At first glance, Instagram might not seem like a useful tool for effective legal marketing. However, a more in-depth examination reveals that leveraging the social media platform might actually be a great way to boost other marketing efforts. 

Instagram has huge potential for lawyers looking to increase visibility, grow their business, and connect with clients.

According to a 2019 survey by Attorney at Work, 25 percent of lawyers use Instagram as part of their legal marketing efforts. That puts it firmly behind the more popular LinkedIn, Facebook, and even Twitter in industry usage rate.

However, that number is bound to rise in the next few years. 

In this guide, we’ll examine the current and future potential of Instagram for lawyers. You’ll find actionable tips on how legal professionals can use the network to grow brand awareness along with their client base.

The Growing Popularity of a Visual Network

In the past decade, Instagram has experienced a rapid rise in popularity. More than one billion monthly global users spend about 30 minutes on the platform every day. They share their images while getting updates from their personal connections and favorite brands.

That last piece is surprisingly significant. More than 200 million users visit at least one business account on the platform every day. Meanwhile, 81 percent of users have used Instagram to research products and services.

That popularity, of course, intersects perfectly with an increasing user focus on visuals. American adults consistently prefer videos and images over written communication. That’s a natural fit for a social network focused entirely on visual media.

While the network has traditionally skewed to younger audiences, these demographics are shifting with increasing popularity as well:

  • The largest advertising audience consists of 25 to 34-year-olds, split evenly between male and female.
  • Ages 35 to 44 represent the third-largest advertising audience on Instagram, with female users slightly outnumbering male users.
  • Instagram is most popular with Hispanic adults (51 percent), and the majority of users live in urban and suburban areas.

Each of these demographics points to a network becoming increasingly relevant to professional service industries. For lawyers, Instagram is a largely untapped but significant opportunity that’s worth exploring in greater depth.

Growing popularity and broadening demographics make Instagram a potential fit in any industry. For attorneys, though, the benefits of establishing a successful presence are especially pronounced. 

Here are a few distinct reasons.

  • A personal way to engage with your audience. Its visual opportunities allow you to introduce your team and provide a comprehensive picture of your law firm’s brand.
  • Hashtag opportunities for brand awareness. Hashtags exist on every social media platform, but they’ve been most consistently successful on Instagram. Here, you can use them to present your content to potential clients just looking for general legal information and advice.
  • An increased opportunity for engagement. Studies consistently find that Instagram significantly outpaces other social networks in terms of post interactions. More engaged followers lead to higher brand recall and, ultimately, a more loyal client base.
  • A fitting supplement for existing legal marketing. Because of its visual nature, Instagram doesn’t overlap with Facebook, LinkedIn, or organic SEO efforts. Rather, it adds a new element to your marketing strategy that reaches your audience in unique ways.
  • Limited time investment for new content. Ideal posting frequencies rarely exceed once per day. This makes a successful legal Instagram strategy is comparatively easy to execute. You do, of course, need to plan enough time for visual content creation.

Of course, Instagram is by nature attractive for legal marketing efforts targeting younger efforts. These benefits, though, show that even for older audiences, the network carries significant potential value and ROI. 

That is, as long as you get the strategy right.

Before getting into the nuts and bolts of successfully building an Instagram marketing strategy, one more bit of context. As with any marketing effort, it helps to visualize just how others in the industry use a platform successfully. 

These seven examples showcase the possibilities that Instagram for lawyers can unearth.

  1. Frankl Kominski Injury Law has amassed more than 10,000 followers through a classic Instagram strategy. Highly sharable inspirational posts are interspersed with images and videos. The firm effectively introduces its team and provides actionable personal injury advice. Each post is branded with the law firm’s logo, raising brand awareness in the process.
  2. Juliet Laycoe focuses on relevant hashtags to grow awareness of her divorce law practice. Through hashtags like #divorcewisdom, she cleverly engages potential clients looking for advice and expertise during a stressful time in their lives.
  3. Andrea H. Evans has created a following of almost 6,000 Instagram users with a full focus on authenticity. You won’t find many fancy graphics or inspirational wallpapers on this trademark lawyer’s account. Instead, you get photos of herself and those around her. She creates a smart intersection of professional and personal branding to create a strong online presence and build audience trust.
  4. The May Firm, on the other hand, is all about that inspiration. Each photo is highly sharable and seems to come straight out of a travel brochure. That invites engagement from users, who then get treated to actionable advice on anything related to personal injury. Does it work? More than 8,500 followers seem to think so.
  5. Jessica T. Ornsby, meanwhile, shows that it’s not just about those static images. Almost all of her posts are short and engaging videos. She invites her almost 9,000 followers and anyone following her to click on hashtags and get educated. Instagram’s personal format allows her infectious personality to shine through.
  6. Greenberg Traurig has a clear focus on its community, making a difference locally even as the firm has spread out across 40 cities nationwide. The multi-practice law firm uses Instagram to show local prioritization on both its regular posts and through longer videos on IGTV.
  7. Brooklyn Brewer has decided to use Instagram to stand out. In line with her personal brand as a lawyer and bartender in Texas, her profile is a constant mix of legal advice, celebrations of successful cases, and fashion. That mix has gained her more than 4,000 followers along with hundreds of likes and engagements on each post she makes.

