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The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing for Law Firms


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In the early days of social media, few people considered the platforms a serious or reliable option for marketing. Gradually, businesses began to test the marketing waters, but the legal field seems to be the last one to commit to the plunge.

These days, it's clear that social media’s not going to go away anytime soon. Rather, it continues to evolve. That means that if you are not already promoting your law firm through social media, it's time to catch up. Even if you have an active campaign, you can’t get too comfortable with your current law firm social media strategies. To get the most return out of your investment of time, resources, and money, you need to be flexible and ready to try new approaches to respond to the market dynamics.

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How to Create Social Media Marketing Goals

Why is it worth the effort to market through social media? To answer this question best, it is helpful to understand a law firm's potential goals for a social media campaign. Your firm might focus on a single goal or reach for a handful. It can be helpful to create both short and long-term goals for social media marketing, just as you would for any marketing efforts.

Build Brand Awareness

The creative opportunities offered through social media can get your firm's name in front of a wide range of people. These potential clients may not be looking for legal services now, but if you've built your brand awareness, your brand might naturally spring to mind when a need arises. Quizzes, fun facts, and amusing memes can make your brand memorable.

Direct More Traffic to Your Website

Sending traffic to your website is one of the ways you can increase your search rankings. If your social media efforts simply get people to click on your website to read more, then you have accomplished a valuable goal. As an example, many attorneys post the start of a helpful article on social media and make it easy for viewers to click through to read the rest on a blog or elsewhere on the firm's website.

Engage with a Target Audience

Social media platforms offer unique opportunities to engage with your target audience and build connections. In turn, someone who feels connected to your firm is more likely to approach you when they need legal assistance. While many firms are hesitant to answer questions to avoid the appearance of giving legal advice, it can be just as helpful to point potential clients in the direction of resources or a particular legal process. For instance, you might direct people to a government resource such as the consumer protection division of the attorney general's office or an industry resource such as the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. This will provide your target audience with background information, and if their research indicates that they need to take legal action, they may be more likely to contact your law firm when it's time to move forward.

Establish Your Expertise

Ethical rules for attorneys often prevent law firms from calling themselves "experts" in marketing materials, but we all know that experience makes many lawyers true experts in their particular fields. Your firm can use social media to spread the word about your areas of expertise by sharing teaser snippets of informative articles on your blog or the practice area pages of your website. When attorneys tie these snippets into current events, the social media posts are even more effective at attracting attention and helping users to understand your level of knowledge and experience.

Never Underestimate the Power of Visibility for Your Law Firm

The ultimate goal of every marketing effort is to bring in new clients. Advertising professionals have long argued that repetition is the key to reaching new customers. Social media provides a way to get your name and message out repeatedly at a very low cost. By building relationships, establishing your reputation as an expert, raising brand awareness, and making your website more visible to clients who are searching for legal help, you are taking effective steps to attract new clients to the firm.

Don't Begin a Social Media Campaign without Doing Your Research

For your social marketing campaign to work best, you need to start with the right basic information. First, check out the rules of your local bar association and any organizations you work with closely so you understand any limitations that may be in place for sharing certain types of information.

You also need to research social media platforms themselves. Consider factors such as:

  • Which platforms your target audience uses most
  • The platforms your competitors use successfully
  • The ease of connecting with your potential clients
  • The style of the platform and its appeal to the person in your firm who manages your law firm's social media
  • The type of content you expect to post and which platform offers the best way to share that content

It is hard to market successfully on a number of different platforms simultaneously unless you have a staff member devoted to the task full time. Rather than spreading efforts across several platforms where they could disappear into floods of posts, it is better to focus on solid and consistent engagement in one or two platforms.

Content is King - For the Most Part

This mantra from the early days of online marketing is true for social media as well as for websites. However, the type of content that performs best on social media differs from content that is best for a webpage. Visual appeal is everything in social media. Your words may deliver the key message, but to get people to take time to read the words, you need to attract their attention with something that is visually stunning.

You can make the words themselves part of the image, but the message should be short and memorable. While humorous or beautiful images have broad appeal, often, the images that people find most engaging are the ones that confuse them. They wonder if they see things correctly, if so, how the situation came to be and whether it is something likely to continue or repeat.

Get the Visual Imagery Right

Visuals are critical in social media, so it is essential to understand that the way an image appears on the viewer's screen could look vastly different from the way it appears on a user's newsfeed. It is important to use the right size image for the platform. Each one has its own guidelines.

Not only do you need to be conscious of image size guidelines for each platform, but you also need to pay careful attention to where the image appears on the platform. The ideal image size for a profile picture will be different from the dimensions recommended for a cover photo, event image, ad size, or shared link.

For your convenience, we've included the optimal social media image dimensions below:

Platform

Image Type

Recommended Dimensions

Facebook

Profile Photo

180 x 180

Facebook

Cover Photo

820 x 312

Facebook

Shared Image

1200 x 630

Facebook

Shared Link

1200 x 628

Facebook

Event Image

1920 x 1080

Facebook

Business Profile Photo

LinkedIn

Personal Profile Image

300 x 300

LinkedIn

Personal Background Image

1584 x 396

LinkedIn

Company Logo Image

300 x 300

LinkedIn

Company Main Image

1128 x 191

LinkedIn

Shared Link

1200 x 627

LinkedIn

Shared Image

1200 x 627

Instagram

Profile Picture

110 x 110

Instagram

Photo Size

1080 x 1080 (square)

Instagram

Instagram Stories

1080 x 1920

Twitter

Profile Photo

400 x 400

Twitter

Header Photo

1500 x 500

Twitter

Image from a Tweet with shared link:

1200 x 628

Twitter

Tweet sharing a single image:

1200 x 675

Youtube

Channel Profile Image

800 x 800

Youtube

Channel Cover Art

2560 x 1440

Youtube

Video Uploads

Minimum HD 1280 x 720

Even though it goes without saying, we're going to say it anyway - make sure an image is of high quality before you post it. It may look fine on your screen, but see if it looks fuzzy when viewed on someone else's feed.

A Word of Caution When Scheduling Posts

You can use tools such as Hootsuite to schedule social media posts so that you can prepare content in advance, or you can set up an informal DIY calendar. Either way, planning posts in advance helps ensure that your firm's content is appearing regularly, and it avoids the last minute "what do we post today?" dilemma.

However, while you can plan and schedule posts ahead of time, you should also be prepared to monitor responses and react in real-time. Social media is supposed to be social, and that includes interaction. If you post but never respond, you're missing out on opportunities and come across as uncaring and impersonal.

Remember: Social Media is Part of a Thorough Law Firm Marketing Plan

In an age where people spend so much time on social media, your law firm really cannot afford to ignore the opportunities offered by the various platforms. Experimentation can be very rewarding in this area of marketing, and it costs much less in this avenue than in other areas of marketing.

Remember, however, that social media is just one component of a well-rounded digital marketing campaign. If social media marketing is consistently absorbing all of your marketing time, attention, or money, then you are missing out on other opportunities. Working with an experienced legal marketing firm can help you find and keep a balance with your social marketing strategies.

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