Paid Ads and Social for Lawyers

by | Marketing

How paid social can help you grow your practice

In today’s digital-first world, more and more of your ideal clients now find their attorneys (you guessed it) online.

And while you may feel some nostalgia for the simpler times of the past, an online-first approach to marketing offers your firm opportunities the lawyers of yesteryear could have only dreamed of. 

Think of it this way: that positive word-of-mouth buzz doesn’t have to travel directly from prospect to prospect anymore. Instead, you can beam those glowing testimonials straight into your ideal clients’ Facebook or LinkedIn feeds. 

And that gives you a huge audience: as of October 2021, 4.55 billion users are active on social media, and those users spend an average of over two hours posting, scrolling, and checking their feeds every day

It’s like the difference between snail mail and email. Sure, physically mailing a letter worked (at least most of the time), and it continues to work—but think of how much more efficiently your firm now runs with the power to send messages to multiple people instantly. 

It’s time for your marketing efforts to take that same leap. Social media marketing allows you to take control of your firm’s growth by:

  • Expanding your law firm’s reach and exposure
  • Increasing your leads and guiding those leads toward signing on as new clients
  • Keeping your services top of mind with clients you’ve already served
  • Targeting your marketing efforts precisely, so your posts get in front of people who need legal help in your practice area

And best of all? Social media marketing campaigns—including paid campaigns—are easily scalable to your firm’s marketing budget, so you can see a return on investment even if you have limited money to spend.

Okay, but why paid social?

We know what some of you may be thinking: Our firm already has a Twitter account, a Facebook presence, and a regularly updated LinkedIn page. Do we really need to pay for social marketing on top of that?

The answer to that question will depend on your firm’s goals, of course—but if the goal is to see a maximum return on your investment and grow your law firm faster, the answer is a resounding yes. 

That’s because organic social, while useful, also comes with a number of significant drawbacks. 

Limitations of purely organic social

Remember what we said above about all those billions of users? Almost every organization with any sort of online presence is already vying for their attention on social media—all at once.

And that’s true even when it comes to competing law firms. As of last year, 81% of law firms and independent lawyers reported having some kind of social media presence. That’s a lot of competition for your ideal clients’ attention, and it’s easy for your posts to get lost in the stormy sea of new content. 

Then there’s also the problem of targeting. 

Your organic social media accounts grow, well . . . organically. People either stumble onto them or choose to follow you because they’ve already heard of your practice through other channels. 

And that’s not a great way to get your practice in front of the right eyes. If you want your practice to grow, you need new people to find your social media content consistently, and you need those people to be qualified as leads.

If your practice specializes in estate planning, for example, it doesn’t do you a whole lot of good to get clicks from carefree, single young twenty-somethings. Instead, you need to find leads who have enough assets—and motivation to protect them—to be thinking about passing on their estate. 

Another issue with organic social? The reach. Social media platforms earn a significant amount from advertising. To push businesses to spend, reach is limited on many platforms without a paid budget. Even if you have a thousand followers, only a handful might see your posts, limiting the effectiveness of organic social. 

How paid social can help

Paid social media marketing can help your firm solve the issues of visibility and targeting.

By allowing for careful, strategic targeting of your content, a well-constructed paid social campaign helps to ensure that your practice gets in front of the right sets of eyes. 

That estate planning firm we mentioned above? With the right approach to paid social, they can specifically target their ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, and more so that those ads are seen by people who actually need their services. Paid ads can be tested, tweaked, and retargeted over time so you can find the audiences that respond best to your messaging—and the messages that resonate best with the people you want as your clients.

And no, your paid social marketing campaign doesn’t need to break the bank. One of the beauties of paid social is that it scales well to different marketing budgets. Even smaller law firms can implement paid social in a way that brings a return on their investment.

Crafting effective paid social campaigns for your law firm

By now, you may be itching to just get started, especially if your previous marketing efforts haven’t yielded tangible growth for your practice.

But before you shell out your marketing budget on paid social ads, make sure you have a strategy in place. And that involves a bit of research, planning, and analysis. 

Here are five important steps to help your firm make the most of its paid social media marketing.

1. Identify your audiences

One of the biggest advantages of paid social is that it allows you to target your ads to specific audiences—but that won’t do you much good if you aren’t sure who your audiences are. 

As a law firm, you already know what kind of services your clients are looking for (i.e., knowledgeable legal support within your specific practice areas), and you know what kind of clients walk through your doors.

But before you get started generating content and paying for ads, consider who your ideal clients really are as people

That means diving beyond demographics. Your firm should aim to have a robust understanding of: 

  • What motivates your clients to seek legal help
  • What their pain points are
  • What kind of language resonates with them
  • How your firm can help them solve the issues they face

You can even use the answers to these questions to generate “personas”: fictional (but still useful!) profiles of your ideal clients in the various practice areas your firm serves. 

