Q: How does an attorney sleep?
A: First he lies on one side, then he lies on the other.
That’s neither kind nor polite, but unfortunately it represents the way a lot of people feel about attorneys. Lawyers may be the most maligned group of professionals out there, which isn’t fair when you consider the many ways they help their clients.
Fair or not, this negative perception is a reality that law firms must navigate in their quest to establish relationships, build trust and gain new clients. Maintaining an active presence on social media platforms can help overcome the bias against attorneys as a class and prove that in contrast to the general perception, yours is a firm of delightful individuals who are both relatable and knowledgeable.
Traditional advertising is a useful tool to increase awareness of your firm, but it lacks the personal element almost entirely. Websites can be information-rich and convey significantly more reassurance and personality, but still provide limited opportunity for interaction. Social media, on the other hand, offers you an unmatched ability to engage and interact in a way that lifts the veil.
Whether you show your artistic bent with Instagram, your quick-witted nature and up-to-the-minute awareness via Twitter or your general bonhomie and community involvement through Facebook, an online persona that conveys strength along with compassion and a willingness to engage on human terms is a valuable asset in marking your firm as the one to choose.
Show up. Participate in the conversation. Ask questions and post photographs. Share your own articles as well as quality content written by others, always making sure it is relevant to your target audiences. Respond to comments and questions on your own feed and elsewhere, when you have useful insights to share. Invite participation in firm and community events, and show appreciation for those who join you. Celebrate firm successes and share the good times you have together, as well as the challenges you face.
This online history of conversation, responsiveness, community involvement and professional expertise creates solid, visible proof that you are good people. You are pleasant, friendly, caring and approachable. You have a delightful personality and a well-developed sense of humor. You are, in fact, fully human!
Social media delivers a host of additional benefits like increased web traffic, stronger branding and a chance to demonstrate your thought leadership, but in the case of attorneys and their firms, it is the humanizing element that may offer the most value. Spend the time to build a good social media presence and you go from being “a lawyer” (ewwww) to “my friend the lawyer.” That’s the best marketing investment you could ever hope for.