Coming up with new ideas for your law firm’s LinkedIn feed can be tough, but inspiration is everywhere. If you ever watched “Clueless” or “Ten Things I Hate About You” and knew exactly which clique you would hang out with, here are some social media content prompts for all you nerds, jocks, popular kids and rebels.
Step One: Identify the Top Content Cliques
The Breakfast Club. Mean Girls. High School Musical. These decade-defining movies see their plucky young protagonists first identifying the main social groups that make up their high schools, struggling to be part of a specific segment, and finally realizing how being their authentic selves offers the best way forward. Without knowing it, these storylines predict/mirror the journey many law firms experience as they strive to be part of — and stand out from — a multi-faceted, intertwined virtual society. Just like high school.
The Brains: Educational & Thought-Provoking
Academically inclined students took school seriously, had a love for learning and, as a result, were always top of their class. If this sounds like you, chances are your social media feeds are curated with informative and insightful content that sparks curiosity and expands knowledge. We have a feeling that creating thought leadership pieces — articles, blogs, videos and podcasts — comes naturally to you.
PROMPTS TO CONSIDER
- What’s new in your industry?
- What were the last few questions a client asked you that could be answered generally? (And are likely to be on someone else’s mind, as well)
- Can you draw helpful correlations between your experience and themes, such as popular kids’ movies or TV shows, candy bar flavors, cities, or music genres?
- Try organizing some of your standard advice into a valuable top # list, e.g., “Top 10 Things to Do to Impress the Judge,” “Top Three Ways to Survive a Lawsuit,” “Top Five Ways to Lawsuit-Proof Your Business,” “Number One Thing to Avoid When Filing Your Business Tax,” etc.
BEST PRACTICES TO FOLLOW
When drafting an article/blog or storyboarding a video to showcase your thought leadership, keep the mainstream audience in mind. You should be able to answer the “So what?!” question as it applies to even the driest of legal updates. When your contributions are easily understood and actionable, your content becomes a helpful resource and can be shared beyond your current network.
Even the most well-written legal update might not result in the social media engagement you were hoping for. Don’t be discouraged! The average LinkedIn (or any platform) user prefers human interest stories to other types of content. Thought leadership will always be valuable and repurposable, but attorneys should also consider adding one or more of the following content types to their personal production list.
The Jocks: Live Action & Sports
Great news for the athletics-obsessed: Team sports are still relevant in law firm life, and many firms use these activities to strategically deepen relationships with clients, referral sources and community leaders. From golf to football and baseball to community-oriented runs/walks, if you feel most comfortable on the move, you may want to build a business development plan with this focus.
PROMPTS TO CONSIDER
- What activities do your top 10 existing clients and/or referral sources enjoy? (Don’t know? Check out their social media feeds.)
- What activities do your top 10 potential clients and/or referral sources enjoy? (Don’t know? Check out their social media feeds.)
- Are there activities that would allow you to make useful introductions between your client and someone they want to meet in a more casual setting?
- Is it possible to combine your community service, charitable efforts and (if applicable) parental obligations with your sports interests?
- Can you measure the return on these games? NOTE: This is not always direct business, but could look like increased access, introductions, inclusion in opportunities and so on.
BEST PRACTICES TO FOLLOW
When featuring sports activities in your law firm’s social media feed, candid photos are a must. Yes, a generic picture with the team logo could be featured, but those smiling real-time images convey the spirit of the day and the camaraderie of the players, and are a welcome break to the social scroller. Be sure to get everyone’s name for tagging purposes, and don’t be afraid to include any friendly inside jokes/challenges.
Avoid photos without people. There is a temptation to take a photo of the firm’s logo on a small sign near a golf hole — Hey! We sponsored this. — but it won’t do much to elevate the firm brand or celebrate the lawyers and guests. Conversely, be careful with the boozy pictures, whether in the stands or on the drinks cart. Pictures do speak a thousand words, and nobody wants to listen to drunken slurring.
The Populars: Glamor & Glory
Ah, the popular kids — those impossibly beautiful people with already highly developed social skills. Because law firms and lawyers serve businesses and individuals of every social stratum, your skills will give you a definite edge when it comes to navigating glitzy galas and red carpet events or earning nominations for industry accolades and awards. You should be proud to be part of an advancement mission and grateful to be considered for an award. These are excellent moments to uplift those around you while celebrating your own accomplishments.
