Thursday Thinkpiece: Siskind and McMurray on Social Media Marketing

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Gregory H. Siskind and Deborah McMurray

© 2017 American Bar Association. All rights reserved. Slaw readers can receive a 10% discount on purchase of this book. Use the discount code LGTMARKETING at checkout; this offer is valid from 5/1-8/31.

Excerpt: Chapter 11, pgs. 137 – 139

The entire contents of chapter 11 may be also be downloaded in PDF format. (2.9 MB)



Deciding to use social media and learning the ins and outs of the different tools is just the beginning. The next step is to determine what you are actually going to post on these different sites. At the most basic level, you should fully complete your profiles on sites like LinkedIn and Avvo, so that people searching these sites for lawyers in your specialty and geography find you. But if you are looking to produce content on social media, here are a few ideas to successfully engage with your audience:
1. Be a newscaster

Even if you do not have time to do a lot of original writing, you are surely keeping up with developments in your field and in the news generally, which may be important to your clients and referral sources. Simply posting the link to a news article, an interesting case, an article written by another lawyer, or a new regulation or piece of legislation along with a few words describing why the news is important will help establish you as a resource in your field.

2. Use social media as part of your advocacy marketing strategy

Advocating on behalf of your clients by promoting changing laws and regulations is a great way to promote your practice. And it gives you great satisfaction when you are helping to effect change. Social media is a great way to channel those efforts and get out your advocacy message. Follow pundits and journalists covering the beat where you are advocating, activists in your field, legislators pushing relevant bills, lobbyists working on your issues, and certainly opponents of your issues. Your goal is to get a regular stream of information so that you are thoroughly informed. Add comments and repost those posts that further your cause.
3. Use social media to help out the organizations and clients you serve

Most lawyers are active in various associations such as bar organizations, chambers of commerce, and non-profits that serve their communities. And many of those organizations rely on social media to get their messages out. Follow them. And, they will surely follow you back. Repost their messages. You will garner goodwill by helping in their communications efforts and you may find that you get reposted as well. We have found, in particular, that bar organizations will repost interesting commentary by their members.

Also consider reposting your clients’ posts. Be careful, of course, to consult with them before posting. For example, if you are a criminal lawyer, a client might not want people to know they even know you. But there are circumstances where this is a good strategy. If you do a lot of work for startup companies, for example, when those companies have positive news to report, they will appreciate you posting about them. Again, whenever you have communications that involve clients, make sure you are cognizant of ethics responsibilities.

4. Use social media to communicate with journalists

One of our surprises with social media is just how easy it is to communicate with reporters and publishers. Many journalists will have conversations with people via social media, and if you are someone who has interesting things to say about the subject they cover, do not be surprised to get a quick response (and a subsequent “follow”). Twitter is particularly good for this. Reporters will often post a story they wrote and then engage in conversation with readers.

Once you build social media relationships with reporters, you will find that you have an easy way to communicate story tips. And reporters may contact you to ask follow-up questions about your posts. There is still a place for old-fashioned press releases, but the odds of getting a reporter’s attention are improved if they follow you on social media and you can send them a direct message.

5. Use social media to amplify your other content

If you spend a lot of time writing articles, blog posts, newsletters, etc., then you certainly want to maximize the exposure of your writing. You have no doubt seen the social media “share” buttons adjacent to articles you see on the web. Your own blog posts and online articles have those buttons—remember to move them into your various social media accounts. This takes almost no effort and is a great way to get people to read your longer form writing.

Co-author Greg Siskind’s blog at has a social media bar at the bottom of each post to allow posts to be shared on various social networks and e-mailed to others. You can post a link on your various social networks by clicking the buttons.

6. Use social media to have some fun

Some of the best people to follow on social media are those who post serious, informative content, but who also post about things that have nothing to do with their day jobs. Every now and then, post about things you find interesting that have nothing to do with the law. People like to know you are not all business all the time. It is not unlike a cocktail party where you chat about your out-of-office interests. These days, people are less afraid to delve into “taboo” topics. It used to be a complete no-no to talk
to strangers about your views on politics, religion, and sex, for example, or to use foul language. Today, it seems like nothing’s off limits. But be careful about over-sharing and filter what you say. Or reserve certain social media as a place where you are not trying to develop business. For example, many people use their personal Facebook pages only for their personal lives, and they are not letting people in who are not their friends or family members. If you need to rant about something, post it there, rather than on LinkedIn where you are trying to maintain a consistently professional image.

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