Are you a solicitor who is considering using social media marketing to promote your legal services?
Are you now ready to act upon all of these emails that promise you utterly amazing results if you spend just a few hours each week or month using twitter, facebook or any of the other wonderful forms of social media marketing that can transform your law firm overnight?
To see if this is a good idea, let us, as always, start from the position of ‘Clients First’. This is my marketing definition and is always the position to start from when you are considering any form of marketing for your law firm.
Ask yourself this question:
“Will using social media marketing to promote my legal services put my clients first at the heart of this process?”
Well, what are your clients doing on social media? Why are they looking at twitter, or perusing facebook? If we can understand this, we can assess whether presenting our services in front of them at that moment in time will be a good thing to do.
So, what are they doing on social media? They may be catching up with friends, looking at pictures or simply trying to see if they are doing better or worse in life than the people who they went to school with, plus a million other reasons.
What they are almost certainly not doing at that precise moment in time is thinking “Now I must find a solicitor to help me with my Will/Probate/Divorce/Business premises purchase”.
So social media marketing is firmly in the category of ‘interruption marketing’. You have to interrupt someone from carrying out their primary purpose on social media (viewing photographs etc), to make them look at your advertisement, blog post or twitter update.
Their primary purpose is not to buy legal services.
So why are so many solicitors convinced that social media is the answer to all of their legal marketing problems?
Here are my thoughts, based on the experience of having worked in legal marketing since 1991 and having seen a few things come and go as ‘the next big thing’.
1. It is new!
I know it is not brand new, but very little really is. In marketing terms, social media is still the new kid on the block, which means that it makes it very exciting. Could this new thing really win me all of the new clients that I want just by posting one tweet a day, or one link on facebook. Is that really all I need to do to transform the success of my law firm marketing?
No, of course it isn’t, but I know that is what excites a lot of solicitors; that is until they try it and discover the truth.
2. It seems easy
All you do is post a tweet, add a link, press a button and then ‘hey presto’ you win new clients.
Really? When selling legal services?
Do you think one link, one tweet or one click is all it will take to persuade someone that you are the best solicitor for their complex legal needs?
“Oh wow that solicitor posted a joke or sent a tweet, that’s the one for me then.”
Your prospects will want to see that you are professional, efficient and have the expertise that they need to ensure that they come out on top, whatever the legal need that they have.
They are simply not able to achieve this by looking at one social media post from your law firm.
3. It seems cheap
It is free, isn’t it, after all?
Well, nothing is free, as we all know by now.
It doesn’t cost money to set up a twitter or facebook account, but it does take time. Time to add content, time to read other people’s comments. Time that at several hundred pounds per hour is certainly not free.
But wait, Nick, I can outsource it…. Oh yes, indeed you can. For a price. Is that price worth it? Usually not.
Remember, you are trying to interrupt your prospects from doing what they want to do on social media to read your advertisement.
Why Social Media Doesn’t Work For Law Firms
Social media can work for celebrities and brands that have a really strong following. It can work for any type of business with an element of ‘sexy’ to it.
Can I be honest with you now please? Legal services simply are not sexy.
They are serious.
Serious services need serious marketing. Social media is not serious marketing.
Social media marketing for solicitors is not the answer. It might work occasionally. It can work alongside a sensible, well considered marketing plan, but on its own it will never be the answer for all of the reasons I stated above, the main one being that it is a form of ‘interruption marketing’.
So if social media marketing does not work for solicitors, what does work?
Well, the new High Street solicitor has moved online, because when people start their search for a solicitor, that is the first place that they start. If your website is not a professional representation of your services, with at least 20 legal services pages (even if you operate a niche legal service), with an easy to access contact form, clear calls to action at the foot of every page and at least 400 words per page, you should start there.
But Nick, that is not easy. That will take time. I wanted the easy social media marketing answer for solicitors.
Look, you are a professional service provider. You are a qualified solicitor. You are intelligent. You know better than to think it is as easy as one tweet a day, or one facebook post. You know that, so let’s get serious about marketing if you are serious about growing your law firm, shall we?
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