By Alexander Limontes, Law Office of William W. Hurst
Today, everyone is connected online through social media. In addition, everyone knows what others are up to because of social media. Whether it is to show friends what their significant other made for dinner or how cute their kids are on Halloween. Some people use it as a way to release tension (family, work or political) while others use it as a way of getting attention (a.k.a. “influencers.”) Regardless of what you use social media for, it can be an affordable and effective method of creating brand awareness and marketing your legal services or your Law Firm’s legal services.
The Law Office of William W. Hurst LLC, is a full-service personal injury law firm, and like almost all other personal injury law firms, the competition is fierce with some firms dumping millions into advertising. The following article will outline some simple and cost-effective ways that a solo or small firm practitioner can use socail media effectively. There are three main areas where my law firm has found success in using social media.
Testing the Waters
Social media can be used to“test the waters with regards to any ideas or thoughts that you might have. For example, you cannot drive down the road without seeing a billboard with some personal injury lawyer on it. They usually promise big checks or tell you that “it’s just that easy”. Social media is a great way to “test the waters” when it comes to any sort of print advertising, like a ¼ page ad in The IndyBar Record or a 48-foot-wide billboard. Various social media outlets can serve as testing grounds for you next big print advertisement. The cover image on your Facebook account is a great way to test billboards because of the similarity in shape of a standard billboard and your Facebook cover image. Some law firms create educational videos regarding their specific area of law and then use their various social media accounts to post those videos. Videos are great because they let the client see you and in many educational videos you can show your value to the client before they even talk to you.
Community and Non-Legal Announcements
Social media is also a wonderful way to show the public what you or your law firm is doing in the community. There are regular opportunities to give back to the community through the Indianapolis Bar Association and other organizations in Indianapolis. If you or anyone in your office spends time at Gleaners Food Bank or cleaning up a local park, social media is a great way to let your followers know what you are doing in the community. Regardless of your practice area, whether it be family law or handling car accidents in Indianapolis, showcasing to the public what you are doing in the community is a great way to build brand awareness and may even get you some clients. At a minimum, it shows the general public that lawyers will and do give back to the community.
Social media is also an effective in announcing certain non-legal related things to the public or your followers. For example, if your office is closed in observance of President’s Day, you can use social media to let your followers and potential clients know. Additionally, if it is a paralegal or attorney’s birthday, social media can be a great way to congratulate that person which can help your relationship with that person because they feel appreciated and also show prospective client’s that your care about your employees.
Promote Your Practice and Firm Successes
Finally, social media can be one of the most effective cost-conscious ways of letting others know (both in the legal community and non-legal community) what you or your law firm have accomplished. We use social media to announce a settlement, regardless of the size of the case, even if the case involves a minor car accident with minimal damages. The client appreciates it and it shows others (lawyers and general public) that we fight for all of our clients. In addition, in cases that involve interesting facts or complex cases, we announce them on social media.
Social media is also a fantastic way to share your online reviews or peer reviews. Currently, most consumers will check reviews online. This is the same for lawyers, doctors, or retail items; people always want to see the reviews to get an idea of what they are buying or spending their money on. Using social media when you get a five-star review or glowing recommendation from a colleague can be one of the most effective ways to show potential client’s your value by showing them what you’ve done for others in the same situation. Online reviews can be converted to graphics and made to fit Instagram, Facebook, or other social media outlets.
Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct
You must always consider Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct with anything that you are going to put out on social media. Rules 7.1 states, “A lawyer shall not make a false or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer's services. A communication is false or misleading if it contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading.” There are other rules that can limit communication with the public but generally as long as the post is not misleading or a misrepresentation then it should be fine.
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