Because many people believe that social media is used mostly for private communication, many lawyers are skeptical in sense of using it for their professional activity, believing that social media is waste of time bringing to less results in their practice. Despite this today we notice the ascending trend in lawyers’ activity through the social media which is already a common thing of our life.
There are three main benefits why lawyers are using social media: first one is professional development, second is networking and last one is promotion of own reputation (under that jurisdictions which allow that). In this regard, there are benefits arising from the ability to communicate about their services and skills by twitting or blogging answers in social media groups, forums etc. Networking provides a real opportunity for direct communication and interaction between lawyers and their clients. Also, this thing allows layers to break geographical barriers and work with clients from distance. Last but not least is using of social media platform for promotion of own business reputation and professionalism. In fact, this is sort of hidden advertising which helps lawyers to promote their brand and reputation.
According to the results of the recent 2017  Survey Report conducted by the US legal practice website Attorney at Work that reflects on the social media habits, preferences and attitudes of our colleagues, more and more lawyers are using social media to promote their professional goals.
The report found that: 96% of responding lawyers say they use social media. LinkedIn is the no. 1 among lawyers with 84% responding they use it regularly. A bit behind is Facebook with 80% and the third place is for Twitter with 59%. When asked which platform they use most often, Facebook came out on top: 48% of the lawyers named Facebook compared with 27% who said they spend more time on LinkedIn. Facebook took first place as platform most effective for bringing in business — at 31%; LinkedIn second at 27%.
Don’t forget about other social media as Instagram, Twitter or Google+ which are also quite popular in other parts of the Globe.
The Ways Lawyers are using social media for business
a. Promoting Legal Firm or Lawyer’s reputation
i. Promoting a page – there are many jurisdictions where open advertising of the lawyers of legal first is prohibited, if this is not your case then you have a great opportunity to create and promote your legal firm by Facebook by creating a page. There were published so many tutorials on the promotion on the social media and this makes me skip this issue.
ii. Link a page to group – Another goal is to create a community around your page, and here you are able to do this by linking the page to the Group on Facebook managed by you. So, you get more target audience concentrated around your page by being members of your group.
iii. share & comment your niche news – In recent years, social platforms have become platforms to the news, including legal news and news about legal professions. There are many cases when lawyers are building their reputation by sharing and commenting on the latest news in their field of interest. Or, some of legal firms use to publish articles and legal analysis on social media on various topics of their fields of activity
b. Using hashtags
Some lawyers are taking advantage of already trending hashtags to broaden their reach on social media. Hashtags are common for many social media as Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
Hashtags are commonly used for events and promotion of services or products, as well as to help communicate with other people. Using hashtags is a powerful technique for reaching people outside of an individual or firm’s personal or business networks because posts will be seen by anyone who searches for that hashtag, even that person doesn’t follow your firm’s page or account.
c. Tagging persons, services, places
If you are going to promote an event, or you are posting anything related to an event, especially pictures, or some content, it could be very nice gesture to tag people who attended that event. This way they know that you posted about the event and they can view whatever it is that you posted. This also gives the opportunity for the people that follow them to see the post, and this step increase the chances for viewing the post by other people on social media.
We use tagging on social media for certain important reasons:
• Increase the reach of your social media marketing by encouraging others to share it;
• To include someone who was at an event;
• Alerting someone when you talk about them;
• Give credit where credit is due.
d. Using QR code in social media
A QR code is a two-dimensional code that can include text, links or other information that can be read by smartphones and some camera equipped cell phones. This means that a user can scan your code with their mobile device and be delivered straight to a specific page.
Provide users with a simple “scan-able” action step by showcasing a QR code. Instead of giving users a more passive message like “Find Us” take the direct approach and post a QR code where users can take direct actions. The code can be applied on the image related to your post or separately as a post itself.
While QR codes can be a great tool, it is also important to remember that not all visitors may have the proper equipment so add URLs so those people can make that connection when back on their computers.
e. Promoting a blog
According to mycase.com 26% of US law firms maintained a legal blog in 2016, up from 22% in 2015. And social media platforms are great places to promote a blog and bring in traffic. But some legal blogs are better than others at attracting social community interest.
It important to use your Firm’s blog as a “storytelling platform”, not a place with pretty sophisticated legal arguments for non-lawyer readers. This will help you to boost traffic.
f. Respect to Ethics
One of the most important part of using the social media by lawyers is respect to ethical guidelines since the social media makes your possible mistakes to be seen publicly. So that is why is so important to keep the eye on future content of the posts in social media and check twice if there are some personal data, or another non-public information. Some jurisdictions’ Bar Associations have already issued Social Media Ethics Guidelines as the New York State Bar Association  did. And this is probably a very good example for others to follow.