Put Yourself Out There — Visually

Law firms need to be on Instagram

Traditionally, attorneys haven’t been ahead of the curve when it comes to social media. But past behavior doesn’t have to inform future decision-making.

Right now, more than a billion users and nearly 71 percent of American businesses are present on the fastest-growing social network of the last year: Instagram. That means more and more attorneys like you are joining the platform and building a greater social presence.

In fact, while Facebook and Twitter get battered in the public eye, Instagram keeps gaining steam. Yes, there are plenty of food and fashion bloggers, celebrities and “sunset heart hands” on the platform, but there’s also a serious marketing opportunity for attorneys.

Because the average person remembers things they see far more often than what they read or hear, focusing your marketing efforts on a visual platform can have a long-term impact.

Of top of that, according to the 2018 Thomson Reuters Consumer Legal Needs Survey, 27 percent of respondents said they learned about an attorney or law firm online via social media. Those numbers show that legal consumers are trusting social media more and more in their research process, and because they’re on Instagram, ignoring the platform means ignoring potential clients.

The road to success on Instagram is paved by knowing your audience, building trust through authenticity and maintaining a cohesive brand image online. Numerous resources are out there about creating your Instagram profile, but here are some ideas specifically for attorneys.

“The sheer volume of people on social media means attorneys should be there,” says Sean Sands, a Thomson Reuters digital marketing expert who speaks with attorneys across the country about social. “Decisions are made here. People are open to finding out information, so if you can provide it to them, you have to.”

Because of this fact, it’s important for attorneys to follow a few tips when looking to reach a new market. This isn’t a quick fix or a plan to get immediate calls. It’s about future-proofing your business.


Build Trust Through Authenticity

First off, know the person or the law firm you want to showcase before you ever start posting. It’s important to remember that what you post anywhere on the internet is a chance to build trust or break it; to establish a consistent brand presence or create confusion; to be authentic or fake. Just like with your law firm website, your office style and your legal directory presence, you need to make choices on Instagram. This is your chance to come off as an approachable and modern attorney or law firm.

Instagram is a great platform if you want potential clients to relate to you. You can provide a bird’s eye view of your daily life and why you’re the right attorney for the job capable of solving client’s legal problems. You can create a visual storyline around your work and your firm that welcomes potential clients behind the scenes.

“Instagram, and social media, is about building a personal relationship,” Sands says. “The way you connect with potential clients is by creating a comfort level with you.”

“One of the main blocks to working with an attorney is fear,” Sands added. “With Instagram, suddenly it feels less scary because it breaks down the wall of experience between attorney and potential client.”

Make sure when you establish your Instagram presence that it’s consistent with how you want your firm viewed and that it connects with what is important to your potential clients. For example, if you’re a family law attorney who wants legal consumers to think of you as caring and compassionate, it might be worth sharing photos of time with your family and friends, or even spending quality time with your clients. If you’re a real estate attorney, take to time to showcase your expertise by answering common questions about your complicated practice area. Either of these ideas can show you know what you’re doing and provide instant value to potential clients.

“People don’t want to be sold to. But most people will only ever seriously consider three law firms, so it’s your job to get on the list.”

Are you heavily invested in pro bono work? Show the when, where and why of your work during something like Pro Bono Week. Do you represent a specific kind of practice area, like motorcycle accident victims? Share pictures your potential clients can relate to, especially if you ride motorcycles too.  Join hashtags around events you’re associated with and topics you’re interested in as well as fit your practice.

Instagram is an opportunity for legal consumers to uncover how your firm functions. By doing so, potential clients can trust you identify with their struggles and that your personality matches what you put online.

“If you’re going to be authentic, then really be authentic,” says Alison Norman, Thomson Reuters product manager for social media products. “People don’t want to be sold to. But most people will only ever seriously consider three law firms, so it’s your job to get on the list.”

Just like any social platform, Instagram takes work to establish a successful presence, but it doesn’t need to happen overnight. If you’d like more information on the best ways to create you Instagram presence, download Super Lawyers’ latest playbook, Not Just for Travel or Food Bloggers: How Top Attorneys Can Use Instagram to Connect with Potential Clients. By taking the time to create a compelling narrative around your work, you can reach an untapped legal consumer market.

So, don’t be afraid to wade into the world of visual storytelling. Just make sure you’re ready to reap the benefits.

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