What’s the first thing you do when looking for a product or service? If you’re like 81% of people, it will likely be a search on Instagram. A full 50% make a decision based on what they see on the platform.
How is this relevant to your practice? The way people make decisions is changing and you want them to choose you for their legal needs.
Instagram is a social media platform owned by Facebook that is based on visual content and has been growing steadily. This growth made Instagram more than a social network, now it’s also a place for businesses.
Maybe you’re thinking that as an attorney you’re not a business. However, you still need to make people decide to call you and choose you as their lawyer. This makes Instagram the perfect opportunity for you to grow your practice.
Instagram for Lawyers101
Disclaimer: this section was written for those who have never used Instagram before. If that’s not you, jump straight to the next session.
Instagram is an app that is free and allows you to share photos or videos with a caption. Instagram also has a direct message feature to communicate with other users (clients).
The first step is to download the app. To do this, go to Apple App Store or Google Play Store and look for “Instagram”.
Once the download is complete, create your account by entering your email address and choosing a password.
Since this is your first time, take some time to use the platform and get familiar with it. We recommend that you start looking for people whom you like to follow and exploring the features.
Some of the accounts we recommend for you to follow are those of other attorneys and law firms you admire. Also follow people that inspire you, and accounts that have elements you’d like to have in your own account.
Every day you should spend some time scrolling through the feed, watching some stories, and seeing what’s happening on the hashtags you find relevant. This will help you when it comes to content creation.
How to Set up an Account
Once you get familiar with Instagram it is time to get intentional about it. This means you’ll set up your account and optimize it.
The first thing to look at is your username. We recommend that you use as a username your own name and maybe your area of practice (geographic or speciality) or “lawyer”. Using your practice area or “lawyer” will make it easier for your potential clients to find you when they are looking for legal advice in your area.
After creating your username it’s time to think about your profile picture. This picture should make you look professional and, at the same time, approachable.
You will also want to make sure that your picture has a solid background and that people can clearly see your face on it, maybe even with a nice smile.
The next step is your bio. This is where you talk about yourself and is the first impression that people will have about you.
To make it compelling there are formulas you can use like ” I help (the people you help) to… (how you help them) “. You can also use some elements that bring you authority such as your Law School or how long you’ve been a lawyer.
Using the right hashtags it’s also an important part of having an optimized profile. Instagram allows you to add hashtags to your bio but you have to use it wisely. Make sure that you use hashtags that are related and relevant to your audience.
Another important step of setting up your Instagram account is choosing the link you are adding to your bio. It’s important to think strategically when choosing the link you’ll share on your bio since you can only share one link on it.
The other opportunity you have to make a good first impression is on your highlights. Those are Stories you can choose to pin to your profile and they are one of the first things your prospective clients will see when visiting your profile.
You can also set up your account as a business account to have access to different features, such as knowing how many people have seen your stories. These insights become even more powerful if you connect your Instagram account to a Facebook page.
How to Add Local Business Details on Instagram
Information like your address, phone number, and email address can be displayed to your visitors if you set it this way in the public business information section.
Any picture that is posted on Instagram tagging you or your location (in case you added it) will be displayed for the visitors of your Location information. This is a powerful way to manage your reputation. Keep an eye on what people are posting and tagging you and manage any drama, SPAM, or complaints you see happening there.
For most attorneys, the biggest challenge is to create content. But once you get the handle of it, it becomes part of your routine.
The first step to creating interesting content is to understand what your audience (prospective clients) are interested in. You can do this in many different ways and the easiest one is to understand what the clients you already have are interested in.
Once this is done, start creating content about it! What are the most common questions people have about your area? How does it work once people choose you to represent them? What is the routine of an attorney? How have you prepared g yourself to be the best lawyer possible?
We recommend that you introduce yourself to your prospective clients in the first posts of your profile.
After that, the following posts can be about other topics related to your practice. Just keep in mind that Instagram is mainly a visual social media platform so go the extra mile to make your posts eye-pleasing.
You can either record and share a video, take a good picture using your smartphone, or create a beautiful design using software like Canva that allows people with no knowledge of design to create beautiful images.
To add anything to Instagram just tap the plus sign. Then you choose the media you want to add. The next step is to add your caption. Instagram only displays the first three lines of the caption, so make them super catchy to make the user read it to the end.
Another setting you can make when posting is allowing your post to be shared in other accounts linked to Instagram like Facebook or Twitter. But only do this if you are not already posting separately to those accounts.
As an attorney you always need to keep in mind that your state Bar probably has certain regulations to follow, so make sure you are compliant with all of them when posting.
How to use Instagram Stories as a Lawyer
Instagram stories is a feature that allows you to share short videos or pictures that automatically vanish after 24 hours.
This feature is interesting to share routines and create relationships with your followers since they have different ways your audience can interact with you from there.
Making questions, queries, votes, and your followers can answer with a direct message can connect your audience with your content.
Or use different social media strategies to make people engage with your content. A strategy to bring more viewers to your stories is by, for example, sharing a list on your feed and stating that the last elements of it are in the stories.
You can also make people become more engaged with you by helping them engage with your stories. Opening a question box is a good way to do that because then you are creating value at the same time you help them perceive you as an authority.
Now it’s your time to shine. Create your account and use all the guidance you just had to make your way to success shorter.