From Our Social Media Coordinator – 5 Things I Learned Doing Legal Social Media
For law firms looking to grow their clientele, the promise of social media marketing is compelling. To think that one could effortlessly post a video on Instagram or TikTok that attracts a steady stream of potential cases sounds too good to be true.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s because it is.
The truth is far more complex, as is the ongoing mystery of digital marketing. With years of experience in this particular field, I’d like to provide you with five essential tips that I’ve learned in the world of legal social media marketing.
1. Deliver Immediate Value:
In the era of TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts, viewers are flooded with content. To stand out, you must think from their perspective. Ask yourself, “would I watch my content to completion?” This requires brutal self-reflection and a discerning eye.
Consider the landscape: these applications, while capable of being powerful marketing tools, are not designed to inspire a meaningful connection between a business and a potential customer. Short-form content, which tends to dominate platforms like TikTok, trains the users to expect an intriguing “hook” to the video within the first few seconds of its runtime.
When I created social media pages for 1800DUILAWS.com, my first objective was to figure out how that website’s subject matter would translate into a series of ongoing videos that could provide value to the viewers. The solution was to create DUI checkpoint updates, which would inform drivers across the country of relevant checkpoint activity in their respective counties. This content formula has yielded, at the time of writing this article, millions of cumulative views, hundreds of thousands of engagements, and over 13,000 followers. The success of this page can be attributed exclusively to the fact that the content delivers immediate and consistent value to the viewer.
How do you compete in the face of these impossible expectations? The answer is to accept that you are not going to reach general audiences with your legal content, nor should you desire to. Your objective is to create content, which provides value to the viewer, by leveraging your expertise in your field. Be as concise as possible in delivering this value – remember, you only have a few seconds to capture the viewer’s attention.
2. Invest in the Right Tools:
Many digital marketing “professionals” who offer milquetoast advice for free on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, will often urge prospective content creators to simply create content, completely disregarding the quality of your equipment. While that’s an encouraging sentiment, the truth is that quality, or a lack of it, is immediately discernible by a viewer, and if that quality sits below the threshold of acceptability, then your digital marketing efforts will be in vain.
Typically, a smart phone has precisely what you need to meet a minimum of audio and visual fidelity that would be considered acceptable by your average viewer. However, to set yourself apart from other businesses competing for the limited mindshare of potential clients on social media, the place to invest is in quality audio equipment.
A substantial amount of content is consumed audibly and passively, meaning that there is a chance that your next client might hear your marketing material before they see it. Ensure that the sound they hear is of a quality that exceeds that of your competitors.
3. Rethink Trend Chasing:
While hopping onto the latest trends might seem tempting, it doesn’t guarantee engagement. Remember, for every viral video, hundreds of thousands of similar videos go unnoticed. Furthermore, a trendy video might not align with your brand’s message, leading to confusion among your potential audience.
Dances, for example, tend to dominate the ever-changing trends on social media. Ignore them; you might see short-term gains by mimicking the trends that are dominating the platform, but you are not going to build a meaningful connection with your audience by providing them with insubstantial content.
When I began creating content for one of our pages years ago, my first instinct was to find popular sounds and trends to mimic in order to capitalize on those waves of popularity. I found very quickly that the potential for short-term viewership gains did not translate into meaningful engagement on our page. Eventually, I stopped chasing those trends altogether and focused completely on creating content that is both relevant to the business and to the interested viewer. Since then, we’ve seen more viewership and growth than ever before.
Value is everything on social media, particularly for a business. A frivolous video might discourage a passing viewer from engaging with your firm directly since practicing law is not a frivolous activity.
4. Prioritize Consistency and Quality:
While social media algorithms are unpredictable, your content’s quality and posting schedule shouldn’t be. Experiment with post-timings, but once you find your sweet spot, stick to it. Regular posting can help your audience know when to expect content from you, boosting engagement.
Consider how content has been consumed throughout the twentieth century, long before social media existed. Television shows broadcasted on specific days and at specific hours, which created a sense of dependability for the viewer. Any irregularities in that broadcasting schedule would be highly disruptive to a viewer.
The same rule applies to social media in the twenty-first century. By creating a standard of quality and a consistent output schedule, dependability will be established between your viewers and your brand.
5. Embrace Failure:
Success on social media, particularly on video content platforms, is compounding. The more you succeed, the more successful you become. Beginning that cycle of success is a tall order, however, let alone maintaining that success in the long term.
Thus, you will fail. You will pour hours of work into a piece of content that seems like a surefire hit, only for that video to garner little viewership and even less direct engagement.
In those moments, you must carefully examine your analytics. What is your average watch time? What keywords did your most successful post feature? What is the video length that seemed to inspire the most complete viewership? Which subject matter inspired the most comments and shares?
As an example, there was a time when our 1800DUILAWS.com pages were floundering. I began to examine some of the highest-performing videos and realized that those videos almost never included the counties of the checkpoints in the hashtags, rather they only included the states. The videos that underperformed, however, did include the counties. I adjusted all future uploads and noticed an immediate increase in performance. While this hasn’t been a consistent solution, as these platforms are dynamic and always changing, that adjustment yielded visible improvements in overall viewership and engagement.
Deciphering your analytics and deriving useful insights from them is a skill in and of itself, but it’s a skill worth honing. The difference between successful and unsuccessful digital marketers is the inability to turn failure into a lesson. Low-performance content is a guarantee, but learning is not.
Putting it All Together
Remember, social media is a blend of art and strategy. While you can’t control everything, focusing on what you can will pave the way for success. Prioritize value as the quality of your brand that sets you apart from the competition. Ensure that your standard of quality and your upload schedule are both unwavering. Avoid chasing short-term success by following trends that might alienate your potential clientele. Most importantly, learn to use failure as an opportunity to refine your understanding of the ongoing mystery that is digital marketing.