You don’t need a big budget or a big team to have a successful social media strategy at a law firm. In fact, I see so many big law firms with lots of followers on their social channels that aren’t maximizing their social media presences. Being successful on social media today in professional services takes planning, creativity, research and good writing skills and participation from the lawyers and your employees.

There are advantages to being at a smaller law firm because you have less bureaucracy to move campaigns forward, and the ability to be nimbler and more innovative with what you post and how quickly you can bring it to market but the challenge is that you have less content with which to work. But that being said, large law firms can have lots of success with social media as well especially since they have no shortage of content to promote.

Here are 20 effective social media best practices for any size law firm. Note all of these suggestions are free to do!

  1. Take the time to create a strong LinkedIn profile utilizing all of the new tools – such as the featured section – and optimizing your about section, headline and cover image. Everyone is looking at your profile whether or not you think they are. Your LinkedIn profile is either your first or second Google search result so take the time to build a strong profile.
  2. Only focus on the social media channels used by your clients and prospects. Don’t stretch yourself thin for no reason or because you think you need to have certain social channels. For most small firms, this will be LinkedIn and maybe Twitter or Facebook or Instagram. You don’t need to be on all of the channels.
  3. Adjust the message for the social medium – so if you are using more than one social channel, you’ll want to edit your copy (and imagery) to make sure it is in the style and tone of that platform. One size doesn’t fit all.
  4. Focus on creating high-quality, helpful, timely content written in client-centric (non-legalese) language.
  5. Tell stories and use case studies in your social posts to draw in your readers.
  6. Spend the time to build your social media company profiles – such as the about/bio sections and taking time to create compelling header imagery. There are many tools available to company administrators of which you should take advantage (such as promoting your events and exporting your company page followers).
  7. Create a social media plan (with an editorial calendar) so you can schedule/plan out your content.
  8. Reuse and purpose your high performing content – use your analytics to help you find these posts.
  9. Develop a hashtag strategy and keep a running list of the top hashtags in each of your top practices and industries for easy future reference (use no more than 5 hashtags per post on LinkedIn and place them at the end of a post).
  10. Follow the social networks of your competitors for ideas and intelligence.
  11. Proofread everything closely before posting (you can edit the text in a LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram post once it’s live but not a Twitter post. Note that you can’t edit a photo you’ve added to a post on any platform).
  12. Use URL shorteners in each post (such as bitly) so you can save precious character count and track post engagement.
  13. Create custom images for each post that include your logo and key contact info – extra points if you can create an infographic, chart or other compelling visual to bring your content to life.
  14. Vary up your content by using video and podcasts.
  15. Ensure your employees are trained in how to use social media – so you can tap into their valuable social networks and engage them to share your company posts with their connections.
  16. Take advantage of LinkedIn company page tools – such as posting events directly on your page, inviting your contacts to follow your page and periodically downloading your followers so you can make sure they are on your firmwide email list too.
  17. Make evergreen content an integral part of your content strategy – these are timeless blog posts and client alerts on recurring topics and issues faced by your clients that can be used over and over.
  18. Create a social media series focusing on lawyers where you highlight their biographical information and link back to their bios. Do the same with your key practices and industry groups, creating a practice spotlight series to ensure your followers know you do work in these areas.
  19. Use holidays to your advantage throughout the year – there’s a holiday every single month that you can use to promote your firm and people and the good works you do for the community – from Women’s History Month to Veterans Day to Earth Day and countless others.
  20. Create a TBT (Throwback Thursday) or FBF (Flashback Friday) series where you post photos or firm history from the past – it gives you a great opportunity to reuse information that you already have.

Any size firm can use these tips to enhance their social media marketing efforts and build their brands and more effectively engage with their clients and prospects. The best part is that none of these tips cost anything to do – they only require a bit of creativity and effort.