By Ally Kennedy, Founder of Amiga
Social media has transformed my practice. I have over 4,000 followers on Facebook and gain 30-50% of new business through my Facebook page each month. Here are my Top 5 Tips to make social media and your website work for your law firm:
Tip 1: Find out where your Ideal Client is online and go there
Right now there are so many online platforms, between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and more, it can be hard to know which one to choose from. Where do you start? Do you use all of them?
It is extremely time consuming to run an online campaign. This means that if you want to use social media for your practice, you need to very selective because a successful online campaign is another job that you have as a business owner and you must make sure that you are reaching who you want to reach.
In order to have any success with social media or online marketing, you must know two things: (1) Who is Your Ideal Client and (2) What does he or she do while online. Kirby talked about this in the opener and it is critically important.
Consider Your Ideal Client and use these questions to guide you:
What does she do online? What sites does she visit? What does she google? What social medial does she use? What does she use social media for? When she goes to different social media sites, what does she hope to achieve there? If she goes to your page, what would she hope to see?
To give you an example from my own practice:
My Ideal Client is a Mexican or Central American male between the ages of 32-49. In order to create a successful social media plan, I had to understand what he does when he is online. He mostly goes just to Facebook. While he is there, he likes to see news clips, watch videos, and look at funny memes. He is interested in funny and fun memes related to his culture and country. He does not like to read a lot of text and does not read articles. He gets his news mostly in headlines and short videos. He doesn’t Google much at all. He doesn’t use email.
It took time and research for me to understand this, and once I did, I got laser focused on my social media plan. Facebook is the only social media platform I use. Through my Facebook I upload videos of me talking about immigration and immigration issues, I do calls for questions so they can ask me questions and I can respond. I created a weekly Facebook show using Facebook Live, which I will explain in a bit. I also put up funny memes, especially about Donald Trump. I put short sentences about cases that I have won with pictures of me and my clients.
To tell you how I went wrong:
At first I wanted a blog. I had it completely in Spanish. I wanted to blog 3 times a week. I shared the blogs through my FB page and never got much traction. I did this for maybe about 3 months and I realized that it was all wrong. There is no point in having a blog if my Ideal Client is not reading it. It was wasted time and wasted effort for me. I stopped blogging and no one even said anything.
In sum, you must find where your Ideal Client is online and go there.
Tip 2: It is all about them
Your website and social media are all about your Ideal Client and no one else. This is a misstep many of us take.
Let’s start with your website. Your website needs to be written in a way that is accessible to your Ideal Client. First, look at the language on the site. Does it meet the education level of your Ideal Client? How much text is there? Is it easy to find the most important information such as what you do, where you are located, and how to contact you? If you have a translate button, is it easy to see/ find from your main page? Most importantly…. DOES IT ADDRESS THE PAIN POINTS OF YOUR IDEAL CLIENT?
Again, going to my Ideal Client:
He has an average education level of 6th grade. He does not like to read a lot. My site was very text-heavy… I mean we are lawyers, we are verbose, right? I had to go through and drastically cut down the text. I also decided not to do a translate button. Instead, every page is bilingual. I have a very short paragraph talking about what we do and it goes straight to the pain points of my Ideal Client—you are scared and overwhelmed by going through the immigration process, and we have done this before for your type of case. This may be your first time dealing with this, but it’s not our first time. We can help you!
The most important part of your website is your About Me Page. Most of us have the cookie-cutter about me pages—where we went to school, our professional associations, and a summary about the cases that we work. I made an important decision… I transformed the About Me page to address why I do this work and what kind of work I do, but in language my clients understand. Using the word “deportation” instead of “removal” is an example of how to use words and the terminology that your clients use to help them understand what you can do for them.
Here are a couple sentences: “My goal is to keep families together and help immigrants remain in the United States. I work in immigration court to help defend my clients from deportation (now called "removal"), including complex deportation cases such as when a client has been convicted of a crime.”
