Whether you like social media or not, the truth is that it’s likely here to stay. And in 2019, it’s one of the most important marketing tools you’ll find, regardless of the industry you’re in.

Marketing is all about getting attention and letting people know your business exists. This is where social media excels. Besides grabbing more attention, it’s also a great way to establish your brand and stand out from competitors.

The problem is that, like most things in life, you have to use it effectively for it to work. The competition on social media is great, and getting noticed isn’t as easy as it sounds, or as easy as it was years ago when there were far fewer companies using it.

However, if you utilize some of the tips in this article, both for building a strategy and increasing engagement, you’ll greatly increase the odds of being successful. After all, it’s not rocket science. It’s social science.

The First Step is Strategy

When it comes to social media marketing, the most important thing is engagement. According to BigCommerce, “Social media engagement measures the public shares, likes and comments for an online business’ social media efforts. Engagement has historically been a common metric for evaluating social media performance but doesn’t necessarily translate to sales.”

While engagement is a crucial first step, what a business should be going after as it pertains to social media are followers. BigCommerce equates followers to email subscribers, though the latter provides more-personal, one-to-one communication that’s more important for nurturing a prospect and turning that prospect into customer or client.

When it comes to devising a social media strategy, Business.com recommends the 5:3:2 approach. Think of these numbers in terms of pieces of content or individual posts. So, out of every 10 social posts, you should include:

  • Five pieces of curated content. This is content you didn’t create and comes from other sources. It should be something that you think your audience would find valuable.
  • Three pieces of content you created. This can be blog posts, infographics, videos, or ebooks. This is harder and more time-consuming, and it may be something you outsource.
  • Two fun and personal posts. Something that humanizes you and your firm, which may be even more important in your industry. Candid photos work well. Maybe from the firm’s softball tournament, employees’ pets, anything personal.

Regardless of the content you create or the type of posts you’re putting out, keep in mind your reasons for doing so ― to build your brand and increase targeted traffic, and to provide value to your audience. Prospects can recognize value. They can also recognize self-promotion.

Lastly, not all social platforms are the same. What works best on Facebook will likely fail miserably on LinkedIn and vice versa. So, take the time to get to know each platform and what works best on each.

The Second Step is Creating Valuable Content

Posting a link to someone else’s content is easy. So is posting photos of your firm’s office cat struggling to get out of a cardboard box. However, creating content isn’t going to be as easy.

Content is king. The reason its king is that it’s the number one thing that drives social media engagement. And video content is especially valuable.

Whether you choose to create videos, blog posts, infographics, or some other form of content, just keep your audience in mind. Always look at it from their perspective and ask yourself, is that what my intended audience wants?

Digital marketing guru, Neil Patel, recommends nine key ingredients that go into the creation of great content. And by “great content” we mean the kind that establishes your brand online and grabs the right kind of attention from interested prospects, rather than the blog post equivalent of “War and Peace.”

  1. Original content only. No plagiarism. Google will reward you for original content, and they’ll punish you for copied content. This has a great effect on your SEO.
  2. Create great headlines. According to Copyblogger, 80 percent of people will read your headline, but only 20 percent will read the article. Create headlines that mention a benefit, pique interest, or bring the reader into the story, such as a question.
  3. Make it actionable. Information is great. But information that your audience can use is more valuable. And don’t be afraid to tell them exactly how to use the advice you’re giving them. (Like we’re doing now.)
  4. Answer questions. Your audience has questions, and you probably know what some of those are. Create content around them. People search on Google mainly to find answers to their questions.
  5. Be accurate. Nobody likes getting false information. The content you create is a reflection of your law firm. Misinformation can damage your firm’s reputation and destroy the trust you’ve built up with your audience.
  6. Create engaging content. There is a lot of mediocre content online. To stand out, yours should be engaging. Good introductions are important to keep people reading. Stories work well, as our brains are wired for them. And remember, blog comments are a good thing, as Google rewards posts with more comments. Why? Because it shows engagement.
  7. People love graphics. We learn by seeing, and our attention spans are shrinking. Including images, videos, screenshots, and other graphics will help people digest your content more easily, even those who are only skimming.
  8. Eliminate the fluff. Some people recommend shorter blog posts. Some recommend longer. Length isn’t important; quality is. Use as many or as few words necessary to tell the story.
  9. Consistency is key. People like it. Google likes it. Create a blog schedule and stick to it. Regularly updating your blog is important. And more is better, but not at the expense of quality.

Especially for Law Firms

One of the most detrimental aspects of having so much customer information in digital form is the possibility of that information being stolen. Nothing will ruin a law firm’s reputation quicker than a cybersecurity breach. Make sure your firm’s sensitive information is secure. Otherwise, all the social media strategies and engaging posts won’t matter.

There’s a great line from Picasso that’s appropriate: Good artists borrow. Great artists steal.

Here are eight law firms who are getting social media marketing right. Don’t be afraid to copy what’s working elsewhere.

If you are new to social media marketing and starting from scratch, it’s important to break it up into steps. It’s also important to set goals you can control, like things you want to learn more about, ways in which you’ll implement the things you learn, how often you’ll post to your blog, and so forth.

Develop a routine and stick to it. And try not to think about it in its entirety — the scope of it may feel too intimidating. Just focus on the steps it takes to get there, and keep this philosophy in mind as you do:

How do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time.