Have you got an annoying friend or relative who is always scrolling through the Facebook or Twitter feed on their phone while you’re trying to have an important conversation?
Whatever they’re looking at, I can pretty much guarantee that it’s not content from a law firm. Or even YOUR law firm. Sorry to upset you, but it’s true, although you probably already knew that. I’ll explain why.
Whether it’s a post with a cat video, or a friend’s wedding photos, or a kid’s first solo bicycle ride, or a special offer on muffins from their favorite bakery, or allegations that Donald Trump kicked the White House cat, in all probability, that annoying Social Media addict you know will not be seeing anything your law firm shared on Social Media.
Law firm owners already know the situation. “Nothing works on Social Media,” they say. I’ve heard it over and over. But still they persist with the same strategy.
The truth is NOT in fact that “Nothing works on Social Media for law firms.”
The truth is that nothing that most law firms have actually been doing is working on Social Media.
Tuning Up Social Media
Over the last few weeks, Billy (my co-founder at Get Super Cereal) and I have been working with law firm owners to show them why their Social Media strategy has been falling flat. We have very recent first-hand experience of what law firms are doing – right now – and why it isn’t working.
Despite the health warnings from experts and industry insiders, Social Media isn’t going away. People are spending major amounts of time on Social Media. They’re just not spending time engaging with what your law firm is sharing.
And that, right there, is a big lesson for law firm owners that the experts in the legal marketing industry seem reluctant to share with their audience.
You get told on the one hand, from vendors, that “Nothing works on Social Media,” and then, on the other hand, they ask you to pay them to run ineffective campaigns regardless. And some of you actually do it!
I do understand why though. Social Media offers a huge opportunity for law firms to grow their reach and their caseload. Social Media has enabled the creation of brand new businesses out of thin air, worth millions and billions. So I don’t blame law firm owners for seeing Social Media as the new ‘gold rush’ opportunity and trying to grab a piece of the action.
The Purpose of Social Media For Law Firms
Yet the reason that repeated attempts by law firms to triumph on Social Media have all fallen flat is very simple: they are ignoring the purpose of Social Media and the purpose of any content that they post.
The reason that any business posts anything on Social Media is to generate engagement.
Engagement on Social Media drives referring website traffic. Every law firm owner wants more website traffic, but they’re not starting with generating engagement on Social Media.
There are many other kinds of businesses that are great at Social Media. They do a fantastic job of posting stuff that people want to engage with, whether that’s liking a picture, commenting on a video, reading a blog post or sharing a status update.
Those businesses know how to create engaging content and their fans love it.
Sometimes those businesses are in the business of creating engaging content.
Take The Dodo as a prime example. They’re known for their animal videos, and their most viral videos usually involve somebody rescuing and adopting an animal in unusual circumstances. They get millions of views, likes, comments and shares – on each video.
The Dodo is a media company, sure. But there are other media companies that don’t know how to create engaging content on Social Media.
There are businesses that totally get Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram and are totally on-point with the content they post.
Then there are the businesses that just don’t get it. Law firms aren’t the only businesses that don’t understand Social Media. Most local businesses don’t get it either, even though a successful formula isn’t complicated.
Just Putting Out ‘Something’ Doesn’t Work
It’s not true anymore that as long as you just put out ‘something’ regularly on Social Media, that you will grow your following and your audience. That premise worked on the understanding that as you pumped out content, you’d learn what was effective and make continual improvements. I’ve seen many law firms fail to do that, and just keep publishing the same boring stuff.
What’s surprising is that often the people responsible for that decision are keen users of Social Media themselves. They know what makes them click, whether it’s cat videos or wedding photos, a kid’s first solo bike-ride, discounted muffins or stories about the Bad Orange Man.
They’re using Social Media, just like anyone else.
They go to Social Media, for the same reason as anyone else. To be entertained. To be distracted.
And yet, for some reason, they keep giving the green light to content that they know, deep down, is a complete snooze-fest.
I understand why.
As someone who has been responsible for creating engaging content for the legal market on Social Media, I know it’s not an easy thing to do. I created content that generated a large engagement from lawyers, just like you, on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. That’s not an easy market to crack on Social Media.
Cracked the Code
I’ve been in the legal marketing industry for just shy of a decade and I understand how conservative lawyers can be on Social Media, and yet I cracked the code. In comparison, cracking the code to creating engaging content for the general public – especially for a law firm – is, to me, childs play.
To crack the code on Social Media, I had to start thinking about the audience I wanted to reach and the purpose of my content.
It turned out that sharing a blog post on Social Media, called, “How To Get More Personal Injury Clients” was nowhere near as effective at generating engagement as I thought it would be. Instead, I saw huge engagement with posts like this one:
Q: Where do I find personal injury clients?#FAQFriday— Ken Hardison – PILMMA (@PILMMAorg) February 15, 2019
A: Let me start my answer with a question. Did you look behind you?
