Business of Law

There are an abundance of options when it comes to law firm advertising on social media

  • Print

Social media advertising illustration

Law firms have an abundance of options when it comes to advertising on social media. Photo illustration by Sara Wadford/ABA Journal.

There have never been as many social media marketing options for law firms as there are now.

Due to X/Twitter’s ongoing issues —including laying off a large portion of its staff, more frequent outages and the polarizing conduct of owner Elon Musk—there are numerous offshoots popping up, including Bluesky, Post, Mastodon, Spill and, most recently, Meta’s Threads.

With so many options, it’s possible that law firms and their marketing managers may be overwhelmed by all the platforms. Does it behoove lawyers to jump in and start promoting themselves on all the available networks?

While it’s clear that social media marketing is very effective for law firms—71% of lawyers get clients from social media, and 85% say it’s part of their marketing strategy, according to a 2019 Attorney at Work study. What’s not so crystal clear is which social media platforms are most worthwhile.

“There’s definitely a fair bit of new venue testing going on,” says Jeremy Babener, a business consultant and tax lawyer at Lane Powell whose consulting firm advises service providers to law firms. “Everyone wants to see what’s most effective.”

The key is to determine which outlets the firm’s target audience is actively using, says Moshiur Rahman, manager of digital marketing and analytics at Miller Thomson, a 500-plus-lawyer firm in Canada. His firm’s preferred social media outlets are LinkedIn, X and Facebook, as these offer an extensive user base and robust digital marketing options that allow them to effectively reach their target audiences.

Jeremy BabenerJeremy Babener. Photo courtesy of Structured Consulting.

And while the emerging platforms are noteworthy, Rahman says most business law professionals are going to remain on established social media platforms. For example, Rahman always tries to target C-suite executives, risk management professionals and general counsels, and they are unlikely to be on the newer, less-tested social media platforms, he says.

He typically secures a username that is relevant early on for the platforms but doesn’t develop a social media strategy for about a year or two—he waits to see if the platform’s growth is sustainable and if the target audience is genuinely active.

“There are numerous instances of platforms experiencing rapid growth initially, only for usage to wane over time,” Rahman says.

Go where the audience is

Another thing to consider is what the firm is trying to achieve with its social media presence, says Justin Brandt, co-founder of Bianchi Brandt in Arizona. Brandt’s firm has a big presence on Instagram, choosing this because it allows lawyers to showcase the firm’s culture. The firm posts reels with short clips of team members discussing topics relevant to the practice in an interview setting, allowing potential clients to get a sense of who they are.

Bianchi Brandt also is active on LinkedIn—almost every C-suite officer has a LinkedIn page, and they tend to get more new clients through LinkedIn than through other social media platforms.

Justin BrandtJustin Brandt. Photo courtesy of Bianchi Brandt.

For now, Brandt says, the firm isn’t going to bother with any of the latest social media platforms.

“We’re trying to focus on Instagram and LinkedIn, and so allocating resources to those platforms has been our priority,” he says.

Still, if firms have the bandwidth, they should try as many social media platforms as possible, suggests Robin McCall, the director of public relations for Wisner Baum in Los Angeles. Her firm’s preferred outlets are Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and YouTube.

Wisner Baum has been using all the major social media platforms for years. But it wasn’t until it launched a video-first campaign in May on Instagram explaining how to say, “You’re an idiot” in legalese that the firm was able to engage and grow their audience. A dozen videos later, the firm’s account had millions of views. At press time, the original idiot video has more than 24 million views.

Viewers also appreciate videos in which firm lawyers answer questions such as, “Could Truman from The Truman Show sue the producers for emotional damages once he realizes his entire life is a lie?” McCall says. (The answer: Yes. He can sue for false imprisonment and fraud, the lawyer says.)

“I think lawyers should always be looking for ways to expand their reach to potential clients,” she says.

Moshiur RahmanMoshiur Rahman. Photo by Maliha Rahman.

“If they have the bandwidth to take on yet another social media platform, then I think attorneys should try new platforms that are showing potential and that are the best fit for their practice.”

McCall says her firm is currently evaluating the newest platforms and will continue posting two videos a day on its tried-and-true social media outlets.

Regardless of the platform, the content strategy and development are most important, Rahman says. Social media simply serves as a conduit for sharing thought leadership with an existing audience.

“My advice is to craft user journeys that allow law firms or attorneys to create environments where they can capture incoming traffic from social media as leads, perhaps through a lead magnet or a special offer,” Rahman says. “Once incoming traffic is captured, the law firm can continue nurturing and strengthening relationships with prospects.”

This story was originally published in the December 2023-January 2024 issue of the ABA Journal under the headline: “Plenty of Fish: Law firms have an abundance of options when it comes to advertising on social media.”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.