Digital Marketing for Law Firms: Moving from Presence to Conversion
In this “Digital Age of Marketing”, it is essential for law firms to establish their presence online—or be left behind the competition. One of the eight top digital marketing trends for law firms in 2016 is not only a presence online and on social media but also “the focus shifting to social media conversion.”
In the following post, I will outline the key ways in which law firms can capitalize on these trends by first how to establish an online and social media presence and then how to translate this to conversion.
Establishing a Social Media Presence
Many lawyers are now using social media as a tool to both gain exposure as well as gain an advantage over their competitors. Platforms to consider include: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and blogs. A great place to start is The Guide to Social Media for Lawyers.
The first step is to find out where people talk about topics specific to your firm or practice area. For example, this could include finding out keywords that pertain to these topics. Then go through the various social media platforms and determine which medium(s) are most relevant to you or your firm.
After you have researched where people discuss topics you care about, select the platforms you will invest in. It is important when starting out to focus on only one or two platforms, and then expanding from there. It is also worthwhile to look at your competitors and what types of activities are successful for them.
Side Bar: Starting Your Own Firm
This advice generally applies to marketing for established firms. If, however, you have your sights set on starting your own firm, I would recommend the following. In an article on Business Insider, Branigan Robertson discusses his experience starting a law firm—especially noteworthy is the fact that he did this right out of law school. He recommends building a website right away. Google is where clients will go to look you up and if nothing comes up—you have a problem. In terms of digital marketing, a website is the best place to get started. For help on website building, I would suggest checking out this blog—4 Keys to Building a Good Website. Then, only after you have developed a good site, I would recommend branching out to social media for your firm. In the meantime, I would rely on your own personal social media capital—especially for building a referral network. In the case of your own law firm, a referral network will probably be the biggest lead generator after your website. So, connecting with other lawyers in similar practice areas, on say LinkedIn, is crucial.
Most firms that are participating on social media are only using it as a one-way channel to distribute their content. To generate some sort of conversion, firms must develop and execute social media strategies that allows them to engage with prospective clients. It is worth noting that conversion does not always equate to new clients or business. It can be accomplished by “soft objectives” like downloads or registrations. It can also be measured by recruiting or press metrics.
Overall, now that more and more firms are establishing a presence on social media, the next step is getting real business results out of these efforts. The successful firms will move from focusing on “being on social media” to social media conversion.
John Zordani, a Management and Human Resources major at the Wisconsin School of Business, is a student in Katie Krueger’s Digital Marketing class. Also at the University of Wisconsin—Madison, John is pursuing a Master of Public Affairs from the La Follette School. He plans to attend law school after graduation and work in policy law either for a firm or by starting his own firm.