As these examples show, Instagram is versatile even in the legal profession. From serious to community-driven and out-of-the-box, lawyers can leverage the platform to make themselves and their legal expertise stand out to potential clients. This is how.

How to Optimize Instagram for Your Law Firm Marketing Efforts

So much for the basics. Through the rest of this guide, we’ll get specific on just how you can build your Instagram legal presence to maximize impact, brand awareness, and client relationships.

How to Get Started With Your Attorney Instagram Profile

To start, download the app in Apple’s App Store or Android’s Google Play Store. Use your business email address or phone number to create a profile. Instagram automatically generates a username on your behalf. However, you can customize it to match your law firm’s name. Try to pick a name that aligns with your other social media network handles as closely as possible.

Even if you operate your own legal practice, the next step is vital. Create a professional business page rather than using your own Instagram profile. This ensures that your personal presence doesn’t get confused with your professional expertise. It also unlocks additional audience engagement features that we’ll discuss in more detail below.

Every account you create begins as a personal account. You can switch it to a professional account in the settings, as described in this tutorial. Choose the Lawyer and Law Firm category for your industry. 

Next, add your profile photo. It needs to be at least 180px wide and long, a thumbnail that will represent your legal practice with every post you make. Common practice is using your company’s logo. However, consistency is key. Where possible, use the same profile image you use on other social media networks.

Click on the profile picture, and you can customize your profile in a number of other ways:

  • Add your law firm’s URL.
  • Enter a description of your legal practice. You’ll need to work within a 150-character limit. Use this space to be as convincing as possible in describing why potential clients should work with you.
  • Link your law firm’s Facebook account. That pulls in your hours, business category, and price range. Plus, Instagram is owned by Facebook. Linking your account will make it easier for people who follow you on Facebook to discover you on Instagram. 
  • Add your contact information. Adding a physical address allows users on mobile devices to click on your street address for quick directions with Google or Apple Maps.

With these few steps, your profile is ready to go. Next, we’ll discuss just how you can fill it up with great content to attract and engage your potential and current clients.

Hashtags are a vital tool on Instagram because they broaden your scope. While great content can attract followers over time, hashtags enable instant visibility in conversations relevant to your legal expertise and niche.

Using hashtags is, in many ways, similar to fundamental strategies of successful law firm SEO campaigns. You find relevant keywords, then build and optimize content around the keywords that your audience is ready to engage with. That starts, of course, with finding hashtags your audience actually uses in their daily posts, comments, and interactions.

That research starts informally. The Search & Explore tab on Instagram allows you to browse legal topics. Doing this will give you an idea of just how other users and law firms use the same strategy to engage their audience. Once you’ve found hashtags that are relevant to you, click it and browse through recent posts to get an overview of their popularity and relevance to your legal niche.

Of course, you can also use external tools to get more specific. For example, Keywordtool.io has an Instagram-specific tab that allows you to find relevant, popular hashtags based on common legal keywords.

Follow the hashtags that match your needs and niche. Then, begin to use them as you create a content strategy optimized for your audience. 

How to Scope and Create an Instagram Content Strategy

With a general idea of the hashtags and content that are typical for your legal niche, it’s time to build your strategy. This is a multi-step process. The result is a simple document that clearly outlines the why and how of spending your resources on Instagram.

Begin with your goals. Exactly what are you hoping to achieve with an Instagram presence? Do you want to gain new clients? Are you looking to deepen your relationships with existing clients? Or, do you simply want to supplement your other digital efforts?

Outline your resources. This includes listing what personnel and how many hours will be available for your legal Instagram marketing. You will also want to detail any budget you have to support paid efforts. While this step may seem redundant for smaller law firms and single attorneys, it keeps your strategy grounded and provides easy reference when hours or resources get tight later on.

Focus your content. Create a list of the types of topics and themes you hope to feature on your Instagram account. Draw from the goals and hashtags you’ve researched to create a topic list anyone on the account can easily refer to. Consider working with a content writer to truly make your posts shine.

