What Ethan Wall Thinks Lawyers Should Know About Social Media

Ethan Wall is the founder of Social Media Law and Order where he provides social media marketing for law firms. He is also a social media lawyer who has written multiple books on social media marketing for lawyers.

Prior to founding Social Media Law and Order, Wall worked as an Internet attorney and keynote speaker. Wall advises lawyers and law firms how to use social media to acheive their business objectives while also complying with attorney advertising ethics rules.  

We had a chance to speak with Wall about how lawyers and law firms can use social media to attract new clients. 


Can law firms really get new clients through social media?

Absolutely. I built my entire practice using social media as the only marketing tool. People spend more time on Facebook than any other website, including Google. Using social media is necessary for attracting clients today. It is a great client generation tool, and law firms that haven’t come into the 21st century and built their digital presence will have a hard time competing.

People are turning to the Internet to find legal services. When they can’t find your law firm on social media, or the information is outdated and doesn’t look good, they will go somewhere else. Social media is incredibly powerful. If you are not using, then your competitors are using it.

“If your law firm does not already have a social media presence, then you are already behind the eight ball. Your firm may survive on existing clients and referrals, but there will come a time where if you don’t step into the digital age, your firm is going to fall behind.”


What should law firms without a social media presence do first? Create a profile?

I don’t think that creating a profile is the first step. Social media profiles are tools to accomplish a particular business objective. The first thing you do is figure out your goals and objectives, then develop a plan of how to accomplish those goals and objectives. People don’t just open a toolbox and start hammering away.

Start with the end in mind. Determine your ultimate goals and objectives and figure out how social media can be used to accomplish those goals and objectives.

Until you figure out goals and put a plan in place to accomplish those goals it is going to be difficult to determine which social media profile you are going to use. 


What kind of content should law firms post on their social media profiles?

Law firms need to have content that catches their followers’ attention. There needs to be a visual element that makes a good impression and helps people get to know you. The first thing law firms need is high quality photography. From the outset of a marketing campaign, law firms should determine what kind of photos would fit into their marketing objectives. 

Video content is second. There are all sort of statistics out there that say video content gets more engagement than photography. People enjoy watching video content, and lawyers can leverage videos to educate and connect with clients. Lawyers can build trust with their followers. They are educating followers, not selling them.

Lawyers can also use video to create lifestyle pieces, to tell their story and why they do what they do.

The third kind of content is educational content. You can link back to your website or blog. Your website should be optimized to convert those visitors into clients. You can also send more targeted ad messages to those visitors at a later date now that you know they are interested in your services.

If you are immediately trying to sell, that doesn’t resonate with people anymore. People hire lawyers they can trust. By sharing helpful information, you are building that trust. 

The last kind of content lawyers can share is advertising content. You can post to a law review article you wrote, a case that you won, or a podcast you were featured on. These ads can be targeted to specific audiences that fit your target client so that your content will resonate with them and lead them to contacting you for help.


What are the biggest mistakes you see law firms make when it comes to social media?

The biggest mistake that lawyers make on social media is complaining about opposing counsel and their clients on social media. Lawyers must remember that their social media profiles are a reflection of themselves and their law firms. They are always subject to the rules governing professional conduct. If lawyers do not know the ethics rules governing legal advertising, or if they hire a marketing company that doesn’t understand legal rules, they may violate advertising rules.


More marketing tips for law firms:

A Content Marketing Strategy For Law Firms That Works

How Should Lawyers Respond To Negative Online Reviews

A Quick Intro To Online Reviews For Lawyers

Why Lawyers Need To Claim Their Avvo Profiles


Tyler Roberts is an editor for The National Jurist. You can follow him on Twitter at @wtylerroberts