(1/14)#LegalMarketing #LawFirmMarketing #LawyerMarketing #LMAmkt pic.twitter.com/ssGaVEx9G1
I had to start by understanding my audience, and the fact that they simply don’t engage with what is ‘vanilla’ content, like ‘how to grow your caseload’.
Instead of just posting content that I thought would be helpful or valuable to them, I started by wanting to grab their attention and stop them dead in their tracks, so they had to find out more.
Let me repeat that: instead of sharing what I thought they would find helpful or valuable, I started by getting their attention.
What proportion of the content you post on Social Media is stuff you think your ideal potential clients would find helpful or valuable?
But how much of that starts out by trying to grab their attention?
Of course, the people in your local area should know how to file a car accident report. Of course, they should know what coverage is missing from their insurance policy. And of course, they should know that they can hire a lawyer to represent them and protect their interests.
But if you’re not grabbing their attention with how you present that information, then what’s the point?
I was going to ask, “If nobody ever read your blog, would you continue to write it and publish it?” But then I realized that you’re probably doing just that for SEO purposes.
But for myself, if nobody ever read my blog, I probably wouldn’t bother. The thing is, I know people do read my blog posts. When I email an update out to my list, I get comments by reply. When I share my blog posts on Social Media, I get comments after people have read the post.
If nobody engaged with my content, I probably wouldn’t still be doing it.
Nobody engages with what your law firm posts on Social Media and even so, you carry on, regardless.
Every Single Newspaper Story Does It Better
You might not still read a newspaper every day, but you’ve surely read a newspaper before. And you know that EVERY SINGLE STORY starts with a headline. The headline is there to grab your attention and then make you read the article.
Every single story in every single newspaper has a headline.
Some news organizations are better than others at writing headlines – but they ALL try, nonetheless.
With every single news item, they try to draw the attention of their audience to it, and it starts with the headline.
For your Social Media content to be effective for your law firm, you need to think about your audience, and what will attract their attention.
So, what won’t work, for sure, is a post called, “How to file an accident report in Chattanooga, TN.”
Another post that will never work is, “We are a personal injury law firm in your area. If you’ve been in a car accident, then call us today.”
When you start out by understanding your audience and with the desire to grab their attention, you would NEVER post anything like that. And I mean that even if they have just been in a car accident.
Engaging Content Drives Website Traffic
You want to drive traffic to your law firm’s website, but everybody is hanging out on Social Media. The stuff you’ve been posting on Social doesn’t work because nobody cares. So you need to post something that catches their attention and makes them want to click through to your website, where you can begin to build a relationship with them.
You need much better content to achieve that.
Unless you can say, right now, that you’re killing it with the new cases you’re getting from Social Media, then your content sucks. It’s not engaging. And that’s where your problem begins.
Think about your audience and be engaging to them.
Grab their attention and then keep it.
If you’re being honest with yourself, you’ll agree that nothing that I’ve said here is untrue or exaggerated.
Ask those people you know, who are big consumers of Social Media, if there’s anything your law firm has put out on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram that they actually like.
Never mind the 1% of people who have just been in a car accident. They didn’t go to Facebook to find an ad from your law firm that tells them to hire you because they just crashed their car. Nobody wants ads on Social Media. They want to be entertained.
Targeting The 1%
The numbers prove, time and again, that finding that 1% is a costly exercise and, while it may pay for itself, it’s not generating the Gangbusters results you should be getting from Social Media. It’s because the content isn’t engaging, it’s just an ad. And nobody wants ads.
Instead, think about the 99%, and what would engage them. If your message is engaging to the 99% who don’t need you immediately, it will also be engaging to the 1% who do need you – more so than the ad you want to keep running.
The lesson here is that for your law firm to be successful on Social Media, you have to be in the business of creating engaging content on Social Media.
I didn’t say it was an easy thing to do, but the first step is to shift your thinking. What’s helpful and valuable to someone who is searching on Google for answers, is not what people on Facebook want to click on.
You HAVE to start out by thinking about your audience and what they would find engaging. Engaging the users on any Social Media platform should be the primary purpose of anything you post. Until that sinks in, you’re really just wasting your time – and your money.
How To ‘Tune Up’ What You’re Already Doing On Social Media
Want to see what your current Social Media posts should look like in order to get engagement?
For the last few week’s, we’ve been doing Free – one on one – Social Media Tune Ups for law firms across the country. With each Tune Up, law firms get to see how to tweak and fix their current Social Media strategy so that they get better engagement on their posts and more traffic from Social to their website.
We want YOU to be our next Tune Up so we can show you how to get better results from your Social Media!
Just click the button below to learn more and sign up for a FREE Social Media Tune Up!