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February 13, 2024 Social Media Strategist

TikTok Marketing Tips for Lawyers

Jordan L. Couch
Attorneys can leverage TikTok to establish themselves as valuable resources in the digital realm.

Attorneys can leverage TikTok to establish themselves as valuable resources in the digital realm.

Westend61 via Getty Images

Lest I be accused of burying the lead, yes, I do think we are seeing the beginning of the end of TikTok’s prominence. Yet now more than ever, it should be the primary social media for lawyers looking to engage core audiences and boost their presence.

New and rabid users have made TikTok an astronomical hit even as the platform has changed from dance hall, to short-form videos, to viral challenges, and now to an ever-evolving array of short- and long-form creative and educational content. However, lately, there seems to be a change in the air, and it’s not the exhilarating kind of change that usually sweeps through the app, like when TikTok teens took down a political rally or when two young musicians used the app to raise millions for their Bridgerton-inspired Broadway musical. It appears that TikTok, once the epitome of imagination and youthful exuberance, is sacrificing itself to the same altar that claimed Myspace, Facebook, and YouTube: money. While this shift may be a cause for concern among the influencers who boosted this app to unprecedented heights, it’s also creating an ideal marketing playground for attorneys seeking to capitalize on the app’s current height of popularity.

Signs of Decline

TikTok, with its algorithm-driven content discovery and user-generated creativity, skyrocketed to fame, capturing global hearts and attention spans of hundreds of millions of people. However, as with any platform that takes on big investors, sustaining that initial spark can be challenging. Signs of TikTok’s decline from its peak of coolness are becoming apparent.

One of the most noticeable indicators is the dilution of unique, catered content. People are increasingly bombarded with the same repetitive and often vapid content, polished to perfection in an attempt to grab the elusive attention of the algorithm. This departure from the authentic, imperfect charm that initially defined TikTok risks alienating the very audience that made the app a global sensation.

Moreover, the drastic influx of marketing, while not inherently negative, has altered the democratic nature of TikTok. More and more, I hear creators lamenting that TikTok isn’t supporting them like it used to, that the app isn’t giving them the content they once enjoyed. Many creators are starting to produce and push YouTube channels or Instagram, almost in recognition of the fact that their time on TikTok may be coming to an end. The increased pressure to make TikTok generate substantial profits has emphasized accounts that are trying to sell you something (TikTok even went as far as creating an in-app store). That, plus a growing hierarchy of popularity, has subtly shifted the dynamics, making it less possible for users to encounter niche interests and unique individuals showcasing their creativity. These days, as I scroll TikTok, it’s not uncommon to see a sponsored video, followed by an ad, followed by a celebrity, followed by another sponsored post, none of it from creators I chose to follow.

From Dance Moves to Dollar Signs

A significant contributor to TikTok’s perceived decline is its evolving focus on monetization. While it’s understandable that every platform needs to make money, the shift from a carefree, creativity-driven space to one dominated by ads and sales erodes the essence that made TikTok popular in the first place. In its origin, TikTok was like the early days of YouTube or public access television: Anyone could be a star, and you never knew what you might encounter. Unfortunately, it seems as though that world cannot exist in a for-profit world.

The introduction of various ad formats, including in-feed ads, branded hashtags, and branded effects, has inundated users with commercial content. What was once a refuge from the relentless bombardment of advertisements on traditional media has become yet another arena for businesses to vie for consumer attention. This shift risks turning off the younger demographic that initially sought an escape from traditional advertising. Additionally, the algorithm’s prioritization of content from creators who use TikTok’s ad products can lead to a homogenization of content as the app increasingly rewards creators involved in promotional activities.

Why Attorneys Should Be Clamoring to TikTok Right Now

Amid the perceived decline of TikTok’s cool factor, there’s a silver lining for you readers. The current state of TikTok, marked by its height of popularity and emphasis on marketing, presents a unique opportunity for legal professionals to engage with a vast audience.

First, TikTok’s extensive user base provides attorneys with unprecedented reach. The app boasts hundreds of millions of daily active users, and its algorithm ensures that content has the potential to go viral rapidly. For attorneys looking to establish their presence and build brand recognition, TikTok offers a dynamic stage to showcase expertise and connect with a diverse audience.

