If you are stuck thinking that Instagram is a social media platform primarily for pictures of food, videos of kids, vapid quotes, and hair tutorials, you are in for a surprise.
Not only are there over one billion active accounts every month, but Instagram is host to over eight million businesses. Why? Because Instagram has emerged as a place for human interaction and a platform to earn consumer trust. For law firms, it provides an opportunity for potential clients to learn about your brand and its successes.
Should You Use Instagram in Your Law Firm’s Social Media Strategy?
Social marketing can take a toll on your firm’s limited time resources. As such, it is vital to consider exactly what kind of commitment you want to make on social media marketing as a whole. Consistency is key—consistency of brand image, consistency of tone, and even consistency of logo placement all matter. It is better to regularly post three times a week than post seven days one week and not at all the next.
Next, you need to evaluate whether Instagram fits in with your law firm’s business development strategy. Over the past two years, Instagram usage has risen by over 13%. Still, if the target Instagram demographic is not the potential client group that you want to market to, it really will not help build your clientele.
Here are some of the key statistics about the typical Instagram user as reported by Hootsuite:
About 50% of Instagram users are between 18 and 34
72% of teens use Instagram daily
39% of women and 30% of men in the U.S. use Instagram
33% of the most viewed Instagram stories are business-related
60% of Instagram users have purchased a new product because they found it on Instagram
The U.S. has the most Instagram users at 121 million accounts
Based on these numbers, it might not make sense for a financial services litigator to invest time into Instagram. The chances that a CEO involved in a high-level lawsuit will be on Instagram looking to find their legal team are slim to none.
On the other hand, an immigration lawyer who works with clients on both sides of the border could have huge success. In addition, family law attorneys have found a great niche client base on the platform, especially among the Gen Y and Millennial group. For most business to consumer practices, Instagram is a viable marketing option to consider.
A key here is that you have to decide what your law firm culture is and how it will translate to the platform. If the intimate, conversational style of the Instagram world works with your firm, you could create great connections and have a strong presence that translates into future business relationships.
How to Use Instagram to Support Business Development
Once you have decided that Instagram is a good avenue for your firm to pursue, there are several basic things you’ll need to do to begin building your brand strength on the platform.
Set up a business page. As with any social media platform, setting up your business page is the first and most important element of the strategy. If you have larger firm branding, make sure that your page fits with the tone and imagery that you are already using. If you do not, consider reviewing all your social media to create a consistent set of fonts, images, and colors (as well as a consistent writing style) so that your brand has integrity across all channels. Then add a series of “core” posts that visually state who you are as a brand.
Decide naming conventions. Your username cannot be changed, so make sure that it is exactly what best defines your law firm. Sometimes, your actual name cannot be used as an Instagram username, either because you are using it for personal means or because someone else has taken it. If this is the case, you have an opportunity to be creative and choose a username that connects to your firm’s core goals. Either way, the point is to make it easy for people to find you. Be sure to avoid being too abstract or use of difficult spellings.
Consider advertising. Advertising on Instagram is very similar to advertising on other social media platforms. You can target specific audiences (i.e., showing ads to only women in Colorado who are between the ages of 25-30), or you can retarget to people who have already come to your website (This is set up through tracking, which may require you to get additional help to connect your website). The four types of ads available through Instagram are:
These ads cost around $5 per thousand impressions, which is almost half the cost of Facebook. And, since you control the budget spend, you can spend as little as $5 per day or less.
Be creative. Instagram is a great way to connect with new clients and also stay engaged with people you have represented in the past. But these are just a few of the great ways a law firm can use Instagram to promote their business. There are also a number of creative ways to use the platform for other needs your firm may have. Some of these include:
Recruiting. The platform is heavily used by the younger workforce (Gen Y and Millennials). It can be a great way to find new members of the team, especially if you use specific hashtags for your exact location and niche of legal specialty.
Branding. Instagram gives you a chance to show the “down time” of your law firm. If your firm meets at a coffee shop regularly as a team or eats lunch together on a rooftop patio every Tuesday. Take a quick picture and upload it to give your potential client familiarity with you before they need your services.
Team Building. Instagram is a great way to highlight employees, birthdays, and work anniversaries. Celebration is always positive content and highly shareable.
Event Management and Community Involvement. Got a big event coming up? Posting it to Instagram is a great way to drum up interest and get more people to your fundraiser or dinner. It can also highlight your firm’s ability to execute a pro bono project to other lawyers in your field for name recognition that often leads to attorney-to-attorney business referrals.
Sharing Quotes. Yes, there is a place for positive quotes, even in the legal marketing world. This likeable and easy-to-produce content can be digested by pretty much anyone. The quotes do not necessarily have to be inspirational, but should have a positive integration with your overall niche of law.
In a legal marketplace where 82% of people look online before they ever make a call, Instagram is a place where you can show potential clients your integrity and humanity in seconds. If it is a good fit for your B2C practice, it can be a great way to increase followers, build brand advocates, and ramp up your business development with the kinds of clients you really want to have.
Meranda Vieyra is a legal marketing consultant and CEO of Denver Legal Marketing LLC. Contact her for further suggestions on how to make your law firm’s social media more impactful and meaningful.