This week in Things I Wish I Knew… Joleena Louis gives some innovative tips to solo attorneys on how to use social media to enhance their practice.
Before I started my solo practice, a lot of colleagues stressed the importance of social media as a means of marketing directly to potential clients. Logically, it made sense to me. I mean, if you cultivate an Internet presence, you have a better chance of getting in front of your target client base.
All this time I have been using social media incorrectly…
Thus far, I have not gotten a single client from Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Then, I realized that I had been using social media in an incorrect way. I believe many newly minted solo attorneys may be making the same assumptions and mistakes regarding social media that I did.
I have learned that for my practice, social media marketing is best used to meet other lawyers and potential referral sources, rather than to get a client directly. Regular use of social media has benefited my business in other ways, including giving information to potential clients, and meeting other professionals and staying up to date on the latest legal news. I also think it’s a way for potential clients to see what you are all about when they are deciding to retain you.
In today’s technology driven world, I believe you are doing your business a great disservice if you ignore social media all together. Clients expect some sort of online presence and social media is the easiest, cheapest and most interactive way to achieve that. I am a very active social media user in my personal life and I have found many effective and not so effective ways to use social media for my business.
My tips for using social media in solo practice:
1. Update Regularly
There is nothing worse than seeing a business’s Facebook page that hasn’t had a status update in several months. Clients won’t come back to your page and may even question if your business is outdated in other areas as well. You don’t have to update daily, but at least monthly.
2. Don’t have more social media sites than you can effectively handle.
As a solo, it is likely that you manage your social media on your own and won’t have time to participate in every social medial forum available. Just pick a few that you are comfortable with and will reach your target audience. If that endeavor succeeds, you can always add more.
3. Don’t reinvent the wheel.
You can share the same information on several social media formats at once. I learned this the hard way, after painstakingly re-entering the same information into each social media portal. The end result – one lost billable hour. I use Hootsuite to share my blog post links to Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.
4. Provide Useful Information
I don’t use social media to advertise, I use it to inform.
For example, I am very active on Instagram where I share inspirational quotes and messages related to family law. I have hundreds of followers and have even gotten a few phone calls regarding my services from this.
I use my personal blog to give information about family law issues and I send my clients links to post that may be relevant to them. I use Twitter and Facebook to give some quick general family law tips that people may find useful.
Not every post has to be a shill for business. It might turn people off, kind of like the store clerk in Banana Republic who follows you around…
5. Interact Both On and Off-line
It’s called Social Media because you are supposed to be social. I’ve had lunch with several attorneys that I “met” on Linkedin by commenting on their post and articles. These individuals turned out to be trusted resources I could call if I had a question or just wanted to pick their brain.
6. Keep it professional.
Your social media accounts are a reflection of your business. As a solo you are the business so you may share some personal tidbits at times but remember it is NOT your personal site so be careful about what you post. And NEVER give any legal advice online.
7. Don’t buy followers.
Apparently there are companies you can pay to get Twitter, Facebook or Instagram follows. Sure it looks great that you have 10,999 people following you but those people are not real people, so they won’t be interacting on your page or telling their friends about you. It’s a waste of money and it makes you look bad when it’s obvious the followers were bought.
8. Encourage your clients and followers to share your content.
That’s the point of doing it right?
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Joleena Louis is a matrimonial and family law attorney at Joleena Louis Law, a ﬁrm she founded after leaving a boutique matrimonial ﬁrm in Brooklyn. Joleena is a client in Law Firm Suites’ start-up program in Downtown, New York. Her weekly blog series Things I Wish I Knew… explores her thought process and experiences in her transition from small law ﬁrm employee to successful solo practice entrepreneur.