Like all facets of marketing for law firms, the world of social media is ever-changing. While some basic tenets of how to effectively use social media will always stay the same, the tools with which you engage with your audience are regularly updated or changed out new and improved methods.
For example, instead of just a focus on video content, a focus on live video content. Instead of just high-quality images, a focus on custom high-quality images.
Sometimes it’s more than just an added word, like with Google’s new Posts concept that has the potential to shake up the SEO world, or these Facebook messenger bots we’ve been hearing so much about lately.
We’ll get to all of those updates and potentially-groundbreaking concepts below, but it’s always important to keep one thing in mind: Always approach social media with the goal of engaging with an audience in a genuine manner.
Regardless of the medium you’re using, people can tell when you’re faking it. And as a lawyer who truly wants to help people with their legal troubles, there’s no reason for you to fake anything on social media. If you can give the world a good representation of who you are via social media, then you’re ahead in winning the social media game.
So with that in mind, and without further adieu, we present to you the most important trends in social media for your firm to focus on this year.
Taking Advantage of Live Video
Video content is on the rise and here to stay. It is estimated that by 2021, 82% of all internet traffic will consist of video traffic.
On Facebook, users are watching around 8 billion videos per day and law firms should definitely take advantage of this. Also, statistics show that people spend more time watching live videos instead of regular clips.
But video popularity isn’t the only reason why you should start using Facebook live; the social media giant ranks Live videos higher than any other types of posts.
As lawyers, you can discuss a hot topic within your practice area and then do a bit of Q & A with your audience. This live video can get high engagement and it may even help in increasing the performance of your other posts.
Before you start to broadcast, you should set a schedule ahead of time and post it on your profile or page. Boost the post so more people can be reached.
The number of likes and comments on your video is important, as it may affect your relevancy score. While doing a live video, you should engage with your viewers. When you’re answering questions, you should mention their names. Doing this will get you a higher engagement, which in turn may help your video show up in people’s News Feeds.
Utilizing Messenger Bots
More than 1.3 billion people are using Facebook Messenger every month. Many businesses are now even using Messenger as their form of customer service.
As people spend more time on social media, it would be a lot easier for your prospective clients to contact you through Messenger once they see your Facebook page. So make sure they know they can reach you this way!
You can set up automatic replies: you can either greet them, give out more information about your business, or tell them when you’re not immediately available to personally reply.
Being able to reach your firm easily can enhance your prospective clients’ experience, make them feel at ease, and build trust.
Creating Custom and Enhanced Blog Images (Not just Stock Photos)
Social media posts with images get shared more — they get virtually 35% higher engagement than posts without images. But with people sharing more than 3.25 billion photos a day across different platforms, how will you stand out from the crowd?
Using plain stock photos isn’t enough anymore. With all the information out there, if you don’t get people’s attention right away, they will just scroll past you. And considering that the attention span of a human is now less than a goldfish, we should improve our visual marketing in a way that the audience will quickly know what our post is about just by looking at the picture.
One effective way of doing this is to create a custom image. You can still use a stock photo and then edit it by adding the title of your post, or your headline. Use this image to your blog post and make sure to optimize it for the different social media platforms. If you’re doing this yourself, Canva is a great tool for putting together custom images on the fly.
Strengthening Your Focus On Charity Campaigns/Community Events
Lawyers are sometimes characterized as selfish, who are just in it for the money. But in reality, most attorneys are interested in helping people sort out their legal problems.
Lawyers and firms have been reaching out to and engaging with their communities long before the rise of social media. But with platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, you can even do a lot more today than you ever could before.
Building your presence in the community and having a great image is a very effective marketing strategy. Some attorneys will do a charity campaign; for example, in which they donate a dollar for every new like their Facebook pages receive. These sort of strategies will get more exposure and more engagement for your firm while also helping causes within your community.
Another great idea is to volunteer work with organizations you care about in your community. Don’t forget to take a photo of your team volunteering and post it on your social media accounts. Or better yet, you can even do a live video if you want.
Disclaimer: Don’t use volunteering and charity just to look good. People will see right through it, so make sure that you’re working with organizations and causes you genuinely care about. Social media can be a huge tool for connecting with your community, but you’re not truly connecting with your community if your sole goal is to put your firm in a positive light.
Seeking Out Facebook Reviews
As you know by now, reviews are extremely powerful in how potential clients make their decisions. While many attorneys focus strictly on Google and Yelp reviews, Facebook reviews can be equally important.
If you look at BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey 2016, which included over 1,000 Americans, Facebook is the most popular way consumers recommend or review local businesses.
Everyone and their mom has a Facebook, which is EXACTLY why you should be prioritizing Facebook reviews. More and more people are turning to their friends for recommendations, and there’s no easier way to see what they think than on Facebook. Not to mention there’s no hassle of creating a Yelp or Google account just to leave a review, since the majority of the population already has a Facebook account.
Exploring The Potential Of Google Posts
Google Posts is a relatively new – but very promising – feature. Not to be confused with Google+, this feature allows you to post news, events, and blogs directly to Google search and Maps.
While it’s not proven yet, we believe this could have a huge impact on SEO, as it will allow you to further optimize specific keywords by creating related Google Posts. The catch, however, is that they are only visible for 7 days, so you’ll need to make sure you’re on top of posting if you want to see an increase in rankings.
While this may sound more like SEO than social media, we included this because you need to treat Google Posts like social media! It will need to be updated frequently, the images and content you produce needs to be engaging, and you need to devote some time to this new feature if you want to reap the rewards.
Have Questions About Your Social Media Strategy?
The world of social media reaches far beyond the trends that we detailed above. Whether you’re figuring out Facebook for the first time or deciding whether to use Snapchat or Instagram (for most attorneys, we vote neither), we love helping attorneys put together effective and engaging social media strategies.
If you’re in need of help with your firm’s social media strategy, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Our team is ready to lend you a hand so your social media game is on point. Contact us today to figure out how to make the most out of your social media presence this year.