Social media marketing for attorneys is not that important


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.


LinkedIn: The number one social media platform for attorneys


I’ve said before that if you’re new to social media you should start with Twitter. Reason: you only need to fill out one paragraph of information to set up your account. Your profile on LinkedIn, by contrast, requires more effort.

LinkedIn is important for attorneys because it serves as a sort of online CV. In fact, many professionals link to their LinkedIn profile precisely for that purpose. Your profile helps prospects and other professionals quickly assess what you have done for others and thereby see what you can do for them.

As LinkedIn develops, it is also becoming a platform for meeting and engaging others. Their forums are a great way to find and connect with other lawyers, as well as prospective clients and referral sources (or employers).

And LinkedIn is all about business. Unlike Facebook, you won’t have to wade through photos of your friend’s kids or cats, or listen to updates about their most recent meals. In fact, one writer is predicting that LinkedIn will survive Facebook precisely because it is dull and business-like.

But while LinkedIn may be considered dull, your profile need not be. You aren’t limited to posting only the facts about where you have been and what you have done. You can add personality to your profile, and well you should.

As much as your capabilities, people want to know about you, the person. Give them a sense of what it would be like speaking with you and working with you:

What motivates you to do what you do? What kind of movie or book character do you identify with? What is your mission?

If you don’t yet have a LinkedIn profile, don’t let the volume of information requested, or its importance, stop you from getting started. Fill in the basics today. You can add more tomorrow. You can use this brief tutorial on optimizing your LinkedIn profile as a starting point.

A lawyer’s bio is the most important part of his or her social media profile and web site. Use it to tell people your story, not just the facts. Facts tell but stories sell.


Social media marketing for attorneys in a nutshell


This morning, I was reading an interview with Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote, which as you know is my favorite application. I’m not the only one who loves Evernote; they’re adding one million users a month, without advertising.

The company’s growth comes in large part from its enthusiastic user-base sharing their love of the product with their friends and colleagues. Libin said,

“The job of getting someone who’s [sic] never heard of Evernote to use it for the first time is the job of our existing users. The job of our marketing department is to help our existing users do that job.”

He’s talking about social media marketing, of course, also known as referrals.

It struck me that this is the essence of social media marketing for attorneys. Social media platforms are just another conduit for customers (clients) to recommend products (services) to others. Obvious? Sure. Then why do so few get the referrals they want?

The key to success in social media isn’t how many likes or followers or friends one has. Those numbers are important, of course, but far more important is “passion”.

I didn’t just recommend Evernote, I raved about it. Well, my version of raving. I wasn’t over the top, mad with emotion (the California Bar frowns on that, I think) but I hope you could hear the enthusiasm in my voice, my love for a product that has truly changed my life.

I don’t know how many readers of this blog or my social media posts and tweets will go to the Evernote web site and try it but I do know that Evernote doesn’t pay me a nickel for sending them. Social media marketing works and it’s free.

There’s another point I want to make but Libin made it for me:

“. . .we started measuring stuff and found that users who had been referred to Evernote by a friend were much more valuable to us than users who had stumbled across us by themselves. . . .”


Referred clients are better clients. They are pre-sold on you, more likely to pay their bills on time, and less likely to complain about something you did or did not do. Best of all, referred clients are themselves more likely to refer other clients.

If you want more referrals, do something your clients can get passionate about.