This week in Young, Hungry and Committed, virtual office NYC attorney Vivian Sobers talks about developing a social media strategy for solo law firms.
Like many of you, I find myself in a marketing state of mind. It all goes back to that omnipresent question that keeps solo and small firm attorneys up at night: How do I get more clients?
After writing a blog post about the importance of posting blogs (I just read that clause out loud and realized how ridiculous it might sound), I started to think about my larger social media marketing strategy. Truthfully, I was realizing that my strategy might be a little one dimensional.
Yes, I am writing a blog. Yes, I have a Facebook law firm page. Many of you have blogs, Many of you have Facebook law firm pages. So, what differentiates one lawyer from the other? How are clients going to find me over, say, a huge law firm that has a $10,000 a month social media budget?
As solos, we need a cohesive social media marketing strategy that conveys clear, direct message. I didn’t realize this until I read an article by legal marketing expert, Stephen Fairley, 9 Steps to Develop a Social Media Strategy for Your Law Firm. While the article is relatively sparse, it forced me to actually think about how I am going create, craft and promote a message to my target clients. Even better, it made me analyze who my target clients truly are.
I think the article is extremely valuable to any solo or small firm attorney, and I wanted to share with you some of my social media strategies for the upcoming year inspired by Stephen Fairley.
Market. Define your market and then research their habits, needs and social media activities.
I’ve been concentrating more on the business sector of potential clients. For me, I believe judgment enforcement is a limitless market, specifically for freelancers and small businesses. Unfortunately, many small businesses do not understand the intrinsic value of a lawyer and choose an online legal form service for their needs instead. As lawyers, we cannot compete with such inexpensive services. Since these forms are “one-size fits all”, problems inevitably arise.
I have found these types of clients only search for legal related topics when they are already in trouble. In response to this trend, I’ve been going through the process of changing my website to anticipate such searches. I haven’t completed it as of yet, but I want to put a tab with resources for small business with a FAQ section that anticipates their needs. I also want to add a tab with recent decisions of interest to my target clients. Therefore, my website becomes a valuable educational resource for clients as opposed to an Internet destination they only arrive at when they are quagmired in legal issues.
Media. Decide which social networks are best for attracting followers and readers who are in your target market.
For me, avvo.com is a great resource. As I mentioned above, I have identified that my target clients only feel the need to retain a lawyer when they are confronted with an imposing legal issue. Avvo provides a way for me to connect directly with my target client by answering the question they have, at the time they need it. Also, I installed the Avvo widget on my website, so it displays the all of my previous answers on a loop. This helps with SEO.
I also just created a Yelp.com campaign. You may think Yelp only has restaurant and dry-cleaner reviews. Trust me, I thought this as well. This all changed after speaking to a matrimonial attorney at one of the Law Firm Suites virtual office community meetings. The meeting was focused on marketing and she volunteered that she had seen a large influx of clients as a result of advertising on Yelp. I thought this was crazy!
Then it made sense. Yelp is a business to consumer website. Businesses are going to create a yelp account anyways, so they are already enrolled and within the community. Consumers, like freelancers, use the site as well for personal use. I could target both types of clients in one Internet location. I will keep you updated on how the campaign goes, but, I think many solo attorneys can benefit from a targeted Yelp campaign.
Medium. Decide what kind of content will help you reach your target – blogs, videos, photos, etc.
I want to start doing videos some of the information for small business on my website. I believe you can convey a personality through videos and create a personal connection with potential clients.
I honestly do not know where to start. I have watched some videos and priced out equipment, but I am a lawyer, not an actor! Does anyone have suggestions on how to accomplish this? Any tips to get started?
Mix. Mix in your social media marketing with your current marketing efforts, adding links to your website, blog, e-newsletters, etc.
I am planing a monthly newsletter to round out my web-based marketing strategy. More specifically, implementing a newsletter focused at other attorneys rather than my target client base. Attorneys often meet clients that may be a great fit for my practice, but a poor fit for their practice. Sending out an email newsletter is a way to stay top-of-mind with my colleagues on a consistent basis. Also, it allows me to keep track of all the business cards I have collected over the last twelve months. I have them in the bottom of my purse, on my coffee table, everywhere. With a monthly newsletter, I can nurture the relationships I have made through the course of my practice and build upon them.
These are just four of the steps I am implementing in my social media strategy.I would you tell the rest, but then I’d have to kill you!
Really though. What strategies are you implementing for your practice this year?
I think we should start an idea exchange. We can work better by working together. Leave a comment at the end of this blog and let’s leverage our shared experiences!
Vivian Sobers is a commercial litigator pursuing a solo law practice right out of law school. She is a client in Law Firm Suites’ Virtual Office Program. Vivian’s weekly blog series “Young, Hungry and Committed” documents the trials and tribulations of a young attorney navigating her way through the challenging world of self-employed legal practice.