Define your frequency. We mentioned above that in most cases, posting once per day is sufficient for a successful commercial Instagram presence. However, that does not account for the production of that content and any content beyond regular posts, like the Instagram Stories and Reels we’ll discuss below. Base your goal frequency on the resources available, as outlined above.

How to Create Posts that Showcase Your Law Firm and Expertise

Next, it’s time to build the posts that will become the backbone of your law firm’s Instagram presence. All posts are videos and photos. This means there is some production required to ensure the content represents your firm well and accomplishes your marketing goals.

Here are a few tips to create posts that build brand awareness and audience engagement.

  • Avoid over-promoting your own firm. The 80/20 rule is valuable here. No more than 20 percent of your content should be about yourself or your team.
  • Offer peaks behind the curtain. Profiles of your lawyers and staff, a quick office tour, or even a check-in during a particularly important day in court can all help personalize your presence.
  • Focus on tangible value for your audience. As in legal content marketing, actionable tips on how to act in a situation where you claim expertise can go a long way toward building audience engagement and goodwill.
  • Keep a professional voice. Unless your legal brand specifically focuses on relatability, it’s vital to come across as professional and authoritative in your field.
  • Spend sufficient time on the production. The right light and angle, well-planned videos, and well-prepared subjects all matter in creating engaging, professional Instagram content.
  • Explore Instagram filters. They can be great in adjusting the lighting and visual appearance for you without much picture editing expertise needed. Of course, as with any tool, avoid overusing them.

With these tips in mind, begin creating posts that speak directly to your audience. Over time, you can evaluate their engagement to determine what types of posts tend to work best for your specific niche and clientele.

How to Leverage Instagram Stories for Increased Audience Engagement

Instagram Stories have become such a central part of the network, it’s difficult to remember that the format actually started at rival Snapchat. The core concept, though, is the same. You create a series of short photos or videos, which are then shared not on the regular newsfeed but on top of it for 24 hours. After that, they disappear.

The reason for using them is simple. Stories appear above the newsfeed, optimizing visibility. Because they’re only available for 24 hours, they are ideal for timely content. And because Instagram automatically rotates from one story of accounts to the next, you maximize the chances someone will see yours.

Stories allow you to interact directly with your audience. In addition to a photo or video, you can add stickers such as open-ended and yes-or-no questions, countdowns, and polls. You can even add a hashtag sticker that brings your story beyond your followers and into broader user numbers.

Instagram Stories appear in a vertical phone format, with an ideal pixel size of 1080×1920. Planning out your content ahead of time is key to getting these right.

Potential Stories ideas for lawyers include:

  • Q&As about your law firm or legal expertise. Be careful to avoid questions about specific cases or individual situations, though, as clients may need a more thorough consultation for valid advice.
  • Live videos during events, such as the opening of a new office or attending a legal conference.
  • Playful introductions of new team members, including the ability to ask them questions and showcase their personal and professional background.

When a story hits home, you can feature it as part of your profile to preserve it for more than 24 hours. Over time, you can create a library of stories that comprehensively showcase your brand, expertise, and background.

How to Add Instagram Reels to Your Instagram Strategy

Reels are a new feature that most lawyers have yet to take advantage of. They are short video clips at 15, 30, or 50 seconds long, usually designed to be quick-hitting and entertaining. Because Instagram is trying to increase usage of this new feature, Reels currently receive higher priority in newsfeeds than typical posts, making them a perfect opportunity for exposure and awareness.

For lawyers, Instagram Reels work best when answering quick questions that a broad segment your audience might be interested in. Record your answer in profile mode, again ensuring proper lighting and angles.

Attorney at Law magazine also has a number of other actionable tips on how to optimize your reels, from making proper time for it to using third-party apps to edit your videos.

The feature is still new, and best practices are being written as we speak. But using it now can help to maximize your exposure as you look to build your presence and gain a significant follower base.

Create an Instagram presence designed to attract your audience and raise brand awareness. But of course, Instagram is not a standalone platform that could or should be the centerpiece of your digital marketing efforts. 

At its best, it integrates into a larger strategy, all designed to increase brand awareness and build your client base.

That process can manifest itself in a number of ways:

  • Analytics from Instagram can provide valuable insights into your audience that you can use as you build and execute your strategy on other channels.
  • Instagram content can cross-post to Facebook for increased awareness and engagement with your local community.
  • Other channels can point to your new Instagram presence to build a follower base faster.
  • Paid Instagram ads can reach a broader audience and link directly to your law firm website for more in-depth content and client conversions.
  • When focusing on the right keywords and hashtags, Instagram can supplement your SEO for lawyers campaign.

Of course, getting to that time can get complicated. Fortunately, you’re not on your own. Contact our attorney SEO specialists at LawRank for more help in your legal marketing efforts.