12 Mar Getting schooled on social media: learning the rules & knowing when to break them
Social media is powerful, and it’s essential to the growth of any business, small and large. Through the power of social media, as a business owner, you have the opportunity to build brand awareness, grow your brand, and attract and connect with your target audience – for free! It’s a no-brainer and should be part of your marketing strategy from day 1, if not earlier.
Think of it like this – Marketing your biz without social media is like, well, living without a phone in 2020. Who does that?!
Before we begin, let me know if you fit into either one of these scenarios:
You have clients coming through the door, today, so you think social media is a waste of time and energy. You think, ‘I’ll start on social media later’ and then never get around to it.
Think future. What happens down the track when there are no clients walking through the door and it’s time to go out and find new clients?
You can’t snap your fingers and clients will come running, and social media doesn’t work overnight. Let’s fast forward two years when your firm hasn’t considered social media but your competitors have, and they’ve built a solid online presence over the years. Catch up time!
Position yourself as a leader today, and you are setting your biz up for long term success.
You are starting at ground zero. You don’t have any clients yet and you are starting from scratch. Perhaps you have moved from a top tier firm and you are starting your own boutique firm. You want to get started on social media because you understand its power and capability to help you grow your brand and build your profile, but you aren’t sure what to do, how to start, and how to attract your clients. You think the best way is to be on all platforms. So, you create profiles and then start to post on every single platform but you are getting crickets. No one is reacting to your presence, no one is engaging, and no one is following!
Firstly, good on you for being proactive. But, if this is you, keep reading, so that you can streamline your efforts and get results.
Whichever scenario you resonate with, it’s important to jumpstart on social media, like yesterday! But, go in with a plan of action. Keep reading to find out how to start.
Remember, new lawyers and clients are ‘digital natives’, meaning social media is second nature.
So, in order to get ahead of the game (or even stay in the game), your business should secure a strong presence on social media.
If the word ‘Twitter’ still conjures up images of birds rather than hashtags, fear not — it’s never too late to become social media savvy.
It’s time to school you up on how your firm can utilise social media to attract clients and build brand awareness. Today, it’s back to basics on the four most important platforms for your law firm to consider: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.
Let’s start with stats.
Social media is a part of our lives, personally and in business. A majority of users look to social media in our decision making process when purchasing goods and services.
There’s a lot to be said about including social media in your marketing strategy, but here are some hard facts to hit you with that are from Hubspot.
- Over 40% of the world’s population is on social media, so your target audience is on there! That’s 3.2 billion users worldwide.
- Each person spends an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes on social networks and messaging.
- 366 million new people started using social media in the past year. That’s more than a million new people joining social media every single day.
FACEBOOK stats (also from Hubspot)
- 74% of Facebook users check it daily.
- Most people access Facebook around 8 times each day.
- 96% of Facebook users access it on mobile.
INSTAGRAM stats (Hubspot)
- Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users, and 500 million use it daily.
LINKEDIN stats (Hubspot)
- There are over 530 million user profiles on LinkedIn.
- 80% of social B2B leads come from LinkedIn.
- Over 46% of all social media traffic to company websites comes from LinkedIn.
These are staggering social media statistics. So, if you think your clients aren’t on social media or it’s a waste of time, read these stats again. When I read them for the first time, I nearly spat out my coffee!
Social media is so valuable to small and large businesses. Think about this – Oprah, Michelle Obama, NASA, government departments, universities, global brands – they all use social media to remain relevant, sell their products and services, connect with their target audiences, and to ensure they aren’t forgotten about. So, if huge brands and organisations are using social media, you should be too.
How to get started on social media
Social media can be a black hole. You can enter the world of social media with hope and expectation, but then get lost in the vastness if you don’t have direction and purpose.
Social media begins and ends with a strategy.
The number one rule for social media? Be consistent and show up. To build a presence, you need to be present. To attract your target audience, you need to provide value. To connect with your target audience, you need to engage.
You might be confused on how to start on social media. Or, you may have already started but whatever you’re doing isn’t working. You aren’t getting new followers, you aren’t getting any engagement, and you aren’t getting new leads coming in.
Here are some social media essentials when first starting out:
- Know your target audience. Define your dream client. This includes demographics and psychographics. Putting in the work and doing the exercises to get to know your target audience will help you to know where they hang out online, what their pain points and struggles are, and what their interests are.
- Know your competitors. Know where they are online, what’s working and not working for them, and what makes you different. What’s your IT factor?
- Choosing your platforms. When choosing your platforms, bring out that client avatar as you will want to be looking at where your target audience hangs out online and the types of content they prefer to consume. Choose 1 or 2 platforms and then double down on them. Absolutely own them! Engage, create content, be present on the platforms. If you choose more than that, you will become overwhelmed and you will find that you won’t be able to manage your accounts to the level that you need to. Social media isn’t all about posting. It’s about engaging, creating conversation, and getting to know your dream clients. It takes time and effort so don’t spread yourself too thin, on too many platforms.
- Define your purpose. Once you have chosen your platforms, define your purpose. Every social media platform you choose should have a different purpose.
- Have goals. Without structure and goal setting, you will get lost on social media. 90 day strategies work well as they have an end you can see, and your goals are more manageable due to the 90 day timeframe. This allows you to create bite sized tasks. Your goals should be tangible and measurable. So something like this – increase my following on Instagram – doesn’t work as it’s too fluffy. Instead, try this – have 1000 followers in the next 90 days on LinkedIn. So, you might be at 700 now so you need to gain 300 followers in the next 90 days.