PROMPTS TO CONSIDER
- How does an appearance at an event support the firm’s mission — legal experience, charitable service, DEI, innovation, etc. — and elevate its attorneys? Be sure to include those angles in the caption.
- Does every law firm attendee have a mix-’n’-mingle plan? The more prepared everyone is, the more ground can be covered, and more mentions celebrated.
- Does it make sense for any professional staff — such as the C-suite and others — to attend? Staff inclusion expands the reach of a post into often-unexplored territories.
- What’s the post-event follow-up plan? Every event offers the chance for a multi-post campaign, but it’s not always right or feasible.
Much like images from sporting events, candid photos from these events are social media gold. Make sure every attendee from the law firm knows to take a mix of selfies and posed group shots, avoids having foregrounds of half-eaten meals and empty glassware, and invites all friends of the firm to be in the shot. If you have numerous photos showing the attorneys with the movers and shakers of an industry or a community, compile them into a simple animation. The algorithm counts this animation as a video, and video rules in social media.
If you are new to social media, please know that the phrase “humbled and honored” can be viewed as disingenuous and can even be openly mocked in the comment section of a post with that statement. This doesn’t happen often on LinkedIn, but it has been seen on Facebook and X, formerly known as Twitter.
The Rebels: Think Different
Just like those misfits who defied classification in high school, your approach may be entirely unique but still effective. How you showcase the firm’s story, its service to clients and even your own contributions may involve a large-scale corporate video outlining the firm’s history and hopes for the future, a chili cookoff event pitting the skills of firm management against first-year associates, a musical parody produced with summer associates, or an ongoing social media series featuring potential lawsuits against various scenarios in popular movies. (Check out @thehigginsfirm’s ongoing Asking Lawyers Important Legal Questions series on Instagram for hilarious examples.)
PROMPTS TO CONSIDER
- Are there ways to discuss the law through the lens of other areas of your life, such as parenting, hobbies, news sources or entertainment?
- Can you take content created in one arena and translate it to another, i.e, a CLE presentation to an infographic or a whitepaper to a top 10 list?
- Do you have a client or referral source who could join in a he said/she said discussion — written or video — about a general business issue?
At Jaffe, we’re big fans of different. We also know that, if you’ve never done it before, there is a learning curve, which can be costly. Whether in dollars, time or both, make sure you loop in the leaders of teams — technology, marketing, accounting, recruiting — who can help you evaluate how best to bring something new to life. With a little additional support, teams can be staffed, obstacles removed, and forward momentum achieved.
Make sure you’re not being so edgy that your message doesn’t reach its intended audience. Sometimes, the comfortable familiarity of how a message is packaged allows a new point within that message to be appreciated. Also, be prepared to navigate the firm’s approval process to get these unorthodox posts blessed before moving forward.
Step Two: Welcome All Content Cliques to the Firm’s Feed
It’s safe to say that most laws firms have lawyers who excel in producing content aligned with at least one of the aforementioned cliques. Now, it’s simply a matter of corralling that content for display on the firm’s corporate social media profile, and showing a well-rounded, fully realized culture of service to the world.
PROMPTS TO CONSIDER
- What are the firm’s top business priorities this year? Have any of the cliques produced content that speaks to these?
- What are the firm’s major initiatives, e.g., DEI, innovation, technology, etc.? Does commentary on these appear monthly?
- Refer to your firm’s branding guidelines to determine the tone of your storytelling.
- Eliminate distance-increasing verbiage by using “our” language: our firm, our attorneys, our clients, our community, our own [insert individual’s name].
- Showcase everyone in your firm — lawyers, paralegals and business professionals — not just rainmakers and extroverts.
- Avoid back-to-back posts featuring the same attorney, practice area and/or type of content.
- Brand the majority of imagery featured in the social media feed.
When you first begin to intentionally include content from every clique, managing your posting schedule may feel overwhelming. It’s important to remember that the algorithm rewards consistency, so once you have hit your three to five times a week goal for the month, adding the occasional extra post is an option. Until that initial goal is met, however, prioritize content that is actually time sensitive, and keep other news more flexible.
Love all the ideas in this article, and want to brainstorm even more for your law firm’s social media feed? Reach out to me, Steph Maher, at firstname.lastname@example.org.