Second, the app’s current emphasis on marketing creates a favorable environment for marketers, especially in industries where there is still little competition on the app. As other industries flood TikTok with sales pitches for various widgets, attorney marketing can stand out by providing valuable, informative content in a free, hosted source library. Whether it’s simplifying complex legal concepts, sharing case studies, or offering tips on navigating legal matters, attorneys can leverage TikTok’s platform to position themselves as authoritative and approachable figures in the legal space.

Pro Tips for Legal Marketing on TikTok

1. Educational Content: Breaking Down Legal Jargon

TikTok’s format is ideal for bite-sized, easily digestible content. Attorneys can create short videos breaking down legal jargon, explaining common legal processes, and offering insights into various areas of law. By demystifying complex legal concepts, attorneys can establish themselves as helpful resources and build trust with their audience. When you consider the average attention span is eight seconds or less (it’s why commercials are typically 30 seconds or less) and videos that perform the best on TikTok are between nine and 15 seconds, it is best to keep it short and sweet.

2. Case Studies and Success Stories: Humanizing the Legal Process and Letting Your Client Be the Hero

Sharing anonymized case studies or success stories can humanize the legal profession. Attorneys can use TikTok to showcase how they’ve helped clients navigate legal challenges, reinforcing their expertise and demonstrating a genuine commitment to serving their clients’ needs. Refrain from simply telling the audience, “I won a lot of money for them.” Tell the story of who your clients are—describe the situation they were in when you met, how you addressed their needs, and the end result that improved their lives.

3. Q&A Sessions: Connecting with the Audience

Hosting Q&A sessions allows attorneys to engage directly with their audience, answering legal questions and addressing common concerns. This real-time interaction can foster a sense of connection and trust, essential elements in a profession often perceived as intimidating. A Q&A session could focus on the top five to ten questions, with each Q&A becoming an individual discussion in a series. This keeps the content short, crisp, and concise.

4. Behind-the-Scenes: Personalizing the Practice

TikTok’s emphasis on authenticity makes it an ideal platform for showcasing the human side of legal practices. Attorneys can offer behind-the-scenes glimpses into their daily work (be sure no confidential information is visible), share their passion for justice, and even inject a bit of humor to make the legal profession more relatable. At Palace Law, where I am a partner, we have found that simple videos from our office as we go through the day can engage a lot of users.

5. Utilizing Trends: Riding the TikTok Wave

Staying attuned to TikTok trends and challenges can help attorneys ride the wave of popular content. By creatively integrating legal themes into trending challenges, attorneys can not only boost visibility but also demonstrate a keen understanding of the platform’s culture.

6. Don’t Stop Now: Creating an Editorial Calendar

The worst thing to do is to start and then stop your content. You don’t have to post every day, but you need to be consistent. Plan out some of your posts based on what is going on at the time (like tax-related videos in March and April). Having a tagline that you can weave into your regular posts is also really helpful. At Palace Law, where we represent injured people, we just had a holiday campaign thanking and supporting the delivery drivers who make the holiday happen. And, of course, we ended on our tagline, “Whether you’re injured on the job or off, call Palace Law.”

Go Forth

While TikTok may be experiencing a shift away from its initial carefree allure, this moment of peak engagement and rising marketing presents a golden opportunity for attorneys to capitalize on their branding and personality. By adopting a creative and informative approach, attorneys can leverage TikTok to reach a broad audience, humanize the legal profession, and establish themselves as valuable resources in the digital realm. The dance floor might be changing, but for attorneys, the rhythm of TikTok offers a chance to make their legal moves and stand out in a crowded digital space.

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Jordan L. Couch

Palace Law LLP

Jordan L. Couch is a partner at Palace Law LLP in University Place, Washington, where his practice focuses on workers’ compensation and personal injury litigation. As Palace Law’s Cultural Ambassador and a member of the firm’s creative innovations team, he is always seeking new ways to advance and improve his own practice and the legal profession as a whole. Follow him on Twitter and other social media: @jordanlcouch.