Social Media Rules for Lawyers

Should lawyers use social media? Absolutely!

Did you know that 80% of lawyers have already implemented social media into their marketing? This is because it’s where everyone spends their time — your audience, in particular.

Gaining a competitive marketing advantage as an attorney means you not only need a well-designed website to establish a credible online presence — you also need a few social media accounts. 

However, being active on social media as a lawyer comes with many challenges.

You must always adhere to your state’s ethics rules when communicating with users, and you must follow best practices to be successful. For most attorneys, this means partnering with a reputable SEO company to keep them on track.

In the meantime, here is everything you need to know about social media rules for lawyers.

Why Social Media is Important for SEO

While social media does not directly influence your SEO rankings, it impacts many of the factors that help you rank on search engines. When you attract a larger audience through social media platforms and build/maintain relationships with this audience, you create a consistent following for your content.

This following may boost one or more of the following factors that increase SEO rankings:

  • Improves engagement 
  • Backlinks to your content
  • Content has a longer reach and lifespan on social platforms
  • Boosts local searches (even for multiple office locations)

So, essentially, social media is important for SEO because it boosts your visibility online and brings more traffic to your website and content. Not only does this mean more business from followers, but it means more organic traffic from Google searches as well. 

Top Five Social Media Platforms for Lawyers

While social media is very important to your law firm’s marketing, it will not be successful if you are only on one platform or on several that your audience does not use. One relevant social platform will limit your reach and visibility.

Being on multiple popular platforms will allow you to target your audience more consistently and create several opportunities to reach a diverse population of social media users.

You’ve probably heard the stat; it can take between five and seven impressions for people to remember you. Social media can speed up the process.

To ensure you’re on the right platforms, here are the top four social media sites for lawyers (in no particular order) and the reasons why you should be on them.

Establish authority on a topic of law and boost credibility in the industry. 

Facebook is an important platform for lawyers because it’s a news source for many users. According to TechCrunch, at least 36% of Facebook users go to the platform ‘regularly’ to access news.

By posting your content — i.e., legal news, law updates, events, etc. — to Facebook, you’ll be able to draw in more than a quarter of the platform’s users ‘regularly’ as well as the percentage of users that go on occasionally for news. 

Facebook is also an excellent platform to generate client reviews for your law firm.

In fact, Facebook is second to only Google in its importance for people searching for local businesses and services. Whereas users can leave anonymous reviews on Google, Facebook reviews have a name and a face. So, by going to your Facebook, potential clients can know that you have real reviews from real former clients.

Build meaningful relationships with current clients while attracting new clients.

While Instagram has a younger audience than most social platforms, it can be a great place to connect with users. In fact, research shows that at least 25% of lawyers are on Instagram

You can educate and inform users through videos, Instagram Live, and images. Studies show that 69% of people favor video over text. Instagram will allow you to reach potential clients who prefer visual content when learning more about laws, legal news, and important developments. 

Clients are migrating to LinkedIn for more information about lawyers and law firms — be at the center of it. 

There’s a reason most (76%) law firms are using LinkedIn as a part of their marketing strategy. The platform is known for having all the top brands and companies on it, making it a reliable source for the top lawyers in the area. 

Potential clients trust lawyers established on LinkedIn. Why? Facebook and other social media platforms are heavily focused on connecting with and sharing experiences with friends and followers. LinkedIn is more about creating and maintaining a professional network and brand.

So, how do you get established? You’ll need a professional headshot, an elevator pitch in the summary, contact information, and your law specialty highlighted on your profile. 

Share small snippets of law information with Twitter users and connect in just 280 characters.

Each platform is unique in its own way. For Twitter, this means communicating quickly and easily with colleagues and potential clients. This includes sharing legal news, your expertise, and promoting your law firm. 

However, you must also respond and engage with users on your posts as well as other relevant posts. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t get too political on Twitter. This can alienate potential clients and keep them from picking up the phone. Instead, you should handle Twitter with “neutrality and positivity.”

Create short-form informational videos to increase user engagement and answer questions about your practice area in entertaining ways.

TikTok is a video-focused social media network that allows users to create short videos on an array of topics. Although TikTok is largely used by people under the age of 30, it can be a valuable tool for lawyers looking to increase their presence online and connect with a different audience. 

