“You should be using social media!” is the new “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Good advice, and you know it’s probably true, but you’ve heard it so many times that you’re used to tuning it out.
Besides, if you’re not naturally inclined toward social media, it probably doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. (And even if you do want to be on Facebook and Twitter, it’s probably so you can talk about sports, movies, or whatever Donald Trump said this week… not to hawk your law firm.)
But here’s the thing: an apple a day really does keep the doctor away… or at least the pharmacist. (Seriously. The studies on this are kind of amazing. Ask WebMD, the New England Journal of Medicine, or even this somewhat more guarded report from Harvard.)
Equally as true, using social media can have a beneficial impact on your SEO. SEO means better Google rankings, which means more prospective clients finding your law firm, which means bigger and better cases for you — and that’s the whole goal here.
Now, just as eating an apple will not by itself magically cure you of all illnesses past, present, and future, sending out a few tweets won’t get you to Google’s top spot either.
To say that social media alone can transform your search rank would be to give credit where it isn’t due. But it would be every bit as dubious to say that social’s impact is too small to be worthwhile.
On the contrary, social media activity and engagement are some of the single most relevant flag posts for search engine robots when they’re crawling around the web and trying to figure out which sites are worthwhile.
The more engaged in social media a law firm is, the more likely search engines (including Google and especially competitors like Bing) are to regard your site as recommendable.
But who has time to deal with social media for lawyers? (As Chandler Bing would say, could you be any busier?) Well, there are two answers to that:
- Lawyers who are serious about beating their competitors in the crowded attorney SEO market, and
- Attorney web marketing agencies, which lawyers can hire to manage their law firm social media and SEO for them.
In fact, more and more lawyers are making the time for it. In a recent 2017 study, 96% of responding attorneys said they now use social media, and 70% said it’s part of their overall marketing strategy (up from 60% in 2015).
Still, time is its own economy, and you have limited resources to spend. So which platforms do you focus on? Below, we identify the most relevant social media for lawyers and explain how to make the most of them.
Why It Works: More than 300 million people use Twitter every day, so for starters, it’s popular. It’s also search engine friendly. Social links are the new backlink — or at least a new kind of backlink — and they really can help to boost any given webpage on your site.
Google uses Twitter to find new content, and so do real human beings. The more people linking to your content on Twitter, the better.
How to Use It: Make the most of your time on Twitter by following these tips:
- People will only link to you on Twitter if you create content worth linking to in the first place. Blog articles that are helpful, timely, and relevant are especially social friendly.• Link back to your website often. While you don’t need to include a link in every tweet (doing so can annoy your followers), you do want to find organic ways to link to your blog articles, webpages, etc.• Images play very well on Twitter. If your marketing team is creating infographics for you (and they should be), share those on Twitter. Look for relevant and funny gifs or memes that you can include alongside links. Those will increase your chance of nabbing retweets and likes. (And while Google says it doesn’t ascribe as much SEO power to social engagement as it once did, those things do still get your content in front of more people.)
- Tweet at least several times a week, ideally every day. A dormant Twitter account can actually backfire because it makes you look inactive, unpopular, or lazy. Spend enough time on your tweets that they don’t look haphazard or desperate, but not so much that they distract you from your caseload.
- Engage! Twitter is a two-way conversation. Reach out to people, react to their tweets, and respond when they react to yours.
- Don’t use auto-tweet software. For that matter, stay away from any sketchy or spammy behavior. Tweets need to look like they came from real people. The secret to that is simple: make sure they come from a real person.
- Make sure your Twitter bio and profile are filled out completely and are up to date. Have a nice-looking, hi-res avatar and header photo. Include a link to your law firm’s home page in your profile.
Why It Works: You might not think of YouTube as social media — or as a search engine — but in reality, it’s both. In fact, YouTube is the second biggest search engine on the web, right behind Google. (And guess who owns YouTube? You got it… Google.) It scores around 4 billion search queries a month.
Video content is extremely compelling when it’s well produced. Way too many law firms are missing out on a golden opportunity by having little or no content on YouTube. Videos here can be as effective as television commercials… and then some. It might be the most overlooked form of social media for law firms.
Did you know? 25% of people who are researching legal topics online will visit YouTube during that process!
