There’s a word for people who manage social media for a living… and it isn’t “paralegal.”
Nevertheless, a lot of law firms have tried to fully vest the responsibilities of social media in their paralegal team.
The temptation makes sense.
After all, most paralegals are veritable wizards. They perform so many functions — from the legal to the secretarial and beyond — that it’s easy to think of them as Renaissance people for whom no task is too challenging. Without paralegals, many a law firm would fall apart.
But there is such a thing as a task falling outside the paralegal fold. Today, we’re going to argue that social media management is just such a task… especially if your law firm is going to make a serious effort at social media marketing.
At the outset, though, we want to clarify that when we talk about social media marketing, we don’t mean the occasional tweet or the “Hey, look, we’re on Facebook!” status update.
We’re talking about the kind of social media marketing that actually brings in clients and makes you money — in other words, the only kind of social media that is worth your time. (More on whether and how social media can actually benefit law firms below.)
…Speaking of your time, you don’t have a lot of it. Neither do your paralegals.
And that’s part of the problem. So let’s get down to it: the five reasons you should leave social media to the pros.
1. Paralegals Don’t Keep Up with Trends or Best Practices
Social media marketing is truly a science all its own. There’s a lot to know. The major platforms are constantly tweaking their formats and algorithms, and users’ newsfeeds grow more crowded all the time.
Breaking through the noise and connecting with users who also happen to be potential clients: that’s a real challenge.
Businesses are already at a disadvantage on social media because it was never really designed for them. People log onto Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to connect with other human beings, not brands.
But businesses can and do use social media effectively… they just have to know how. That knowledge doesn’t come about magically or by osmosis, and it isn’t something they teach attorneys or paralegals in school.
Success in this area comes from three things:
- Experience in executing social media specifically for law firms
- Studying the major social platforms & their current trends (what works vs. what doesn’t)
- Using strategies that have already been proven effective for law firms in the past (e.g. click-through campaigns, infographics, paid social media, sponsored posts, posts that tie into community events, etc.)
And all three of these things take time, commitment, and know-how. So ask yourself:
- How much time do your paralegals have for social media?
- How committed are they to really nailing it?
- How much knowledge have they acquired from studying social media as a business discipline?
2. Paralegals Aren’t Graphic Designers
Graphic design is a crucial part of social media management. Just how important?
- 37% of marketers report that visual marketing is the most important form of content for their business, second only to blogging (38%).
- Infographics get 3X more likes and shares on social media than any other type of content.
- Tweets including images earn 150% more retweets than those without images.
- Facebook posts including images get 2.3X more engagement than those without images.
- Eye-tracking studies have shown that users pay more attention to posts with images. And follow-up studies three days later found they retain 65% of the information paired with the image three days later (versus 10% of information that is not paired with an image).
- The highest rates of organic engagement on Facebook are for posts with videos (13.9%) and posts with images (13.7%).
- 74% of social media marketers use visual marketing in their social media campaigns.
As with anything, quality matters. Using barely relevant stock photos or shoddy smartphone-camera pictures from inside the office will scream “corporate” and “self-promotional” — exactly the kind of content users tune out.
But social posts from law firms can perform quite well when paired with images that are original, high-quality, and truly useful or informative.
The right digital marketing agency should have both social media experts and graphic designers on hand. More importantly, they should have those teams working together on the same campaigns to maximize ROI.
3. It’s Not in the Job Description.
Simply put: paralegals didn’t get into the business so they could manage your Facebook page.
Even if you do technically have “maintaining social media” embedded within the job description, it isn’t anyone’s idea of what paralegals do… and social management will never be at the top of a paralegal’s task list.
When we’ve talked to law firm managers who’ve had paralegals running their social media in the past, the experience has always been the same: the paralegals just aren’t into it.
Invariably, social posts end up on the back burner (or, if anything, they turn into an opportunity for the staff to log into their own social media accounts instead).
Do you believe passion makes a difference in results? If so, consider entrusting your firm’s social media to people who are nerdy enough to get fired up about this kind of thing.
4. If They’re Spending Enough Time on Social Media, They’re Not Spending Enough Time on Your Caseload.
Fundamentally, social media marketing isn’t just about what you post. It’s about engagement. That means monitoring posts within your network, replying, and taking part in the conversation.
It also means publishing posts at the right time (and on the right days).
In fact, post timing is a huge part of what we study here at Black Fin. Timing can make a night-and-day difference — literally — in our results.
There’s a reason people complain about social media becoming a distraction in the workplace. To be any good at it, you have to give it time… and there’s only so much time in a day. That which is a low priority yields low results.
So where do you want your paralegals spending their time? On Facebook or helping you with your cases?
5. CTA Is an Art All Its Own.
Truth be told, most law firm social media posts are just the worst.
There’s a reason they tend to hover somewhere around 1 like, 0 comments, and maybe 2 shares (from your mom and whoever’s working at the desk next door).
It is not enough to simply post a link to a blog article and be done with it.
Like any real human being’s posts, your law firm’s tweets and status updates must be interesting. People need a reason to care. Creativity matters. And ultimately, your posts should be oriented toward a call to action (CTA).
While not every single tweet needs an explicit CTA (remember, organic engagement is a big part of the bigger social picture), too many law firms forego CTA altogether. If you don’t ask people to take action on your posts, you can’t be surprised when they don’t.
The problem with commercial CTAs on social platforms is that they come across as salesy and inauthentic. It is your social media manager’s job to overcome that by creating a compelling and consistent voice across all your social channels, using that voice to achieve a well-defined goal.
Can Social Media Really Bring in Business for Law Firms?
At Black Fin, we do not contend that any single tweet is going to land you a million-dollar case. Has that ever happened? Maybe, but we aren’t aware of it, and we don’t think there’s any point in overstating the role that social media can play.
But you won’t do yourself any favors by understating it either.
When we first started as an attorney SEO agency, we didn’t offer social media management services. Over time, though, we found that law firms needed help in this area and simply weren’t going to consistently keep up with social media on their own.
We also found we could get our clients better results in all our other areas — SEO, content marketing, etc. — by using social media to strengthen branding and drive traffic to the firm.
More than anything, what social media does for a law firm is establish credibility & “personability.” Most people are skeptical of lawyers. Social media helps to assuage some of that distrust.
So even if your social posts aren’t single-handedly making you millions of dollars, they absolutely make a difference in whether a prospective client ultimately hires you. Studies show that most people spend at least a few minutes researching a law firm online before deciding whether to call — and social media is one of the first things they check. A stagnant or languishing social media presence communicates that you’re either out of touch, technologically disinclined, or not actually all that successful.
We also use social media to:
- Boost SEO by creating backlinks to your site from popular domains like Twitter
- Achieve top-of-mind awareness for your firm while establishing you as a credible authority in your field
- Attract new, positive reviews from your clients
- Boost traffic to your website, YouTube videos, etc.
- Make you more visible in search results (especially local search results, which are very important to law firms and which can be directly impacted by social media)
Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That (Except Us)
A law firm thrives when each person can concentrate on the things they do best. Let your paralegals do their job. Let us do ours.
At Black Fin, everything we do is geared toward actually making money for law firms. We wouldn’t bother with social media if it weren’t part of that. It is.
We’re a top Google-ranked attorney SEO agency, and for years now, social media marketing has been integral to our success. Give Black Fin a call today and find out how we can make it work for you too.