Tip 3: Determine your goals for your online campaign
When I started my Facebook page, I did it because I wanted to create a place where people in the Latino community could come for accurate information about immigration. I wanted to create a community. So instead of just pumping out information through my firm’s Facebook page, I wanted to make it a place where people could get to know me as a lawyer and as a person. My goal was to make a place that people could trust.
When you create your online campaign, regardless of the medium that you use, it is important to think of your goals for the page. For example, if you use Instagram, what is it that you would like to achieve specifically with that? The reason that this is important is because you want to hold every post accountable to that standard. Before posting, you need to ask yourself, “Does this meet my goal of this platform?” In industry talk, they call it “staying on brand.” Your law firm is a brand, which is not a dirty word, and your website and social media are all ways to reinforce that brand. Each post should reflect that brand in some way.
Tip 4: Facebook Live is your secret weapon
I absolutely love Facebook and if your Ideal Client is similar to mine, I recommend that you get on Facebook right away to get more clients. If your Ideal Client is like mine, you must listen to the Power Hour: Facebook for Immigration Attorneys. It is a game changer!
Facebook Live allows you to speak with your followers on air, live, as if you were on the radio. When you “go live,” you are then exposed to your followers right there. Facebook will notify your followers that you are live so that way people can log on and watch you speak and leave you messages.
I have decided to use Facebook Live to make it a radio show for our clients, essentially… I go live and encourage people to ask me questions and I answer them right there. I call my show, “Mi Abogada Dice,” and people love it. They ask questions, and I get to respond immediately in real time. I offer a discount if people call during the show to schedule an appointment.
The cool thing about Facebook Live is that the video “lives” on your Facebook page, so people will continue to like and comment on it as the days and weeks go by. It brings TONS of interaction to your page, and it is a great way to get more followers and more people engaged with you, your work, and your mission.
Tip 5: Have fun!
People are online because they enjoy it! I know I personally love to go on Facebook, and it is a place that people turn to in order to destress, relax, and read things that interest them. That means that your page doesn’t have to be so serious all the time!
When I first started my page, I got very caught up in being literal about things. For example, if I obtained administrative closure for someone and we were going to be able to renew his work permit indefinitely, I used to write something like:
Today we obtained administrative closure for our client, Juan! Administrative closure requires an agreement by the Department of Homeland Security and a private attorney and then the judge has to sign it and then the client doesn’t have court anymore. But the case is still pending in court. And it’s kind of complicated but he can stay in the US he just can’ t leave. But fortunately, because he had an underlying application he could renew his work permit for all of time.
Tell me you’re not bored reading that. And you understand this body of law!
Bring it back to your client’s PAIN POINTS. Remember, they have a problem and they want to know if you can solve it. They want to know that if they were getting deported, you may be able to help them. A better caption would be:
Today, we stopped the deportation for our client, Juan! Now he can stay in the United States with his wife and 3 children and continue to work legally with his work permit. We are so happy that we were able to obtain this result. Congratulations, Juan! (and we put up his picture)
Do you see the difference here? One is boring and the other is fun and exciting. One is written for lawyers or people who are into the technical aspects of immigration law, and the other is written for the Ideal Client.
Putting up silly memes about Trump and the election, or something of cultural interest to the client, is also a way to have fun with your page. Doing that shows that you care about the issues, you understand their culture, and that you understand them outside of just their legal problems.
I’ll be speaking all about Marketing and Social Media at the upcoming AILA California Chapters Conference in San Francisco on November 10 and at the AILA Solo and Small Firm Conference in Orlando, Florida on December 8.
About your Ally in Life, Business and Law:
Alexandra "Ally" Kennedy is a national award-winning attorney and the founder of AMIGA Lawyers and Alexandra Kennedy Immigration Law.. After becoming a mother, and in a matter of 3 months, Ally transformed her practice from earning in pesos to earning 6-figures and she is passionate about teaching attorneys how they can do the same. Ally empowers lawyers to be the CEOs of their law firms with her weekly blog, webinars, and conferences where she teaches step-by-step how to do the work they love while running a profitable legal business. Ally lives outside of Seattle with her partner and their 5 children.