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Law Practice Magazine

The Marketing Issue

Using Social Media to Build Your Practice

Edie Reinhardt


  • Social media complements and amplifies your other marketing efforts, so you get the best results possible for your firm.
  • Use social media to build relationships, strengthen your reputation and stay top of mind.
  • Be strategic in deciding what, where and how to post content on social media.
Using Social Media to Build Your Practice

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If there was a place where you could easily find your clients, prospects, referral sources and competitors, wouldn’t you want to be there? Every day on social media, these individuals are receiving and sharing information relevant to their personal and professional lives. According to, in the United States, LinkedIn has 190 million users; Facebook, 244 million; Instagram, 143 million. Several other platforms also have over 100 million.

Yet, many attorneys still seem to think that social media isn’t important for building their practice. While being active on social media isn’t a replacement for networking and other types of personal marketing, it is a powerful tool that complements and amplifies everything you do, so you get the best results possible when promoting your legal practice. The key to success, however, is to know how to use it effectively to help you achieve your goals.

Benefits of Social Media

One of the most important reasons to be active on social media is that it provides an easy way to stay top of mind with contacts. Every time you post online, your connections may see it and be reminded of you, which is crucial to getting business and referrals. You want to be the one remembered, not your competitor. You can also use social media to strengthen your relationships with contacts. You can interact and learn about them personally and professionally and they can do the same with you.

Social media also helps you build your reputation and credibility by providing a platform to showcase your expertise. Sharing high-quality and relevant information regularly can position you as a knowledgeable resource people can rely on and trust.

Posting online also increases your visibility outside your network. There are many ways on social media to expand your reach to new audiences and target the specific group that you want to attract. Some are no or low-cost tactics, while others are more expensive. Either way, it’s an opportunity to develop and nurture new leads and create awareness of your practice in a cost-effective manner.

Finally, social media has the power to humanize you. You can share things that reflect your interests, values and point of view as well as your experience. People hire those they like and trust. You can leverage social media to help others see you in that way.

Developing a Social Media Plan

Before you jump into social media, it is best to have a plan. To start, you want to think through a few key questions.

Who do you want to reach? Identify your top audience(s) and be specific. For example, small business owners who need guidance on employment laws, individuals contemplating divorce or accountants who can refer tax audit clients. Researching and understanding your audience is essential because it helps you determine which social media platform(s) you should be using and what information you should be sharing online. It’s also necessary if you are planning to do any advertising so you can target your ads effectively.

What are your goals? Marketing involves engaging in repeated activities that cumulatively increase visibility and memorability. Social media works both alone and in conjunction with other marketing tactics to accomplish that objective. However, to set interim goals, you should consider how you want to use social media as part of your overall marketing strategy. Is it a place for you to reach new people, stay in touch with contacts, showcase your niche expertise, drive traffic to your website or has it some other purpose? Once you determine your focus you can decide what content to share and establish relevant goals to gauge whether your efforts are moving you in the right direction.

Do you have an effective brand? Your brand is your reputation and identity. It’s what people think about you as a person and a professional. You want to shape and control your brand so consider it carefully. You should be highlighting what makes you different so you stand out from competitors. You also want to demonstrate how you add value to relationships, particularly with those you most want to target. Your social media profiles, and the content, comments and photos you share, all need to align with the image you want to present and the goals you want to achieve.

What resources will you devote to social media? Some aspects of social media marketing can be delegated. For example, another person with input from you can help find content to share, draft text for posts, schedule posts, create and run ads, monitor your accounts and analyze results. However, certain activities, like interacting with others, should be done by you. If you like or comment on a post or send a message to someone you know, it must be you, not someone pretending to be you. You must be prepared to devote time and money to social media marketing.

Getting Started

Once you have answers to the questions, there are five basic steps to start implementing your social media plan:

1. Pick your platform(s). LinkedIn is a must for attorneys because so much of an attorney’s business comes from referrals from other professionals and that’s where they are the most active. After LinkedIn, you want to consider where you are most likely to find your target audience. Each social media platform tends to attract a different demographic (age, gender, etc.). Also, each one has its own style of posting and interacting. For example, Facebook is more casual and personal than LinkedIn. Instagram is a visual platform focused on graphics, photos and videos. X (formerly Twitter), Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok and others have their own unique attributes.