- Define your brand. Branding is more than colours, fonts and logos, although that is a part of it. Defining your brand includes your brand personality, and this is what differentiates you from your competitors. It’s your voice, vibe and visuals.
- When it comes to knowing what to post, think about the content mix and it’s important to look back at what your purpose is for the platform.
Let’s now look at some social media platforms and break down how to get started.
Twitter is for real-time conversation, interaction and sharing links or opinions — all contained in under 140-character ‘tweets’.
Donald Trump (surprise, surprise) is known for his controversial Twitter presence and un-President-like tweets. Law firms, on the other hand, can use Twitter to contribute their legal expertise to online conversations, and keep their audience updated on their work.
As always, don’t forget to #hashtag. Tweets that include hashtags are 33% more likely to be retweeted. Even adding in a simple generalised hashtag (e.g. ‘#LawyerLife’) helps to draw traffic to your firm. But, do your hashtag research to get higher readership.
Twitter’s search function enables you to search relevant keywords and trending hashtags — helping you to keep in the loop of what people are talking about, and then add value to the conversation yourself.
Use Twitter to start a conversation, add value to existing ones, and share your expertise.
Twitter — Key Uses:
Sharing links to your firm’s own content
Sharing links to interesting articles, videos etc.
Voicing opinions, questions or quotes
Monitoring industry news
Networking can be exhausting — which makes LinkedIn all the more appealing.
LinkedIn is a social networking site for professionals, which essentially means you can network from home, behind a screen, with a glass of wine in hand. Multi-tasking!
Beginning as a site intended to connect companies to new talent, LinkedIn has become a prominent modern networking tool. It consists of Company Pages and individual profiles, which list individuals’ job histories in a visually appealing and readable way. Users can ‘connect’ with each other professionally to expand their ‘network’, gaining testimonials and ‘endorsements’ for their skills and achievements.
More than that now, LinkedIn is a content platform. Businesses, large and small can share insights, provide opinions, and add value. Content types include images, videos, and written. In some countries, LinkedIn has introduced live streaming which allows for ‘in real time’ videos. There is a lot more variety on the platform today and strategic ways to be seen and heard.
In addition to this, you can keep up to date with your competitors and alliances too.
LinkedIn has become a place for professionals to connect, engage, add value, and attract clients. Its user base is growing rapidly, however it is still a baby compared to other large social platforms like Facebook and Instagram. So, that means there is potential to be seen with your content.
Think of LinkedIn this way. It has more CEOs and decision makers in one place than any other platform. You can reach the top directly on LinkedIn.
Linkedin — Key Uses:
Create a business page that acts as your firm’s profile
Use your personal page to make connections
Connect with target audience, referrals, previous colleagues
Expand your network
Share insightful content that creates conversation
Read up on industry news
Brand building and gaining visibility
Demonstrate your expertise and knowledge in your area
Whilst LinkedIn is targeted at professionals, Facebook is social networking for everyone.
But more than just cat memes and stalking friends of friends’ profiles, Facebook is a smart combination of Business Pages and Ads Manager.
Setting up a Business Page creates an easy point of information for your audiences and content platform for your firm. Your Business Page includes an ‘About’ section complete with a physical address and map, photos, videos and a messaging function.
In addition to Business Pages, Facebook offers the ability to broadcast ‘live’ sessions. Lawyers can use Facebook Live videos to create accessible content — for example, Q&A sessions where prospective clients ask questions.
Facebook — Key Uses:
Create a Business Page for your firm
Upload Facebook Live videos
Share images, videos, links and text posts
Connect with prospective clients via the Messaging function
You may know Instagram for snaps of artistically-photographed brunches and your friends’ Friday night drinks. But for lawyers, Instagram (which over five million Australians use each month) acts as an effective platform for branding and promoting your firm’s profile.
Clients want to see the ‘human side’ to your firm. By uploading regular images and videos to Instagram, you can communicate your firm’s culture and people. It’s like telling the story of your law firm through tiny grid-like snapshots.
Like all social media platforms, the emphasis is on social. If someone takes the time to comment on your content, comment back. Start a conversation and engage. Follow your colleagues, partners and alliances. And don’t forget to — you guessed it — #hashtag!
Instagram — Key Uses:
Create a visual story of your firm
Communicate the firm’s culture and people to clients
Reveal ‘behind the scenes’ of your work
Engage and communicate with other users
Social media is powerful and it should form a major part of your marketing strategy. A lot of your marketing will stem from social media so having a strong presence is critical.
Using social media for business purposes means reframing your perceptions around what it means to you and how you interact with it. Think about how you use social media when you are buying a product or service, or how you look at brands you like. Your social media habits are similar to, if not the same as, your target audience.
Social media for business means defining a strategy and creating killer content. It’s an incredible place to attract, connect and engage with your target audience. So, go in with purpose, clarity and direction.
DOWNLOAD: Have you downloaded the Social Media Startup Guide? This guide will provide you with the know-how when it comes to growing your brand and building your online presence with social media.
Let’s grow your hustle!
Hi, I’m Simran, and I’m here to help savvy new coaches and service-based business owners start and grow a profitable business and land clients with intentional action and strategy.
And, I am here to help you catapult your online visibility with confidence and authority, while being authentically you.
If you want to work with me, find out more about my coaching services.