Social media marketing for attorneys is not that important

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If you don’t have a robust social media marketing strategy in place you could soon find yourself left behind. At least that’s what everyone is saying.

This recent article in Entrepreneur is typical. It says that more and more people, especially younger ones, increasingly discover websites through social networks, less so through search.

I say it doesn’t matter. Social media marketing for attorneys isn’t that important.

Let’s think this through.

Joey Prospect has a legal problem and needs a lawyer. He goes to his favorite social network and asks for a recommendation. If his contacts have said recommendation, they provide it and a link to the lawyer’s website. If they don’t have the link, they tell Joey to do a search on the lawyer’s name.

What does this tell us? It tells us that nothing has changed. When someone needs a recommendation, they ask people they know. Yesterday, they may have phoned. Today, they go online.

If someone knows you and thinks you’re a good egg, they will refer people to you (your site) when asked. The people asking for the referral and the people giving the referral may be connected through a social network, but in the scenario above, the lawyer doesn’t have to be connected to either one.

Besides, most lawyers don’t actively engage with prospective clients through social media, nor do they need to. Most prospects don’t think about legal issues unless and until they have one and probably don’t have anything to say to a lawyer or want to hear anything a lawyer says until that occurs.

So, it’s a good thing that your clients and contacts are networking through social media. It’s good that social media is growing as a means for finding recommendations.

But, let’s keep things in perspective. If you handle legal issues that most people don’t want their friends to know about, you’re not going to get a lot of referrals that way. “Does anyone know a good criminal defense lawyer? Yeah, just got arrested for narcotics trafficking, a-gain!”

Search isn’t going to go away. So, lawyers need a website and some basic SEO in place because Joey Prospect is going to want to visit that site to see what the lawyer can do, and if the link is not provided, he is going to “google” the lawyer’s name.

Focus on building a great website with lots of quality content (i.e., solutions). This will (a) let people find you through search engines, (b) show prospects what you can do to help them, build trust, and convince them to choose you, and (c) allow people who know you or find your website to share your content with their networks.

You should provide an easy way for visitors to your site to connect with you via social media, i.e., you should have accounts with the major social media platforms and icons that allow visitors to connect with or follow you. And you should provide share buttons which make it easy for visitors to share your content with their networks.

Let everyone else worry about the networking.

However, social media is a great place for lawyers to network with other professionals. Use it to find and engage lawyers and other potential referral sources and joint venture partners.

And, if you advertise, you should probably allocate more dollars to ad buys on social media.

But don’t get hung up on the idea that you need to have a big list of social media contacts and you need to be conversing with them every day. You don’t. Social media marketing for attorneys, at least the way most people talk about it, just isn’t that important.

Learn more about social media and marketing online for attorneys in my course, Make the Phone Ring.

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