How to Use It: Capitalize on YouTube as an SEO tool. Commit to having a big presence there. Even if you’re busy and/or camera shy. Here’s how:
- Don’t be afraid to spend money to make your videos look nice. You wouldn’t air an iPhone selfie video on television, so think twice before you put it on YouTube. That having been said, amateur vlogging from behind your desk is fine (actually, that can make you seem real and personable to viewers). But you should also have more polished content to catch the eye of potential clients who aren’t familiar with your firm — especially if you’re going to run it as an ad.
- Pro tip: no one looks good under fluorescent lighting!
- That brings us to our next point. YouTube is very effective as a paid social advertising platform. You can target video ads so they reach only those viewers who live in your geographic area. Here again, you can think of YouTube videos as the new TV commercials.
- Update your channel regularly. Let users know they can count on your YouTube channel as a resource when they have general legal questions. The tone should be authoritative but caring and friendly.
- Make the most of each video description. The video description box is much more than just a synopsis or a tagline. There’s real SEO potential here, not to mention an opportunity to link back to your site. You should approach YouTube descriptions the same way you approach copywriting for the web.
- As with Twitter, you want to make sure your YouTube profile information is complete and contains up-to-date information about your firm, including links.
Why It Works: If you thought Twitter’s 300 million figure was impressive, try Facebook’s 1.71 billion on for size. SEO analysts debate Facebook’s effectiveness as an SEO booster all the time. It probably isn’t true that getting your Facebook fans to click “like” on your latest status update will have a dramatic impact on SEO.
But a publicly accessible Facebook page is like a whole other website for your law firm, appearing on one of the most popular domain names in the world. That page (and your posts there) get indexed. Users’ comments can get indexed too. All of this is searchable content.
And like YouTube, Facebook is a search engine unto itself. In fact, Facebook claims to get over one billion search queries a day (that’s people searching for terms within Facebook). So you need to have content that they’ll find there, regardless of whether it’s having a huge impact on Google.
Perhaps most importantly, Facebook has an extremely effective Ads Manager program that makes it one of the most potent PPC tools for attorneys. Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC) isn’t quite the same thing as social media, but on Facebook, those two things come together in an incredibly powerful way.
How to Use It: A Facebook page is most effective when you treat it like a mini-website all its own.
- Make sure your law firm Facebook pages are set to “Public,” meaning anyone can access and/or follow them. (You don’t necessarily need to do this for your personal Facebook accounts, however.)
- Include a physical address, website, email address, detailed bio, and list of social media links in your profile information.
- Images, images, images. Your page should have plenty of them. Photos of your firm (inside and out), the waiting area, the individual attorneys in your office, group photos of your staff, etc.
- Run ads. Work with an expert in attorney PPC management to tailor your demographic, budget, and campaign metrics to your specific goals.
- Post regularly. The most effective Facebook posts include only a few sentences of text, coupled with a hi-res image. Try to include both an image and a link in most of your posts, and try to do so regularly throughout the week.
- Always link to your new web content (e.g. blog posts, infographics, YouTube videos, etc.) in a new Facebook status update.
- If people comment on your posts, always respond! This encourages other people to interact as well!
Why It Works: To be entirely honest, Google+ isn’t the most popular social media platform, and the others we’ve discussed here have long since left it in the dust. But even if your friends, colleagues, and clients don’t love Google+, there’s one very important person who does: Sundar Pichai. He’s Google’s CEO, he’s always talking a big game for the future of Google+, and his whole company reflects that optimism.
Believe it or not, then, no conversation about social media for lawyers is complete without Google+.
How to Use It: We don’t advise carving out as much time for Google+ on a daily or weekly basis as you do for Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. But at the very least, you should ensure that:
- Your profiles here are thoroughly filled out• All the contact info is current (because your firm’s Google+ page will almost certainly be a top Google result, especially for local searches)• You’ve included a physical address and Google Maps information• There is at least some engaging content waiting to greet anyone who stumbles upon your Google+ page
Let Black Fin Manage Your Law Firm Social Media to Maximize Its SEO Impact
Black Fin is a team of legal marketing experts who do only one thing: use the internet to get law firms bigger and better cases. Managing social media for lawyers is a big part of that.
Whether you want to integrate social media as part of your broader marketing strategy or you simply want to lighten your load by hiring our attorney social media team a la carte, we’re here to help — with no long-term commitments and our unmatched record of success.
Find out why we’re Google’s #1 result for Attorney SEO. Contact our team today to learn how we can help your legal practice grow.