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Legal Marketing can seem daunting at first, especially for smaller law firms. Many lawyers still rely on word of mouth referrals to fill their book of business. No other endorsement is as valuable to an attorney as a happy client who is satisfied with their service. What if there was a modern, online equivalent of word of mouth recommendations? The good news is that there is: social media marketing.

Sure, there are pricey advertising firms and services that promise to grow your law practice, but in some states the advertising of legal services is subject to bar regulations. Many attorneys also don’t feel like they have time to do their own marketing. However, it takes less time than one might think, as the attorneys we interviewed explain.

Social Media Marketing – What Does it Really Mean?

When you hear the phrase social media you probably think of Facebook or LinkedIn. However, a social networking site is any website that allows users to communicate with each other. While giants like the aforementioned sites may have switched to an algorithmic, pay-to-play model for businesses trying to network, there are free, organic alternatives for small and solo law firms. 

Digital forums and message boards are far from dead. Sites like Reddit, Quora, Stack Exchange and Discord continue to support an active user base while social media titans like Facebook and Twitter are losing active, human membership. The reason for this is simple: people want to know that they are getting real interaction from real people. Additionally, content creators don’t want to have to sacrifice authenticity for the sake of appeasing an algorithm. 

What does social media marketing have to do with legal services?

The attorney-client relationship often begins with a question. Long before any retainer agreement is signed, a potential client usually wants a general legal answer to a question pertaining to their situation. In the internet age, Q&A forums and message boards are often the first place people go to ask questions about the potential legal issues in their lives. Giving a general answer to a legal question in an online forum is an easy way to showcase your practice experience to people who may need legal representation. Yes, just replying to comments online is a form of social media marketing for lawyers. 

However, not all forums and message boards have a vetting process that ensures that only licensed professionals are giving qualified answers. Fortunately, the Levelset Attorney Community is a free forum specifically dedicated to construction industry professionals and business lawyers. When someone asks a legal question in our community they can be confident that the answers they receive are from real lawyers.

Some attorneys may feel some trepidation about giving legal advice for free. However, personal injury lawyers give free preliminary consultations all the time and enjoy a steady flow of business. Perhaps it is time that attorneys in other practice areas follow suit. Lawyers who are active in the Levelset Attorney Community have experienced significant business growth by answering community questions. 

Don’t just take our word for it though!

Levelset Attorney Community lawyers have a lot to say about converting free advice to real paying clients. Each attorney featured below has gained several clients through Levelset. When asked what social media marketing advice they had for other lawyers they all said answering forum questions online was easy and effective. Carol Sigmond of Greenspoon Marder in New York, is a passionate advocate for a networking-based, human-centered approach to legal marketing strategy:

You gotta be patient and you’ve got to be diligent, and you gotta work at it daily. Marketing is a daily activity and it has to become part of your schedule in your day. It’s what you have to do. You have to be prepared to do things like, on the Levelset site, answer contractor questions politely. So that’s what I try to do. I try to be polite, friendly and supportive. Because I know when they’re reaching out they’re in a stressful place.” She explained. “You need to think about it. To me that’s the most important thing, is really to just be kind and gratuitous to people when they ask for help. And realize that when they’re asking, it’s a stressful time for them even if you’re like, ‘Okay I’ve seen this a thousand times,’ everything for them is the first time and it’s very stressful for them. A little kindness goes a long way.”

What kind of questions convert into paying clients?

You may be wondering how effective this social media marketing strategy is for attorneys. The answer is any anonymous question can be your next big case. Sean Dowsing of Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP, stressed the importance of never underestimating an anonymous contractor question: 

Don’t discriminate on the questions you answer. Sometimes there’s a tendency to really pick and choose which one you think is going to turn into a client.” Dowsing explained, “But from my experience sometimes it’s the most innocuous question and the shortest answer that’s turned into clients, as opposed to the one that you really think there’s a big legal issue or case out of. Be really open about the questions and answer as many as you can.” An important thing to remember when marketing your legal services is that legal is a service, and as such you have to remain focused on providing a positive customer experience. 

More Legal Marketing Advice for Lawyers from Lawyers

When asked what social media marketing advice he had for fellow construction attorneys Sean Dowsing said “Just start by answering questions, that’s probably your most direct line to potential clients.Richard Storrs, a Georgia-based solo practitioner, echoed that sentiment: “I would say get on and answer questions. It’s great to answer questions in your geographical area. I would encourage lawyers to answer the questions and be a resource for folks and expect to get calls and potential client leads that way.” Like with any form of social media, consistency is key to engaging your audience. 

Sean Dowsing also echoed Carol Sigmond’s call for empathy. Dowsing explained that “Even with the ones that don’t turn into clients, it’s always nice to talk to people in the construction industry and give them a little help when the resources aren’t always there. The answers aren’t always straightforward in a Google search, so they can get a little more tailored advice [in the community].” 

Richard Storrs similarly told us “I’ve discovered that I really enjoy helping people resolve lien claims. I find it very fun to answer the questions. I mean, I would do that even if I wasn’t getting clients. I’ve taught in a couple of law schools, I’ve taught construction law. I really do enjoy the educational part of it.” 

Legal Marketing Made Fun and Easy

Carol Sigmund, like Storrs, also described the Levelset Attorney Community as fun. “I find it fun. I’ll tell you why: I find the questions posed by the contractors to be fun, they’re interesting, they’re phrased in very plain language and you understand what they want and generally speaking you’re able to give them some kind of guidance or send them off in some kind of direction that will be helpful to them. At the end of the day you feel like, ‘Okay I’ve looked at this person’s problem and I think I can help them.’ You know? It’s nice.” 

It is nice to help people. That’s why at Levelset we follow the motto of “Help First,” one of our core values. We are so glad that we helped these three attorneys grow their practice. These lawyers have not only been a great help to our customers, but were also incredibly helpful in lending us their time for these comments here and in our previous article. If you are a helpful attorney looking to grow your practice and would like to be featured in Levelset CLEs, webinars, and law articles, reach out to us today