What Lawyers Do to Make Good Use of Social Media
If you are a legal professional who has opened a social media account in the past six months to a year, then you are part of a growing group of people. While many law professionals are just getting started on social media and trying to understand how they can use it effectively, there are already lawyers who are using social media in amazing ways to protect their identity and propel their practice forward.
Facebook and LinkedIn are becoming increasingly popular with legal professionals, according to a study conducted by ABA. Lawyers that fall into the 30-39 age range have been active on social media for a while now, but those who are 50 and older have only recently started to increase their social activity online. Form 2006-2009, lawyers aged 50-59 got onto social media at a rate 35% higher than they did in the years before. Those lawyers who were in the next age bracket (60-69) were using social media at an even greater rate. LinkedIn ranks as the most popular social media site for law professionals. Facebook came in second with well over half of all lawyers using it regularly. Twitter came in a very distant third place.
The trend toward using social media more among lawyers is an interesting one. There is a lot of potential there for law professionals hoping to improve their reputation. We’re going to show you how some lawyers are using social media to their advantage and what you can do to make your social media presence more effective for your practice and your own reputation.
Get the Most from Social Media
Social media gives you a great opportunity to find new clients. Phone books are no longer as relevant as they used to be, and if you want to connect with people, social media is the best way to do it. Most lawyers spend a lot of time online anyway. They might as well make the most of that time.
A number of legal professionals are beginning to realize the potential of social networking and online marketing. Social media has gone from being an oddball activity to becoming a vital part of online marketing. Facebook has evolved into far more than just a place to share some pictures and personal activity with a few friends. Now businesses use it to promote themselves and to bring in new customers.
If you manage your social media presence well, you can present yourself in a very sophisticated and appealing way. You can create very personal connections with the people you meet there, which is why they are so effective for marketing. If you are known by a potential customer as an acquaintance or a friend of a friend, then you have a foot in the door, so to speak. You can create a presence online that is vivacious and friendly and that is appealing to the people who come across you there.
According to the ABA report, about 10% of all clients from legal practices originated from social networking efforts and online promotion. That’s a number that’s likely to increase over the next couple of years. Not everyone is making full use of social media, but some lawyers are.
You get very different experiences when you use Facebook and LinkedIn. LinkedIn is used more widely among lawyers, and more lawyers tend to use Facebook for personal reasons than they do LinkedIn. Facebook has a more personal feel to it, providing far more than the perfunctory and dry information you can find on a professionals site like LinkedIn.
Go from Networking to Promotion
Using an online social network to build a client base may not be easy. A lot of legal professionals signed up for Facebook and LinkedIn, but how many of them are actively using it to attract new customers and actually being successful in their efforts? If you don’t use social media correctly, it can backfire and hurt your reputation.
If you believe that social media can play an important role in your business’ success, then you probably understand that it’s best to get started on social media right now promoting your business and trying to connect to potential clients. Not every legal professional has a strong presence online, so you can get a jump start on some of your competition. You may not have much time to set up your profile online and start establishing yourself before the competition steps in. More and more people are joining social networks every day.
You have some options when it comes to how you establish your presence online. You can actually make a reputation for yourself in the online space very quickly, but you have to be smart about what you do. It can help to get an online marketing professional on your side, giving you pointers and making certain you make the right choices in regards to your online audience and your reputation.
Social Networking Information Can Provide Important Case Materials
Lawyers can actually use information they find online, on social media sites against opposing parties or in the support of their clients. They have more resources than ever now, thanks to social media, but they do need to be there and be active to fully reap the benefits of this resource. They are not allowed to pretend to be someone’s friend online in order to gain access to private information that they will use in a case, but they can gain information legally that can be of great help to them.
This also brings to light the increased need for protecting one’s reputation online. If a lawyer can use someone’s online information to their advantage, then someone can do the same to the lawyer’s online information. Be careful about what you post and what information you make public, as they can affect your public persona.