When I first used social media to promote my family’s law firm last October, becoming a social influencer with a massive following within two months never crossed my mind. Then our videos started going viral, getting millions of views overnight. One post even got more than 50 million. Today, I’m the number one lawyer on social media with over seven million followers. 

Below are some practical tips for content creators to influence, educate, and entertain with similar success on social media platforms.

Be true to yourself

The number one tip to going viral is to be yourself. Your unique personality defines how your audience receives your content.

If you’re authentic, you’ll find people who like what you’re doing. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll go viral, but it does mean you’ll connect with an audience that vibes with you and appreciates your content. That’s more important than numbers.

Educate, entertain, inspire

One of the secrets of our success has been our audience-centered approach. When my social media presence blew up, I started to receive an overwhelming number of messages from followers requesting legal help. As I thought about their questions, I began to see how social media could provide a platform for public service, something all bar associations encourage lawyers to do, albeit through older processes. I decided to focus less on getting clients and more on educating people about their rights and the law.

However, standard classroom-style “lessons” don’t fare well on social media. People get the sense they’re being talked down to. You definitely can’t be boring on social media and hope to succeed.

In my videos, practical, usable information gains much more traction than rote explanations. For example, tips for saving money on student debt tends to fare better than content explaining what student debt is. Later on, we incorporated skits to make our videos even more accessible.

The whole purpose is to engage with your audience, so make sure people relate to your content. Whatever format you choose, you should either educate, entertain, or inspire your viewers. If you do one of these, you have a good video. If you do all three, you have a winning formula.

Create visually appealing content

When we started, there were only a handful of lawyers using social media. Most seemed concerned about fitting a particular image. They usually just put a camera on a tripod and talked directly to it. None of them incorporated multiple shots, multiple angles, and transitions. Consequently, their end product felt stale.

Since we saw our posts as opportunities to entertain, inspire, and educate, we were willing to take some risks with how we presented ourselves. We have fun making the videos and that comes through to the audience. We also made an effort to engage people with visually compelling and amusing videos.

Engage with your followers

If your followers take the time to comment or DM you, don’t ignore them. Try to find ways to respond and converse with them. We probably get over a hundred DMs a day.

I also really enjoy TikTok’s LIVE feature. When you go live, people throw out comments or put things in the question box. You can interact and allow people to see the true you.

We try to go live weekly to ask our followers what content they want us to post. There’s no better way to get ideas than asking people what they want to see. Rather than being burdensome, this relieves some of the pressure associated with developing new content. You don’t have to worry about what you should post if you listen to your audience.

Hook your audience

Each post should start with an attention-grabber. One way to do this is by starting with something shocking or comedic right away.

Another uses what I call a slow-burn effect. With this kind of opening, nothing earth-shattering happens immediately, but you build suspense. What you see on the screen tells you that something is about to happen.

Another way to hook your viewers is with visuals such as text bubbles or captions that immediately pose a question or explain the post’s value. These elements should tell viewers why they want to watch this post.

Best practices for TikTok

Attention spans on TikTok are short, so stick to short-form content. Find that sweet spot of around 15 to 20 seconds.

TikTok uses hashtags to conduct random testing with viewers. Creating a hashtag with words related to your post ensures the platform’s algorithms will deliver the post to people searching for similar content. (Don’t worry about understanding why the algorithms work, just what they do.) If a targeted audience initially views your content and engages with it, it can mean higher views.

Release content on a consistent schedule

Consistency is key. Stick to whatever level of consistency you set for yourself, and if you ever elevate that baseline, make sure you don’t drop below that new threshold. We try to post every day. When we don’t, it’s not good for us because people are expecting a post.

To ensure consistent posts, schedule time to create your content in advance. If you work a nine-to-five job five days a week, block out time on your weekend to create three to five posts.

Be persistent

Going viral involves skill but also luck. However, I always say success is part opportunity and part persistence. You must continually push to make things happen and hope that luck will come along. If you have a creative idea, imagine how someone who might not think exactly like you will perceive it. Once you feel confident it will appeal to others, do it and see what happens.

Avoid the most common mistakes

The most common mistake you can make as a content creator is developing a “persona.” Showcase the best version of yourself, not the person you think others would like most.

Another mistake is trying to hop on the bandwagon for things that aren’t consistent with your content. Just because there’s a trend doesn’t mean you need to follow it. The content you cover should apply to the goals you have for your brand.

And be careful about what you say because once it’s out there, it’s out there. If you’re going to say it, make sure you’re ready to take on the world. If not, keep it to yourself.

Stay connected

At Law By Mike, we plan to launch some exciting new things on social media soon. First, we will release more long-form content on YouTube and be hosting weekly Q & A Lives on the platform. We have also started producing a podcast called Law By Mike on the Mic, in which celebrities and influential people join us to talk about their experiences with the law. If that wasn’t enough, we just opened a community on Discord. You’ll be able to chat with me and other members of the Law Squad, ask questions, and offer content ideas.

Finally, we’ve begun development on an online course to teach everyone, including professionals, how to optimize social media. We also consult one-on-one with companies and individuals to grow their following on social media. For more information on how we can help you expand your online presence, visit our website, or follow us on YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok.

About the author: Michael Mandell, AKA Law By Mike, has more than 7 million followers, 100 million likes, and hundreds of viral videos. By sharing his experience as a trial attorney through entertaining and educational content, he’s become the number 1 lawyer on TikTok. Now he shares tips with content creators to help them achieve similar success. For more information, visit our website, or follow us on YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok.