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While Instagram started as the social network for sharing photos with a personal or “artistic” touch, it has become a strong marketing tool for companies, including law firms, looking to strengthen their brand and increase their marketing opportunities. Check this post out for tips on using Instagram to reach potential clients.
For quite some time, Instagram has been a preferred social network for sharing visual content – photographs and videos – depicting users’ daily lives. When browsing Instagram, you can enjoy amazing photos of an endless number of things: food, pets, new babies, families, landscapes, social gatherings, and more.
Even in the app’s early days, Instagram’s photo editing features that allowed people to modify photographs and videos by applying filters and adjusting other elements (such as brightness, contrast, and sharpness) drew attention and attracted new users. In time, Instagram became one of the most popular, preferred social media channels and just two years after the app’s launch Facebook bought the company in 2012 for approximately one billion dollars.
In 2019, Instagram had nearly one billion active users each month and boasted 500 million daily users. According to WebStrategies, Instagram offers the most interaction between users and companies with somewhere between two and seven percent of users interacting with content shared by brands and products.
These numbers talk. Estimates indicate that approximately 71% of companies in the United States have an Instagram profile for interacting with consumers and potential customers. However, it seems that lawyers are frequently missing out on this opportunity that other industries have begun using to achieve their goals.
A Good2bSocial survey of 200 law firms indicated that 31% of law firms now have an active profile on social media, while the 2020 ABA Legal Technology Survey indicated only 12% of lawyers in firms with 2-9 attorneys and 13% of lawyers in larger firms reported using Instagram for law firm marketing. Nonetheless, the firms that reported using Instagram in the Good2bSocial survey reported that they’ve attracted nearly 10,000 followers with a strong involvement in their content.
Perhaps the slow adoption in law firms is because it often remains unclear to many attorneys why a law firm would participate in a social network that is built upon visual content like photos. However, this slow adoption means that lawyers who start using Instagram now are ahead of the curve by capitalizing on this opportunity.
Keep reading this post to learn more about the basic steps you must follow to create your Instagram account, as well as to get a few recommendations on how to leverage your new Instagram presence into an ideal marketing tool for your law firm.
Creating Your Law Firm’s Instagram Account
The process of creating your law firm Instagram account is relatively simple, and if you have a personal account, you probably already know what you need to do. First, sign up for your account. Simply fill in the required fields, such as email address, name, username, and password.
Instagram does allow one user to operate multiple accounts. However, we recommend keeping your personal account separate from your law firm account to simplify the content management process. Should you choose to manage your accounts together, be very careful when sharing content, as you do not want to inadvertently share a personal photo on your professional account.
When you finish completing the required fields, Instagram will send a verification code to the registered phone or email. This code is intended to avoid misuse by ensuring that you control your new account. Verifying this information is important because you do not want someone to misuse an account in your law firm’s name, thereby damaging your image and reputation.
Done! Once you’ve completed these steps, your account has been created. The next step is completing your law firm’s profile.
Completing Your Profile Information
On the main page for your newly created account, click Edit Profile (next to your name), so you can fill in the remaining profile information. If your law firm already uses another social media site, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook, be sure to keep your information consistent across these accounts and on your new Instagram profile. This helps lend credibility to each of your profiles and strengthens your brand.
The first item you should edit is your profile photo. As mentioned above, consistency across your various profiles is important, so try to use the same profile image you have on other social media channels. This may be your law firm logo, a staff photo, or your own (professional) picture. Make sure the photo is at least 180px by 180px.
Next, you should edit your name and username. Ideally, you want this to correspond to the name of your law firm, even better if it also matches your other law firm profiles, such as Twitter. Include the website you want your potential clients to visit to learn more about you and your practice.
Your biography field (bio) is one of the most important spaces to complete because it allows you to briefly (in 150 characters), tell your clients more about your law firm, your areas of practice, and any other relevant, important information about your practice.
Professional Instagram Account
After you complete your basic account details, it is time to take your law firm account to the next level. That is, convert it into a Professional Account or Business Account.
With a Professional Account, you can access additional functions and features, such as options to include complete contact information, advertising and promotions tools for promoting your firm, and Instagram Analytics tools to learn more about your posts and your audience.
Within the account configuration page, select “Switch to Professional Account” from the options bar. You will need to follow certain steps to properly convert and complete your firm’s account.
The first thing you should do is select a type of profile for your professional account: Creator or Business. In the case of a law firm, you should choose a Business profile.
Then, you will need to select your business category. You can choose from generally applicable categories, such as “Lawyers and Law Firms”, “Legal Services”, as well as more specific categories tied to a practice area.