Lawyers using the platform can pay for ad space, collaborate with other TikTok influencers, or create a channel to post informational or humorous videos about their practice areas. TikTok can be a great place to share relatable, entertaining content and show off your personality. 

Whether you choose to use it to generate leads, educate people, or make them laugh, you should take advantage of the millions of users TikTok boasts each month. 

Common Pitfalls/Mistakes Lawyers Make When Using Social Media

As mentioned in the last section, one of the biggest mistakes lawyers make on social media is not being on enough platforms — or not being on the right platforms. However, that isn’t the only mistake lawyers make on social media.

Here are some additional mistakes to avoid when using your law firm’s social media platforms:

  • Posting from your personal account (typically by accident).
  • Not responding and engaging with users on the platform.
  • Responding to comments negatively.
  • Promoting yourself too much and not giving enough attention to content/posts that add value to your readers. 

You should respond to all posts on your social media platforms, including negative ones. Addressing negative comments can help you appear responsive and professional. However, you should avoid getting in the weeds when responding to unfavorable reviews. 

You should never engage in a digital war on any of your social media accounts. If readers see this, they may assume you are unprofessional and abrasive. They may write you off before even considering giving you a call for legal services.

Social Media Best Practices for Lawyers

According to the American Bar Association, more than half (66%) of lawyers use social media to network and reach clients. 

Their report noted the following percentage of lawyers on social media:

  • 8% of solos are on social media; 
  • 63% of lawyers in firms of 2-9 lawyers; 
  • 70% of lawyers in firms of 10-49 lawyers; 
  • 80% of lawyers in firms of 100+ lawyers.

However, it’s not just enough to be on social media. You have to optimize your platforms to reach your law firm’s full marketing potential. To do this, you should follow these best practices:

  • Have goals for your social media strategy and align them with your content, posts, KPIs (key performance indicators), etc. 
  • Know and follow the rules for lawyers related to social media (this will be discussed more in-depth in the next section).
  • Use the right language for each platform – Use images and videos on Instagram, shorter text on Twitter, a professional tone on LinkedIn, and a nice mix of video/image and longer text on Facebook.
  • Plan and schedule posts ahead of time – Consistency is key to attracting and keeping an audience. This strategy will also ensure you’re posting regularly without scrambling to develop a topic and content in the middle of the week. 
  • Track and measure your results – Build off of successful posts as you craft future posts and make adjustments to strategies that were not as successful.

In addition to best practices, there are ethics rules to keep in mind when using social media as a lawyer or law firm.

Rules of Professional Conduct to Keep in Mind

While most businesses can promote many of their products/services on social media, lawyers must be much more careful. Lawyers may communicate information regarding their services through any media. However, there are professional ethics rules you HAVE to follow as a lawyer on social media platforms. 

Here’s a short summary of some of the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct to know: 

  1. Case information and communications should remain confidential and not posted on social media. 
  2. Lawyers cannot post about clients without their permission. 
  3. Attorneys should be mindful of the rules for solicitation of clients on social media.
  4. Lawyers and law firms cannot post advertisements that mislead users about the costs or nature of their services or exaggerate their accomplishments. 
  5. Related to the last point, lawyers should not say they are the “best” or “cheapest” in their social media advertisements.
  6. Lawyers should not state or imply they are an expert in the law unless they have been certified by an appropriate state authority.
  7. Lawyers cannot enlist someone to do something on social media that they themselves are not allowed to do.
  8. Lawyers cannot typically pay or promise anything of value to a social media user for recommending the lawyer’s services. 

Most states have adopted some form of these rules. Nonetheless, you should consult your own state’s ethics rules regarding social media use to make sure your law firm’s accounts are fully compliant. 

It’s no longer a question but simply a fact: lawyers should use social media. However, there are certain rules and best practices that every lawyer needs to know before incorporating social media into their marketing strategy.

The best way to avoid making common social media mistakes or ethics violations is to work with a reputable SEO company for lawyers. Working with an SEO company that specializes in marketing for critical is critical. Why? Because you can be confident they’re up-to-date on all the latest rules and best practices for your law firm social medial accounts. Contact us for more insight into the importance of social media, SEO, and working with LawRank to achieve your legal marketing goals.