The vast majority of marketing advice on the internet is geared toward consumerism. Ecommerce, entertainment, or a vast array of other products/services for people to fill their leisure time with. Law firms are just different. Most people do not begin to search for an attorney or show any interest in legal topics until they are in need of an attorney, so law firm marketing is just different.
- Build A Loyal Social Following – This has been the social media mantra of the last several years: Grow your followers or friends or tweet buddies…
Why This Doesn’t Work – Law firms are not competing just with other law firms on social media. In the end, the firm is competing for the social media user’s time. Thus, the firm is competing with everyone — including celebrities, sports teams, actual friends/family, and every single business that is targeting that user. Additionally, many people don’t want their network to see them associated with an attorney. If a person “likes” a post about workplace negligence, what message does that send to their employer? Could you build a bigger following than you currently have? Probably, but you should question whether the costs outweigh the benefits. Social media has many benefits, but spending your time growing a following is a rabbit hole you don’t want to enter.
Do This Instead – Keep A Loyal Following – Don’t try to compete with the likes of Kim Kardashian or the Denver Broncos. Instead, focus on customers that you have already brought into the fold — the clients that are happy with you and are likely to give you a referral. You don’t need this group to read every tweet or blog; you just need them to remember that you still exist. Keep your email list updated so that you can send newsletters, ask your customers to like you on Facebook, and ask for reviews.
(We have seen a few firms beat the norm. But they beat the norm because they went all in. They were highly active in their community, they stayed in contact with their customers, and social media was just an extension of their offline efforts.)
- Connect With Industry Leaders – This is another questionable recommendation that is largely driven by content and social media. The premise is that people follow industry leaders, and if a leader speaks highly of your firm, then you will see a boost in sales.
Why This Doesn’t Work – Who are you going to connect with? A Judge?Judges aren’t likely to be publicly recommending certain attorneys. And it is rather unlikely that your customer base is following legal industry leaders to begin with.
Do This Instead – Referrals have consistently proven to be the highest quality leads, so continue to prioritize generating those. Partner with firms that don’t specialize in the same practice areas. Partner with other local businesses that could be a good source of leads, such as chiropractors or first-responders.
- How To Respond To Reviews – Not every customer is happy, and not every review is from a customer. Every firm eventually gets a bad review, and it is common advice to make sure to reply to all of them, good or bad. For most businesses, the theory is, there’s an opportunity to turn a bad review into a good one . . . or at least come out on top.
Why This Doesn’t Work – Because lawyers have the Model Rules. You absolutely want to respond if you can. But this is a tricky proposition because you have to make sure you do not breach client confidentiality.
How Do We Get Around This? – Respond to reviews so that other people reading them see that you are active and care about your reputation. Speak in large generalities, don’t admit to anything, and keep a ‘helping/concerned’ tone. DO NOT get emotional. We have seen some scathing and unjustified reviews come through. For example, a client who received a six-figure settlement, who was awarded exactly what they wanted, refused to pay lawyer fees but still felt obliged to post a negative review about losing a case they actually won. We have also seen people from the opposing side post a review acting as if they were a dissatisfied client. None of these reviews were deserved, but they still happened. Don’t post an emotional response!
Here is an example of how to reply:
“We are sorry you had a bad experience with our firm. We strive to have a positive interaction with everyone. Most of our work is sensitive and thus inappropriate to discuss on the Web. We encourage you to contact our firm directly at xxx-xxx-xxxx so that we may try to resolve this issue.”
There is no end to bad advice on the internet. Remember to put some of that good ol’ due diligence behind your marketing research. Remember, positioning is the key to law firm marketing. Right place, right time, right customer!
Gladiator Law Marketing is a premium provider of internet marketing solutions. Our services are custom built just for you. Contact Adam today to schedule a marketing consultation about getting your firm on the right track.