Ignore User Engagement

One of your primary goals with your social media should be to get followers to engage with your content. When that happens, you don’t want to sit idly by and ignore it.

Always respond to user engagement - reply to comments, respond to direct messages, and like and comment on posts that your followers share to their own pages.

Don’t Respond Negatively

The ugly truth is that if you’re on social media, you’re opening yourself up to negative engagement from trolls or disgruntled followers. As tempting as it may be, don’t respond negatively to rude comments. If they’re inappropriate (vulgar, pointlessly profane, etc.), delete them, and in other cases, respond with a neutral tone and offer to discuss the matter further with the person in a private message.

Don’t Prioritize Promotion Over Content

A social media campaign aims to promote your business, so naturally, you’ll post a lot of promotional content. But you want to make sure this isn’t all you post - otherwise, your audience will lose interest. Instead, mix promotional content in with content that provides genuine value to your followers without pushing a specific agenda.

A Note About Professional Conduct

Lawyers need to consider a few extra guidelines when it comes to professional conduct on social media. There are certain professional ethics rules lawyers are required to follow when posting on any form of media, including social media platforms.

The American Bar Association lays out some Model Rules of Professional Conduct you’ll need to follow.

  1. Never post confidential case information or communications on social media.
  2. Do not post about clients without their permission.
  3. Follow the ABA’s rules for solicitation of clients.
  4. Do not post misleading content, including advertisements that exaggerate your accomplishments or that stretch the truth about the cost or nature of your services.
  5. Never use the words “best” or “cheapest” when talking about your (or any other) law firm on social media.
  6. Only present yourself as an expert in a particular field if you have an official certification from an appropriate state or professional authority.
  7. Do not ask anyone else to do your dirty work - that is, convince someone else to post things that you can’t say yourself.
  8. Do not pay or otherwise compensate social media users for recommending your services.

Most jurisdictions have adopted some form of these rules. Be sure to check your state’s ethics rules to see if you are subject to additional restrictions.

LawRank Can Help You Manage Your Social Media and Grow Your Presence Online

Social media can be a powerful tool for growing your audience and improving your SEO rankings. However, doing all that’s necessary to have thriving social media platforms may seem overwhelming. Fortunately, a legal SEO company can help you manage all aspects of your social media marketing.

LawRank has a demonstrated track record of helping law firms elevate their social media presence and rank for competitive keyword terms on the first pages of search engines. Contact us for information about social media, SEO for lawyers, and how to achieve your marketing goals.

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