Articles | 12/14/2016

How Attorneys Can Use Social Media

In a professional climate marked by the proliferation of social media, lawyers can tap a variety of outlets to effectively market themselves and their respective positions on thought leadership within the legal field.

The first step in appropriately branding yourself is setting up an online profile. LawQA, Google+, and YouTube are just a few of the most interactive sites that attorneys can utilize when beginning to establish an online presence.  Personalize your profile with a series of professional photos—your target audience, peers, colleagues, and clientele will naturally want to put a face to your name. How many friends do you have on LinkedIn without profile photos?

The written content on your profile should be defined by concision, quality, as a reflection of your professional capabilities, and devoid of grammatical errors.  Readability is critical—you want to avoid turning off your viewers with marginalizing jargon.   In the age of the smart phone, your content has to be readily accessible and digestible on mobile devices as to maximize your potential readership. You’ll want to ensure that any written content is organized, suitably titled, and conveniently navigable within the confines of your profile.

While a number of lawyers may be prone to outsourcing the production of their profile content to their web marketing firms, you’re the expert in your respective field—and thereby the most viable candidate for producing content that’s relevant, genuine and engaging. For example, understanding exactly what penalties certain charges carry in a particular city or state may impact the way a tourist makes decisions when away from home.  Other attorneys in your field of practice can gain insight into your views on a new or revised statute that could affect future clients.  Your experience with clients and precise knowledge of your field make your content valuable for anyone who comes across it.

In addition to blog articles, you can bolster your profile with high-quality videos to deliver material to your viewers. Ill-conceived or shoddily-produced clips can hurt your image, so don’t skimp when it comes to developing videos that will also directly reflect your professionalism.  For your viewership, one to three minute videos can serve to showcase not only your knowledge on legal expertise, but also provide brief insight into your personality and business acumen.

Videos are just one of the number of visual vehicles that you can implement to communicate with your target audience. Graphs, illustrations, maps, and other graphics are all aesthetic mediums by which you can disseminate information relevant to your area of expertise. Well-constructed visuals have the capacity to both synthesize and complement denser pieces of writing, making your content all the more accessible.

In order to heighten your own visibility, however, you should take the liberty of joining groups in social media that are topical both in the capacity as peers and potential clients. LinkedIn outpaces other sites by providing hundreds of legal groups, open and closed and general to specific, that will give you access to exclusive peer knowledge and an untapped clientele.  By maximizing your profile’s exposure among peer and professional circles, your profile will be more likely to get more hits and increase the likelihood of your ideas getting circulated.

Once you’ve developed a profile complete with your photo, well-written blog posts, visuals, and videos, you need to keep in mind one last pointer in order to stay relevant in the saturated social media echo chamber—consistency.  Challenge yourself to keep to a regular timeline by employing a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly publishing schedule to keep your readers anticipating your next piece of writing. Avoid sacrificing content quality for the speed at which you publish—your posts should embody the ingenuity to which you hope to influence your readers, not exude the appearance of someone who is just trying to pick up new leads and clients.  While the visual appeal and visibility of your profile are instrumental components of social media success, the quality of your content will determine whether you are simply a thought follower or pioneering thought leader.

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