Personas help build out content because they provide a vivid sense of who you’re writing those Facebook ads to. Imagine your persona is a client—what would you say to them? Framing your ads as a conversation with a person helps when you’re staring at a blank page.

2. Choose the right platforms

Any social media platform will get your message out there, but some may be more suited to your law firm’s audience than others. 

If you market products to Gen Z, for example, TikTok might be ideal for paid social ads. As a firm marketing elder law services? It’s probably better to focus on platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn. (Although TikTok for lawyers? It’s definitely a thing.)

Here’s a quick rundown of our top three platforms for paid social, along with some of the major advantages of each.

Facebook ads

With the single largest user base of any social media platform (over two billion active users!), Facebook has become the go-to for many organizations’ paid social campaigns.

Facebook delivers the most support for advanced audience targeting—you can refine your audience by location, age, gender, interest, connections, and more thanks to its heavy-duty Ads platform. If you’re seeking out the most qualified leads, Facebook might be where you’ll get the most out of your budget.

You can also access incredibly detailed analytics on Facebook, which helps your firm understand how your ads are performing and adjust your ad strategy over time.

LinkedIn ads

LinkedIn ads can also be a great choice for law firms, especially if your practice focuses on business law, in-house counsel or legal representation for other professional organizations.

That’s because you can target your ads by industry, employer, job title, and years of experience on LinkedIn—it’s the only platform that allows you to do this. If you’re looking to represent businesses and organizations in a particular field, LinkedIn ads makes targeting key decision-makers at those organizations easier. 

LinkedIn advertisements can also lend your social campaigns an air of credibility among professionals, especially if you link directly to your firm’s LinkedIn accounts. 

Instagram ads

Although Instagram used to be a more niche social media platform, it commands a large and diverse audience. It also benefits from Facebook’s advertising system, which allows your firm to carefully fine-tune your audience targeting. 

Compared to the users on Facebook and LinkedIn, Instagram’s daily user base tends to be younger on average. This could be a drawback for firms in some practice areas but may also give you the opportunity to reach younger prospects that other channels might miss. 

3. Find your law firm’s voice

So far, you’ve analyzed your audiences and made an assessment of which platforms are most likely to serve your firm’s goals. 

But what you’re putting in front of your audience is just as important as who you’re targeting and how. If you want your paid social efforts to bring in new clients, your ad copy needs to:

1) Resonate with readers

2) Give them a genuine sense of who you are as a firm

3) Motivate them to reach out to you

To accomplish this, you need to write authentic copy that speaks to your values and helps to distinguish your practice—and you need copy that’s optimized to guide your clients toward signing. 

{{CTA: Throw out that generic copywriting! At FocusWorks, we specialize in helping law firms create content that converts™. We collaborate with firms to create paid social media copy that fulls represents them and brings in more clients.}}

4. Build your paid social strategy

Once you know your audiences, identify which platforms are right for your goals, and nail down your practice’s approach to copy, you’re all set to start building out your paid social media strategy. 

But it may still help to have a marketing professional in your corner.

Successful deployment for paid social ads depends on everything from post frequency to post timing to the targeting of each ad for its platform and intended audience. That can be a lot to manage as a busy attorney with billable hours to fill. 

A professional marketing agency with a focus on marketing for law firms can help you develop—and implement—a paid social strategy that brings a real return on your investment. 

5. Fine-tune, adjust, and optimize

It can take time for paid social campaigns to show you the return on investment you’re looking for.

But that’s not because paid social campaigns don’t work. It’s because even the sturdiest, most well-constructed ad campaign strategy needs to be tweaked and adjusted over time.

As an attorney, you know that no two cases are ever quite the same. Your approach will sometimes need to shift based on your clients’ unique circumstances, goals, and even their personalities. 

Building a paid social ad campaign takes that same nuanced approach. Finding the paid ad solutions that work for your firm is a process, one that requires consistent monitoring, testing, and analysis. 

If your first round of ads isn’t showing results, it usually just means that there’s more fine-tuning to be done. An experienced marketing agency can help you crunch the data and figure out what’s working—and what isn’t—in your paid social plan.

Need paid social that gets results? 

The team at FocusWorks Marketing has years of experience building paid social media marketing campaigns for law firms specifically. 

We have the marketing industry experience and legal industry knowledge to help you develop a paid social strategy that serves your ultimate goal: finding new leads, and helping turn those new leads into clients (all while complying with ethical rules and requirements). 

Whether you need a team to build your paid social from the ground up or just need a boost with strategy and analytics, we’re at the ready to help you grow your firm.

Have more questions or want to know where to start? Give us a shout!