The last step in setting up your Professional Account is adding your law firm’s contact information. Here you can include your law firm’s address, telephone number, and email address. Carefully ensure this information is accurate because it will be the way your potential clients learn how and where to contact you.
Using Your New Instagram Law Firm Account
Now that your law firm’s Instagram account is set up, you’re ready to start sharing content to generate interest with followers and clients. You should use your account consistently to effectively grow your reach. With a little bit of advanced planning and a strong strategy, Instagram will allow you to interact with various audiences: potential clients, the community, colleagues, and even possible collaborators that can push your practice’s reach even further. There is plenty to communicate through the photos and videos shared via your firm’s Instagram account.
Here are our tips and recommendations for using your new Instagram account into the future:
- Be approachable: Sometimes the legal profession can feel distant and cold, especially to non-lawyers or people who are new to the law. Sharing what happens behind the scenes of your office, allows you to overcome this barrier. Showcase photos of your staff working as a team. Include images of your office environment (inside and out). Give a glimpse into some of your firm’s social gatherings, such as team lunches or holiday celebrations. Consider offering a few personal details about you and your team, such as new members of the family, engagements, awards, and more. All of these details can offer a closer glimpse of law firm life that makes the professional seem more accessible and creates a warm image of your law firm that build a closer connection with current and potential clients.
- Build a sense of community: If your law firm participates in projects benefiting your community, Instagram is the perfect forum to demonstrate it. This gives your followers a glimpse into your law firm culture and demonstrates a positive community to your local community. If you are a larger firm, this can be extremely powerful in connecting your business to the regions you serve.
- Leverage recruiting opportunities: When you demonstrate what happens in your offices – the work environment, your social commitment, your firm culture, and your practice’s ethics – you are opening the door to new talent to offer a glimpse into what working with you is like. This can help lateral attorneys and recent graduates better relate to your law firm and envision themselves working as part of your team.
- Showcase your experience: Instagram is a great tool for sharing advice and quick tips about your area of practice and the law in general. Sharing tips and general comments on hypothetical situations and current events can help you build a reputation with potential clients looking for answers. This demonstrated expertise may also encourage your followers to contact you in the future if they happen to find themselves in need of legal assistance. Of course, you must always remember your ethical obligations to ensure client confidentiality and ensure any content you share does not violate any rules of professional conduct for your jurisdiction.
Leverage video: Not all of your Instagram content should be photos. Video allows you to speak more directly to your audience, share experiences, comment on legal issues, and educate the public. Fortunately, Instagram offers multiple ways to share video content with your followers:
- Instagram Stories allow you to post short videos (and photos) that will disappear from the network in 24 hours unless you choose to add these to your profile as a story highlight. Story highlights can remain on your profile indefinitely.
- Instagram Reels allows you to share longer videos that are not considered temporary in the same way that Instagram Stories are. Think of these as similar to the short-form videos you would see on TikTok and other platforms.
- You can also make use of Instagram TV (IGTV), where the videos can be up to 15 minutes long. This makes IGTV a great channel for presenting content with longer exposure times.
Finally, Instagram Live allows you to broadcast live at the exact moment you want. This functionality allows you to have more direct interactions with your followers, such as question and answer sessions.
Here is a practical guide to help you better understand how to leverage video content on Instagram.
Take advantage of hashtags: Hashtags, also known in the pre-social media area as the number or pound sign (#), are used to group common themes and allow users to find more information on topics they are browsing. Hashtags increase the odds that people who are unfamiliar with your firm will come across your content.
We suggest using hashtags for your practice area (#DivorceAttorneys), location (#DallasLawyers), or even both (#DallasDivorceAttorneys). You should also tailor your hashtags for individual posts. For example, if you post about a recent United States Supreme Court case, you should use #SCOTUS. Over time, you may want to consider creating a branded hashtag for your firm using your firm name (#DoeandSmith) or slogan (#GetDoe) to group posts about your firm and encourage interaction from your followers.
In addition to these recommendations, you can watch your competitors and other firms in your area to watch what they are doing. Follow local personalities, such as news anchors, leading legal authorities, and government associations to expand your network to new potential followers. Keep an eye on the brands and companies that inspire you, so you can continue to learn more about Instagram and changing trends.
Over time, consistently using your account and leveraging a strong content mix with appropriate keywords and hashtags will help you build your following. However, this process takes time. If you want more tips on growing your following in unique ways, check out this resource.
Final Thoughts: Why Do You Care?
Getting followers and building your law firm’s reputation on Instagram can take time, but with a solid strategy, adequate planning, and consistent execution you can leverage this network to reach potential clients while strengthening your brand. Offering this different point of view and perspective into your firm can help you better build close connections with clients and the community, demonstrate your knowledge, and ultimately achieve your firm’s goals.