Social media for lawyers

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Social media and networking services

Snapchat – the number of active daily users has grown from 5 million in December 2013 to 100 million by the end of 2016. Although this used to have a reputation as a rather ‘gimmicky’ app, mainly used by young people to exchange insalubrious selfies, its potential reach for businesses – particularly those targeting younger generations – cannot be denied. Law firms trying to shake off a traditional image and appeal to potential trainees at universities may find Snapchat to be the ideal recruiting sergeant.

Ello – perhaps an example of peak social media peak, this potential “Facebook killer” gained a lot of attention for a while but quickly people lost interest. It describes itself as “an alternative to mainstream networks that manipulate what we see and try to control what we think”.

Facebook – once the domain of university students, Facebook is now used by some 30 million people in the UK. Ensuring that your law firm or chambers appears on Facebook will allow you to connect with around half of the population of the UK.

LinkedIn – this is a professional-oriented social network, so if your client base consists largely of business professionals your law firm should make sure it can be found here. You can create a business page, but would be well advised to get your staff members to also register accounts so they can be found on the web in a professional capacity.

Pinterest – this has made waves in the social media community, bringing a visual-centric approach to information sharing. Whilst this may not obviously lend itself to a communication technique for law firms, the growing popularity in infographics is potentially a very useful method of explaining complex ideas through a visual medium.

Instagram – a picture-based social media platform which was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion due to astounding growth. It would be appreciated by clients in the media and entertainment industries – and again could be an effective law graduate recruitment tool.

Tumblr – one of the most popular social media sites, it’s geared more towards a design-oriented and youth audience. It may only appeal to selective clients but could potentially be pretty useful for attracting bright new talent.

Twitter – law firms and chambers can use Twitter to give quick-fire updates about legal developments as well as any firm or chambers-specific news. The 140 character limit is a factor to bear in mind when composing tweets!

YouTube – although the idea of making a video and posting it online can seem a little daunting, it can help to connect with your clients in a more engaging way compared to purely written forms of social media. It can also assist with breaking down initial barriers with hesitant prospective clients; a good presentation can make a good first impression, instilling a sense of trust and confidence.

Google + – the fact that Google + is owned by the search engine behemoth means that giving your law firm a presence can boost your ranking in web searches.

Blogging services

Blogger – a law firm blog can be effectively used as a platform for discussing general legal news and how it may affect your clients or potential clients. Let’s say a new employment law comes into force, a law firm can use their blog as a vehicle to discuss the new legislation in a journalistic way and, by providing a subtle link to their main website, drive visitors to their site. Blogger is user-friendly and free blogging software. It is owned by Google and therefore perhaps more likely to picked up quickly by the search engine behemoth.

Ghost – a relative new-comer, this is a minimalist blogging platform using open-source software. It was Kickstarter backed and founded by John O’Nolan, the former deputy lead for the WordPress User Interface team, who has openly stated that he would turn down a $1bn offer from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

WordPress – another excellent and free piece of blogging software. WordPress is a little more sophisticated than Blogger and is more versatile, but the learning curve is slightly steeper. However, if you are going to be making substantial use of your blog, the extra effort is worth it in the long run!

Social media management tools

Buffer – this social media management platform allows you to run all your social media accounts from one place. It also includes built-in analytics tools.

Hootsuite – with the plethora of social media tools at your disposal, you may find that logging into multiple accounts to make various updates and changes can prove to be rather time-consuming. Hootsuite has been designed to surmount the problem of managing multiple social media accounts. You just log into one central online interface, from where you can control all your different types of social networking feeds.

Oktopost – use it to manage and measure all of your social media marketing from a single platform. It helps you with large scale distribution to social media, across all of your profiles, groups and company pages. Oktopost is specifically geared towards B2B marketing – so you can “measure the true business value of your social media marketing.”

Sprout Social – allows you to manage your social media accounts from one location. You can use it to post and schedule updates to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. It also contains analytics features and enables you to discover what people on social media are saying about your brand through keyword monitoring.

Tweetdeck – is designed to manage Twitter feeds. It even allows you to schedule updates so you don’t need to log in every time you want to make a change – just plan the next few weeks’ worth of changes in one go!

Social media management and training for law firms

Berners Marketing works with law firms to develop their social media by helping to set policy and develop a strategy, branding and set up of social media accounts, and by providing a steady flow of legal content for social media. This is often provided as part of our overall strategic approach to content management for law firms.

Rose McGrory – many companies have sprung up over recent years which offer social media training services for professionals. Rose McGrory offers in-house bespoke courses to help businesses take advantage of social media.

Analysing social media

Google Analytics – if you don’t already use this powerful free tool for monitoring your website, now may be the time to consider implementing it. You can use this user friendly software from the search engine giant to view all types of statistics regarding your online presence, including the number of visitors, the most popular web pages on your site and – for the purposes of social media – how many people arrived at your website via your blog, Facebook profile, Twitter etc. Google Analytics essentially provides a way of measuring the success of your social media activities.

Lucky Orange – this tool focuses on the real-time aspect of web analytics. It allows you to see how your visitors are engaging with your online presence whilst they are still on your website and even enables you to interact with them using a live chat feature. Heatmaps and online polls are amongst its other offerings.

Spredfast – this piece of software allows you to create reports for certain social media metrics and then manage your campaigns across different platforms. It enables an organisation to “manage, monitor, and measure its voice across multiple social media channels.”

The information on this page was contributed by Alex Heshmaty, a legal copywriter and journalist with a particular interest in legal technology. He runs Legal Words, a copywriting agency in Bristol. Email Twitter @alexheshmaty.