Nowadays it is hardly groundbreaking for a law firm to decide to use Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn as a part of its overall marketing strategy. As a matter of fact, by now it is common knowledge that connections in the online world lead to actual business success and law firms with lower levels of online presence are quickly realising that they are at a real competitive disadvantage.

A healthy social media presence is becoming less of an optional luxury and more of a basic necessity. The biggest social media mistake you can make is not have any social media presence at all! Of course, some attorneys and law firms are doing a better job with their social media profiles than others are. Below, you will find great examples of what NOT to do.

twitter and judge hammer#1: The law firm with no real, personable engagement.

Too many law firm accounts on social media websites are cluttered with blatant promotionalism. By definition, social media profiles are meant to help build businesses build their brands, but when a law firm only tweets about awards and certifications and just sends out links to press releases or lawyer publications, it may as well skip social media altogether.

Considering the paradigm of social media, it is not difficult to see why this is so: why would the typical person follow, plus, like, share, retweet, or otherwise participate with a lawyer’s resume on social media? Law firms that remember the social part of social media and interact with audience member’s real concerns and reply to comments and offer individual lawyer profiles for following will be more successful.

#2: The law firm that might be too social.

On the other side of the spectrum, some law firms stray too far from the business side of social media, and try to engage with social media audiences for the sake of engaging and nothing more. These are the law firms that tweet at or post on profiles in a way that is blindly social rather than strategically so. These are the law firms that might be sharing too many pictures from that last office party, and these are the law firms that fail to carefully consider their audience and industry. These are the law firms that might even pull a Kenneth Cole by combining blatant promotionalism with unprofessional insensitivity online.

While this type of law firm may very well be successful as a social media user, it is a completely embarrassing failure as a business meant to positively leverage web marketing. They should focus on understanding those people who send them referrals, influence their practice specialty, or produce relevant research, and keep those people in mind before sending out that next tweet.

Image Credit: The law firm with no substance.

Finally, even law firms that do a good job of developing high-quality, high-value professional relationships online and offline sometimes forget that a business’s online reputation is directed related to its ability to demonstrate expertise. That is, some law firms forget that one of the most important things they need to be doing is uploading a unique body of writing whether it comes in the form of blog posts, white papers, eBooks, or anything else.

Social media should be playing an ancillary role to substantive, exclusive content. Some law firms come off as nothing more than linking bots, tweeting out links to every place around the net except to their own websites. Other law firms try sending social media audiences to their websites without offering any real incentive to do so.

The truth is, content is king and nobody will be interested in visiting the content-dry website of any professional services firm. Tweeting out the link again and again won’t help either – it’ll just drive existing followers away. Moreover, serving as the distributor for other people’s content usually will not win a law firm enough favors to substantially benefit its own business. Instead, law firms should regularly create new and relevant content, and then use social media to link audiences to that content.


About The Guest Author: Hashir Ali writes for Matt Kyle, a well-known attorney in New Braunfels, Texas. Recently winning the 2013 New Business Person of the Year Award for New Braunfels, Mr. Kyle takes pride in actually running his own twitter account.


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