When I was thirteen years old, I was really into whittling.
I would whittle walking sticks and slingshots on our front porch, much to the disdain of my father, who hated the shavings of wood that I left behind.
One day, I found a particularly good walking stick, and got it in my head to whittle it for my cousin, Anthony. I had grand ideas for this particular stick: I’d carve an elaborate spiral pattern, my cousin’s initials, and the Yankees logo, as we were both big fans.
The first day went great. I removed the outer layers of bark and smoothed out the wood underneath.
The second day I started on my spiral pattern. My progress was promising, but my pace had definitely slowed.
The third day my hand started to hurt from trying to carve into the hard wood.
By the fourth day, I decided to take a break and return to the project later.
Of course, I never did.
We all have projects like this that we get excited for, plan out, and set big goals for. But oftentimes, the fantasy does not become reality because we abandon the project.
We take a few days off.
We run into issues we didn’t foresee.
We forget why we started in the first place.
As a result, the outcome does not seem worth the hard work we have to put in to get there.
I think this is an issue that a lot of people have when it comes to promoting their brands or companies on social media. Specifically, this happens to lawyers.
Lawyers know that social media platforms are a great way to engage with an audience and drive traffic to their websites. But, few truly have a vision of what they want to accomplish on social media, or the resources to realize these visions.
As a result, many law firms burn out. After a few weeks or months, the allure of social media fades away, the results aren’t as good as anticipated, and they turn their attention to other projects.
Luckily, there are a lot of ways to avoid this burnout and establish a great presence on social media. Here, I want to explore some of the top reasons why lawyers fail on social media, and give you the tools to avoid these mistakes.
Mistake #1: Lack of Consistency
This fits right in with my whittling example.
When we first take on a project, we’re excited. The possibilities are endless! We have so many ideas to succeed! But a few weeks or months later, once the shine wears off, posting on social media can become a struggle. You know that there are plenty of things to post — after all, everyone else is — but you can’t think of anything. Your goal of posting every day is a distant memory. The likes and followers slow to a trickle, and you begin to skip posts and put social media tasks off.
How to Fix It:
The first way to fix this issue is setting a realistic goal of how often you want to post.
Posting three times a day is a great goal, but can you stick to this? If not, you’ll become frustrated if you miss a post, and it could discourage you.
So my first tip is to set a realistic goal of how often you want to post on social media. Even if your goal seems small, this is better than nothing. You can build on this as you establish a social media routine.
My second tip is to set up a system for posting on social media. Designate someone in your office to post and give them the time and resources to do so. After all, how can you expect to succeed if you are not putting time and resources into the project?
Take social media seriously and look at it as part of your job — not something you hopefully get to once in a while. If you view it as a non-negotiable part of your day, you’ll get it done.
Mistake #2: A Boring Routine
Have you ever looked at a Facebook page and seen the same type of post over and over again? The same basic ideas, presented in the same basic way, day after day is an unfortunate reality for many law firms.
But platforms such as Facebook have so many opportunities that you should take advantage of! No need to post a text update of a few sentences, day in and day out. If you do this, your audience will easily get bored and stop engaging. New potential followers may also be turned off by the monotonous content.
How to Fix It:
Experiment with different ideas and different mediums for presenting those ideas. For example, on Facebook, you can post:
- A photo (with a text caption)
- A video
- A Facebook Live video
- Checkin at a location
- Post where you tag others
- A poll
- A post with an emotion
- A post with emojis and hashtags
- An event
- A link to another website (such as your own, or a link to an article written by someone else).
- You can also share someone else’s post.
Take full advantage of the different types of posts that you can create on Facebook. Not only will this mix things up, but it will help you determine the types of posts that your audience enjoys the most. Do they respond best to videos? Photos? Polls? Test and find out!
Mistake #3: Not Providing Enough Value
Just as it is important to vary the type of post you create, it is also important to vary the type of content.
How to Fix It:
Avoid posting the same type of information over and over again. Instead, mix it up with:
- Current news stories
- Law related content
- Information on cases that you are working on (with client information redacted)
- Courthouse information
- Office updates
- Attorney updates
- Staff updates
- Personal stories/information
- Q and A
- Video or post series with tips
- Firm outings
- Attending/presenting at seminars and conferences
- Networking with other lawyers
- Experiences with local businesses
- Fun national holidays
- Engaging your audience
The list goes on and on! Once you get the creative juices flowing, establishing what to post will become easier.
It is also a good idea to create an editorial calendar so that you know what you and your team will post ahead of time. Planning out several weeks or months will ensure that you consistently have ideas to post.
Mistake #4: Too Much Self Promotion
Your story is a big part of your company, your brand, and how you connect to clients. But here’s the thing:
Your audience will connect to your genuine stories, your true self. They will be turned off by egotistical self-promotion.
Clients don’t care where you went to law school, how much money you have recovered for clients, or your persona as a bulldog in the courtroom.
They don’t care about your generic answers to common questions.
They care about the real story, your true motivations, your goals, hopes, fears.
How to Fix It:
Don’t waste money on cliche ads and posts about why you’re the greatest lawyer ever.
Learn how to tell your story and hear other people’s stories. Social media is all about connection, so focus on how you can truly connect with your audience.
Mistake #5: Failing to Engage
Social media is not a one-way street.
You shouldn’t just post and forget about it.
Instead, you need to engage with your audience in order to create a community.
How to Fix It:
Be sure to ask your audience questions, and when they post a comment, respond to those comments.
If you get a DM to your page, don’t ignore it. Talk with the person who messaged you and see if you can help or provide resources for them.
Shout out your team, local businesses, and your audience. Make sure to thank those who join your community and provide value for them.
If you don’t, your audience won’t feel appreciated. You make it easier for your followers to walk away.
Putting it Together
Striking the right balance on social media is a process. It might not happen overnight. And while figuring out the “secret formula” for your business can be frustrating, it can also be fun! This is an opportunity to experiment and get creative.
The good news is that you don’t have to start from square one. We created the FirmFlex DIY program to correct all of the mistakes mentioned in this post. We do all of the work up front by creating a unique and engaging social media plan for you. All you have to do is execute. Consider checking it out if you are ready to take your social media game to the next level.
In the meantime, you can check out our Medium page for more content like this.