I have had the pleasure of meeting SO many people through social media. My partner…
People do business with people that they like, know and trust.
Yet according to this study, only one in three people trust the legal profession. One in three.
Whether warranted or not, it’s safe to say that public perception of lawyers and the legal industry isn’t always particularly favourable – which doesn’t fare well when pitching for work. Being considered the best of a bad lot isn’t a great way to win business.
So where does that leave us when it comes to social media and the law?
With people pegging lawyers as boring, untrustworthy and behind the times (as an ex-lawyer, these are generalisations ‘I object’ to!), is it worth lawyers trying to make a splash on social?
Photo credit: Breeana Dunbar Photographer
Um. HELL YES.
Because here’s the thing.
The fact that law and lawyers fall into the ‘boring’ category means that they’re in a DAMN good position to really stand out online simply because others haven’t even bothered to try!
While sexier businesses, like fashion stores, find themselves jumping into a noisy, overcrowded social media environment, lawyers starting out online get to stand out simply because there aren’t too many businesses who have worked out how to do it well (or at all)!
You could say that the silence in social-media-for-lawyers-land is almost deafening – and for those who recognize it, that’s a huge opportunity.
One person who knows this better than most is Iolanthe Gabrie, Director of ‘Melbourne’s Best Social Media agency’ Ruby Slipper. Iolanthe has made a career out of managing social media for (sometimes) unsexy industries like law, finance and real estate.
She’s also spoken on digital strategy at the Law and Courts in an Online World Conference, so you could say that she knows her stuff when it comes to this, well, stuff.
We sat down to get her thoughts on all things social media for lawyers.
Lawyers, mediators and conveyancers who develop intelligent, consistent and attractive social media will enjoy a distinct advantage of their peers immediately and in years to come.
A naturally conservative industry, the legal community are (broadly speaking) aware of all the risks of a social media project, but none of the benefits.
Those who do use social media are mostly confined to creating blog content which lives unseen and unpromoted on corporate websites of dubious interactivity, writing articles for their own community rather than their potential clientele.
Being an ‘early adopter’ of social media strategy in the legal category means your business will stand out like the proverbial: an investment in educating and entertaining your audience will enjoy an immediate payoff in your community, as none of your competitors are likely to be engaging in the social space.
I observe that Australia’s legal community is self-censoring, concerned about being identified by their peers as gaudy or brash.
Those businesses and individuals who can move past their peers’ approbation are well placed to dominate their markets.
Related article: Six Social Media Tips for Service Based Businesses.
We use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn extensively for the organisations we represent.
Each channel has its unique benefits and capacities for interaction with differing audiences: don’t discount a particular platform because you can’t see its immediate benefit to your business or audience.
And forget the idea that social media is just for young ‘uns – 70% of Australia use Facebook.
We recommend a healthy mix of original artwork – that looks human and relatable rather than lawyer-ish – and content that shows the personality and interests of your firm.
It’s critical that your brand is coherent and professional: that means clear branding used appropriately and engaging a photographer to document your team appropriately.
Forget iPhone photos or cheapo logos designed on Fiverrr: honor yourself and your clients by doing this job with intention.
Susan Hamilton-Green is a Melbourne-based family lawyer whose social media presence has taken over her networks in the best of ways. A passionate mediator, Susan has taken to using social media wholeheartedly with her business Creative Family Law Solutions.
Chris Forster of Bayside Family Law Solutions is Director of an innovative boutique firm, investing in social media to tell unique stories and educate their audience. Chris’ insightful blog is a mixture of professional commentary and personal opinion.
Bayside Family Law Solutions Facebook page.
Appropriate regular newsletter content and data-collection is a key element of both these organisations’ success in the social space.
1// Understand your brand. Do you know what you represent? If you’ve not done this branding work in some time – and you have the resources – take time with a branding expert to really dig down into the core of your offering and values. This is the foundation upon which your brand identity is built.
2// Invest in a logo that reflects your brand, and which is easily overlaid atop of images. Logos should not be overly busy or difficult to utilise. Engage a graphic designer to do this job properly, so you needn’t consider re-branding for years to come. Just like lawyer-ing, graphic design is a hard-won skill: pay appropriately.
3// Professional photography in a variety of environments of your team.Human in nature is good. Vertical headshot in white office lights is not.
4// Engage an expert social media agency to work with your team, curating accurate, lively content. Don’t make the newbie mistake of lumping this specialist job onto an administrator as if the roles are directly connected: they’re not. Your brand voice is a precious commodity, treat it accordingly.
5// Make sure to blog or newsletter regularly, and make that content meaningful. Your audience already know what you sell, now is the time for you to show them why you remain their only choice of lawyer.