Small law firms operating in competitive local, regional and international markets can gain an advantage should they adopt and properly manage 3 key social media channels.

As Daniel Decker explained last year in Law Technology Today (LTT), a publication of the American Bar Association, “at this point, most lawyers have accepted that they need to have some type of presence on social media.”  He further explains that when it comes to social media however, many lawyers might ask – where to begin?

Decker explains 4 ways how social media helps small law firms:

  1. Helps you stay “top-of-mind with your clients and your network… a critical part of maximizing your referrals.”
  2. “Demonstrate[s] your expertise and your status as a thought-leader within your area of practice.”  Positioning yourself “as [an] expert in your practice area—over time…becomes a powerful marketing advantage”, he notes.
  3. Builds a consistent brand and “communicate[s] this focus [to] your target market…,mak[ing] it crystal clear who you work with and what type of work you do”.
  4. It helps “condition and pre-educate potential clients and referral sources”, making it easier for your prospective clients to know in advance what you do, how you might price your services, etc.  This can help you save valuable time in the mutual vetting between potential client and law firm.

Decker cautions that social media shouldn’t be overly used as a lead generation machine, where potential clients are being sold to (this should be left primarily to your outbound business development efforts).  Rather, social media use should be a means by which to educate, engage and attract some inbound inquiries from potential clients, and referrals from other law firms.

3 essential social media channels for small law firms:

Twitter — Linda Cheung writes on cubesocial about a 2012 Legal Futures report which detailed that Twitter was becoming the key referral source for lawyers, with an exponential increase in people asking for recommendations on the social network.  Twitter should be seen as a vital medium for your small law firm to distribute news and information about your practices to referral sources, potential clients and legal media. It should be utilized at minimum Monday to Friday and integrate both visual images as well as hyperlinks to blogposts by you, as well as news and information about your local market.  Law firm management consultant and former BigLaw Partner Betsy Munnell is a strong advocate for the use of Twitter by lawyers. She recently explained the importance of Twitter for lawyers:  “Like you, I’m busy. And, like you, I need to stand out from others who do what I do to build my business. I do that in part by gathering and gifting superior information and analysis of interest to my clients and colleagues—and I find much of it on Twitter.”  See her post for more valuable information about the importance of Twitter for lawyers.

Facebook page — As Stephan Futeral details in Just Legal, “Facebook is undoubtedly the largest social media network in the world”.  He explains that “if you aren’t advertising on Facebook, you are missing out on the potential to create “brand” awareness of your firm and to target specific types of cases and clients.  Futeral explains why firms should consider utilizing Facebook advertisements, in addition to traditional organic (ie non-paid) methods of generating an audience. Facebook is also an ideal medium for distributing more photographs and videos of firm events and briefings.

LinkedIn page —  Randy Duermyer details on the balance that “there are over 65 million business professionals from around the world on LinkedIn.” And Bonnie Power explains how a compelling LinkedIn page can help your law firm promote its’ unique practice areas.  Thought leadership or local market news can be regularly posted on your LinkedIn page, and those looking to find a law firm in your locale will be able to find you more easily through what is the world’s most important business networking website.

These social media channels are essential for small law firm marketing efforts

Small law firms can get much more detailed about adopting social media than I’ve outlined above.  For example, having individual attorneys within the firm adopt their own social profiles for business networking purposes, and much more. Publishing articles is also very important. I’ve detailed more here about the importance of thought leadership for law firms. But if you’re operating a small law firm and don’t want to miss out on referrals, you should consider the adoption and proper use of these 3 social media channels essential to your marketing efforts.

If you’d like to discuss how content marketing and social media can help your law firm, please see our services page for more information.

Posted by John Grimley

John Grimley edits and publishes Asia Law Portal. An independent writer & editor, he's the author of: A Comprehensive Guide to the Asia-Pacific Legal Markets (Ark Group 2014).

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