One of the biggest social media platforms utilized by businesses and entrepreneurs across the world is Instagram. With over 25 million business profiles operating today, organizations are tapping into the huge marketing potential of the platform and growing their reach like never before. Although social media platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Twitter remain popular, Instagram has a number of features that make it prime for legal marketing and its popularity will likely continue growing each year. In fact, a New York Times article published just this week discusses the virtues of Instagram’s uniquely visual platform which younger users tend to prefer. This article will provide a simple overview of benefits lawyers and firms would receive using Instagram as part of an overall marketing strategy, the different markets that Instagram will provide access to, and tips for using the platform professionally and effectively for your practice.
Accessing New Markets and Branding Your Firm
Using Instagram can increase traffic to your firm’s website, as well as greatly expand your existing marketing strategy and broaden the reach of your brand. Instagram’s visual appeal relies on bold images and less on textual descriptions. Thus, carefully curated images and other posts may help your firm gain visibility while becoming more accessible to millions. Such posts may include legal news updates, staff highlights, images of your day to day work environment or office building, or other announcements. These Instagram posts will enable followers to envision your firm’s mission and day to day practice in living color.
Because Instagram is an entirely visual platform, consider carefully the images that you post. While the app provides handy filters for enhancing and improving photos, many brands prefer to have experienced photographers take their pictures and have them professionally enhanced. On the other hand, some would argue that extremely refined or “touched-up” photos may lack authenticity, so some brands choose to post more candid, “no-filter” shots to try to connect with their audience in a different, more personable way. Your approach should fit your firm’s goals and should project the image that you want to present, so choose the images that best represent you.
Because the users on Instagram tend to be younger, using posts to market your practice will allow you to more quickly connect with the next generation of clients and build your brand. Followers that trust and value a thoughtful and engaging account will likely continue to follow you and remember your account as their legal careers, or lives, progress. As your brand grows and your posts gain likes, it becomes more likely that referrals will flow from your diversified social media marketing. Building your account following early will help you stand out from similar firms and show that your attorneys are able to adapt to the needs of different markets.
Tips for Engaging Your Followers
Keeping in mind a few tips will help your practice’s Instagram account blossom:
- Be consistent. Consistency is the key to maintaining a loyal following that will come to trust and grow with your account. Followers need to be able to know that their comments will be seen and acknowledged, and they want content to either entertain or educate them. This leads to the second tip.
- Define your goals. Outline your goals and strategy for your Instagram account. Some followers may use social media for entertainment or games while others may use it for news. You may decide to provide a mix of both which is perfectly fine. Whatever you decide, being consistent and providing quality visual content and responding to your followers will help maximize your reach.
- Use hashtags. Once you have outlined a strategy for your account, create an engaging and captivating caption to add the final touch to your post and draw viewers in to learn more. Instagram users use the search function on the app to look up a hashtag. Thus, hashtags are a way of both cataloging the relevant issues in your post and increasing public exposure of your account. Hashtags also create an opportunity to show that you are knowledgeable about contemporary social and cultural phenomena.
- Use stories. The Stories feature on Instagram is a couple of years old now, but it is quickly gaining popularity. Snapchat initially introduced Stories into the social media consciousness, but Instagram’s adoption of its own stories feature has potentially overtaken the popularity of Snapchat’s Stories. Essentially, Stories allows you to record short video clips and collect them in a central ‘story’ which is accessible from your account or your account’s icon on Instagram. You may want to decide from the outset whether your practice intends to use video and images in your overall Instagram strategy. However, it is a popular tool that you should be aware of.
These tips will hopefully provide a useful starting point as you consider whether or not to launch an Instagram account for your practice. Instagram analytic tools are available to track the growth of your account, but if you have questions about how to take your social media marketing to the next level, Martindale-Hubbell has resources available to assist you.
Of course, any statements from an Instagram or other social media platform may be subject to ABA regulations and your state bar’s ethical regulations on attorney advertising, and you should carefully consider any applicable law before making a post on behalf of your practice. In all, expanding your firm’s social media presence to include Instagram may help take your professional engagement and outreach to the next level. What you need to consider is how Instagram fits into your strategy, what you feel comfortable promoting about your firm (your team, your workspace, etc.) and how the images that you post will reflect on your firm.