You should start by focusing on one platform. Once you are comfortable posting and interacting and you are seeing some results, add a second one and repeat the process. Don’t feel that you need to be everywhere because others are there. Engaging on one platform well is more effective than being on four and getting few results.

2. Make a strong first impression. Provide compelling information about yourself and your firm on the social media platform. This is particularly important on LinkedIn, which allows you to include substantial information about your background and credentials. Take advantage of it and fill in as many of the fields as possible. Don’t rely on people going to your website. You should also ask for and showcase recommendations and reviews.

3. Share content. You can post almost anything––links to your articles and blog posts, videos, photos, personal stories, slides from a presentation and other information. However, be mindful of what is appropriate for the platform you are on. LinkedIn is more business-oriented than the others. However, there isn’t a hard line. People share personal information on LinkedIn and legal information on Facebook and Instagram, but the way they do it varies. Whatever you share, it should be thoughtful, authentic to who you are and reflect how you want others to perceive you.

Note that your posts can consist of content created by you or curated content, which is content by someone else whom you have selected. With curated content, you share the link to the content and explain why you think it is of value to your target audience. This is a time-saving and helpful tactic.

4. Post consistently. Start by posting once a week. When you can do that regularly, go to twice a week and so on. The goal is to regularly post content at least three times a week, but more if you can. Social media algorithms favor those who are most active. The more often you post, the more likely that your content will be seen by other users. The good news is that you can reuse and repurpose content to help keep your content pipeline flowing. For example, if you want to share an article you wrote, you can pull out interesting points and create multiple posts that you share over weeks or months.

5. Interact with others. Social media is social. It is about getting to know others and letting them get to know you. You communicate and interact with others by posting content, by asking and answering questions, sending messages and liking and commenting on other people’s posts. Importantly, if all you do is post but never interact, you’re basically the networker who keeps talking and doesn’t care what others have to say. Encourage conversations.

Improving Results

Sometimes, it can feel like you’re posting but no one is there. The vast majority of people on social media are passive listeners. They scroll through their feed reading posts but don’t like or comment on anything. It doesn’t mean they don’t like it; they just prefer to be anonymous. As a result, your social media metrics don’t necessarily reflect the exposure you are getting. However, there are some things you can do to encourage people to engage with your content.

Include visuals. Studies show that visual content is processed faster and remembered longer than text. It also gets more views and engagement on social media. Therefore, add photos, graphics and videos to your posts for added attention.

Reveal something personal. Often, the posts that get the best responses are those sharing personal details. It could be a cause you care about, a family tradition or photos from an activity or event. These things humanize you but be mindful of getting too personal. Also, when possible, connect that personal tidbit to your work and values.

Use hashtags. Hashtags are words that follow a # sign and generally indicate the subject matter of a post. For example, #metoo is a hashtag used by individuals sharing stories of sexual harassment. People who are interested in a topic will search for those hashtags and can potentially find your content. Hashtags work on all the major social media platforms.

Mention/tag others. To mention or tag someone in your post, you type the @ symbol and the name of a person or organization. You will see potential matches pop up and must pick the correct one. That adds a hyperlink from your post to their profile page and notifies them that you mentioned/tagged them. The benefit of this is that you gave them visibility in your post, which is good for them, and they will probably reciprocate by liking or commenting on your post, which gives you added visibility with their connections.

Get employees involved. If you have employees, encourage them to share the firm’s posts. This enables you to reach their connections. Your firm should have a social media policy and consider offering social media training to get the best results.

Join and post to groups. LinkedIn and Facebook have numerous specialized groups for different professions, industries, organizations, interests, geographic regions and specialties. This can be a wonderful way to target your specific market. You can even start your own group.

Monitor your results. All social media platforms provide analytics, including impressions/views and engagement rates (likes, comments, shares, reposts). You may also be able to see the demographics of the people looking at your content, your followers, profile views and other information. This allows you to evaluate what things are working and where you may want to make improvements.

Consider paid advertising. Social media advertising can be highly targeted and cost-effective. However, you must monitor your results closely, be prepared to test different ads and commit a reasonable amount of time and money. (What is reasonable varies by firm.) Note that on Facebook, it’s difficult to get any meaningful results without advertising. With LinkedIn, you have a greater chance of reaching people organically, without paying.

Social media is a must for lawyers. It is the perfect complement to what you are already doing, while also allowing you to reach a wider and more targeted audience than with any other marketing tool. An active online presence is expected by many of your prospects, so don’t get left behind in the competition for new business.