How to use Instagram to get your law firm noticed
26th September 2018
With the rise of social media, brands and companies alike have been making the most of these platforms in order to reach new and existing customers. And with Instagram boasting over 17 million users in the UK alone, it’s well worth looking into for your law firm.
But for many organisations, Instagram can feel like a bit of an oddity. If your business revolves around, well, business, how can you leverage a photo-based platform when you don’t have anything visual to post?
What is Instagram?
In case you’re unfamiliar with Instagram, it’s an app used for sharing photos and videos from a smartphone. Like other social networks your business may be using, you can like, share, comment, tag, follow users, be followed and private message. You can also add to your Instagram ‘story’ (where after 24 hours your photos and video disappear) or even stream live. You can browse Instagram from a desktop, but generally people prefer to use it on their smartphones. Another thing to note is that links don’t work on Instagram posts, however they can be added to the profile’s bio (their ‘about me’ section).
It’s hard to imagine this kind of platform being so pivotal to a brand, but in a world where everything is online, brands benefit from being able to show potential customers what it is they’re buying into – whether that’s the product, service, staff or even the brand’s personality. It’s this augmented reality that is what the brand is ‘selling’, more so than the actual product or service at times.
"Great support for #WearRedDay from @walkermorrisllp Looking vibrant in red! @childrensheartsurgeryfund"
[Image credit: @walkermorrisllp, Instagram]
Law Firm Ambition recommends keeping your posts about the people in your firm if you don’t necessarily have anything visual to share. “It isn't easy for lawyers and law firms to come up with associated imagery, but it's not impossible either. For many law firms, the obvious choice is to focus on their people. Pictures of smiling staff literally give the firm a face and help create a perception of approachability.
“Take this a step further by aiming for pictures that give an impression of life behind the scenes, rather than the standard posed headshot. Show a picture of your indispensable office manager getting a ten years' service award or blowing out the candles on a birthday cake. Share a picture of your new associate alongside an old picture of your newly-qualified self, twenty years ago.”
Charity involvement and your work in the community also make great snaps for sharing, says Law Firm Ambition. “Snap a picture of the speaker at the Chamber of Commerce meetup, or your junior colleague crossing the finishing line at the fun run. Involvement with charities and community groups naturally lends itself to this sort of picture.”
They also suggest including legal themes too where you can. “Other images might be more directly linked to your legal expertise. For example, you might have a picture of your new publication or a short clip of you starting the keynote speech at a conference. You might decide to tie your imagery to your area of practice, with pictures of landscapes (for an environmental lawyer) or unusual houses (conveyancing).”
Helen Stead, Marketing Manager at Walker Morris LLP also has some content tips that her firm use. “We find pictures from graduate social events, employee social events, CSR events and charity fundraising events, arts sponsorships (such as our Children's Calendar Competition pictures), new appointment releases, press releases with images and anything promotional all work well.
“We also find trends such as Charity Tuesday, Throwback Thursday and Fundraising Friday are all useful in terms of when to post certain pictures (with the appropriate hashtags!).”
If you’re not familiar with hashtags, they can be used to associate the message of your post with a specific topic. For example, if you were posting about a new solicitor joining your firm, you might hashtag ‘#solicitor’ at the end of your post.
“In terms of which are the best hashtags to use,” says Helen, “the trending hashtags change on a daily basis but generics are a good starting point, for example #Lawfirm. Check the auto-suggestions which appear as you type for other suggestions and of course, ensure you tag your own firm. We use quite a range of hashtags to make the firm more searchable.”
If you find yourself getting stuck on what hashtags to use, RiteTag is a great website which shows you the popularity of hashtags in real-time. Just type in a hashtag such as ‘lawfirm’ and it will show you any related hashtags and how popular they are at that given time.
"Our ambassador @themichaelowen certainly looks the part as he prepares for his charity race at Ascot on the 24th November. Good Luck Michael! #michaelowen #jockey #horseracing #ascot"
[Image credit: @gowinglawsolicitors, Instagram]
Advice for newbies
If you’re just starting out on Instagram, Gowing Law Solicitors’ Marketing Executive Rebecca Johnson has a handful of great tips. “Try and post interactive content and make the most of Instagram stories and polls to engage with followers. I would also suggest posting intriguing content such as photos linked to articles available on the firm’s website and use the caption space to invite followers to visit the website to read the full article or view the website for any additional information about any posts. A link to the firm’s website should always be available in the initial bio on the Instagram page. Short 30-second to 1-minute videos also work well.
“Finally, make sure you check your likes and follows to ensure you build up a network of relevant followers.”
The added benefits
As well as finding a new way for your law firm to interact with potential clients, Instagram is a great place to scout people looking to find a new inhouse legal job. Helen told us about some of the success Walker Morris LLP has had from having an account. “We've received a number of enquiries about our graduate training schemes, which reflects the younger demographic that Instagram attracts.
“However, many of the benefits are more intangible, such as increasing your brand awareness and profile, and also reaching a different audience through having a presence on another social media platform.”
Although Instagram is often used for increasing brand awareness as opposed to selling, Rebecca believes that shouldn’t stop a law firm from getting an account. “I feel that it is beneficial for a law firm to have an Instagram account, as it is important to have a strong and relevant presence on all social media platforms regardless of how effective it is for generating business. There are always opportunities to grow through Instagram and make people aware of the business and services provided.”