Why Social Media Is Critical for Your Client Acquisition Strategy
Social media has proven itself to be quite effective in helping firms shape their brand’s reputation. That’s why today, a well-designed, SEO-considerate website should be complemented by a purposeful social media presence. It’s important to reach out to clients in ways that people do nowadays – through social media channels.
Law firms are using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram more than ever before and if you want your prospective clients to know about your services and expertise, you will want to include social media as a part of your client acquisition strategy.
Changes in Consumer Behavior
Social media has empowered the modern consumer to make better, informed decisions. Based on the 2015 Consumer Purchase Preference Survey conducted by Marketing Sherpa, “…85% of U.S. consumers use social media.” It plays a great role in connecting companies with their target audience.
Legal services are no exception. In Google’s Legal Services Study done in 2013, they found “…74% of consumers visit a law firm’s website to take action.” Excellent positioning on the first or second page of Google SERPs (search engine results pages) will drive visitors to your site. Social media, however, is where you shape their opinion. Your social media activity is where you have the opportunity to demonstrate your genuine interest in being a trustworthy advocate who engages and informs your clientele.
If you're out there creating useful content and interacting on social media, your prospective clients will find you. A 2016 survey from FindLaw confirms this, citing “…69% of consumers between the ages of 18 and 44 would hire attorneys who are active on social media.”
Return on Your Investment
An effective social media presence does require some investment. Fortunately, we now know it’s worth it. Legal communications specialist Byfield Consultancy reported that half of the 101 major law firms they surveyed in 2013 “…have won business as a direct result of social media engagement.” While using social media, 61 of these law firms spent less than 5% of their marketing budget.
If you’re still thinking about whether you need to maintain a social media presence, know that your competitors have decided social media is a valuable part of their client acquisition and retention strategies. According to the 2016 ABA Legal Technology Report, 76% of law firms are currently active online: 71% are using online interactions for networking and 48% use it for client development. Regarding popularity in social platform preferences, the report found that 57% of U.S. law firms are on LinkedIn, 35% are focusing their efforts on Facebook and 35% use Twitter for connecting with potential clients.
To prove that social networking really works, 24% of these law firms have reported a positive impact on acquisitions and referrals.
Successfully Navigating Social Media in a Regulated Industry
When putting together your social media strategy, attorneys should be aware of and follow the rules of professional conduct set by the American Bar Association (ABA) as well as their state or local bar associations. Generally speaking, posts must be free of personal opinions, misleading statements, case outcome guarantees and confidential information. These restrictions, however, do not stand in the way your ability to listen, engage and connect with your intended audience. Shared articles that demonstrate your firm’s expertise, informational videos discussing common legal issues and replies to your readers’ questions and comments are well within acceptable guidelines and serve to verify that your firm is one your prospective clients can trust.
When developing and executing your social media strategy it is a good idea to:
Set goals and decide which social media platform(s) will help you reach those goals;
Set a firm policy about how you will engage prospects and have a process in place to stay on top of changing compliance requirements; and
Plan your content at least one month in advance to give your legal team an opportunity to review posts that involve original (firm produced) as well as agile content that can be used to capitalize on current events.
Social media is a powerful branding and marketing tool that when used properly can help you acquire and retain customers for just pennies on the dollar.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.