John McDougall: Hi, I’m John McDougall. Welcome to the Legal Marketing Review. Today, my guest is Chris Davis of the Law Offices of Christopher Q. Davis and workingsolutionsnyc.com. Welcome, Chris.
Chris Davis: Hey, thank you, John.
How to Tell When a Law Firm is Credible and Trustworthy
John: Absolutely. Today, we’re going to talk about social media for law firms, and thought leadership and building trust. When you first look at an attorney website, how do you know if that firm is credible and can be trusted?
Chris: When I’m looking at another attorney’s website, it’s usually to get some sort of legal content off of those websites. I’m possibly looking to do determine and size up the credibility of my opponents. I and my firm has a vested interest in getting quality content off the site, because that information really important to us and to my practice.
I look at the quality of the site, just in terms of how it appears visually. Also, primarily, the quality of the content, whether or not the written copy and the information that I’m looking for is there.
Testimonials are important reviews. They give me some sense for what clients think of the particular attorneys that I’m working with in Austin. I’ll look at the bios and see where it is that they went to school, and I’ll also read a little bit about the law firm, the practice areas and read the blogs and other original content that they have on their site to determine its quality.
John: Interesting. That’s really lawyer to law firm website perspective, which is good to hear. You think from your perspective, however, customers that would come to your site are going to be a little less sophisticated. Obviously, they’re not an attorney sizing up another attorney, but a lot of those same things are still important.
Chris: In many ways, regardless of the sophistication, everyone has the same motive when you’re evaluating another website for the sake of something that relates to your professional goals, or even just your desire to spend money on a lawyer. You’re looking at this information with a keener eye, than otherwise you just surfing the net.
Our clients who are looking at our website, potential clients, they have similar motivation and similar sort of criteria. They’re looking for the quality of the attorneys. They’re going to judge the quality of the law firm or the quality of your attorneys by the quality of the site and the quality of the content.
That’s something that we try to be very aware of and try to make sure that the site is optimal. That it’s visually appealing to our clients and that we have information on there that is relevant and likely what they’re looking for, and also that the information is clearly presented and accurately drafted.
We really want to make sure that our clients who come to our website get real sense of our firm is about and what our lawyers are about. That they would be protected and that we would pursue their employment solutions for them.
Thought Leadership for Attorneys
John: What are some of the most important thought leadership activities for attorneys, such as blogging, public relations, being an author, the bio pages like you mentioned, client alert to newsletters, [and] social media? There are so many things that you could potentially be focused on. Are there any that stand out to you for building thought leadership?
Chris: When building thought leadership for a small and medium sized firm, even for larger firms, it really comes down to firm use, like providing information to your clients and to the public on the clients and the lawsuits that you’re presently engaged with or in.
Blogging and providing original content that relates to topics that are likely to be of interest to your clients is important. Also, you can include industry news for other attorneys.
Other ways in which we pursue thought leadership, is that we’re sort of developing our website. At this point, I think a lot of firms are trying to become thought leaders within their practice area, or using podcasts like this one, or they have video content or infographics.
They have data that’s summarily presented that a client can potentially use sort of on the spot, and in evaluating whether or not they need legal services, and providing a base level of information to our clients, so they have the knowledge and the comfort to make decisions on actually taking a step attain an attorney.
That’s very important and very helpful for us as a law firm, because we want to make sure that our clients feel like they’re making a comfortable choice in contacting us.
Social Media for Law Firms
John: What about social media? If a potential client comes to your site and clicks on your social icons, and there’s really zero or five followers on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, et cetera, is that a real negative or do they know law firms are a little less engaged in social? What’s your general feeling on that?
Chris: I would’ve said in the past that social media was less important with respect to our clients and our ability to attract potential clients. I don’t believe that’s the case anymore. I think it is important.
I’ve been told by potential clients or clients that have gone to our social media pages; I know that our social media pages are picking up hits.
In general, the other outlets for communicating your firm’s message aside from your website, that would be Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Those social media resources are being checked by our potential clients as well as our website.
I think it’s less likely for us to actually generate a case through those sources, but they definitely do get page views. In fact, my LinkedIn profile and my AGO profile get a lot of traffic. I am starting to get cases through AGO and LinkedIn independent of our website.
I’m also able to track on AGO and LinkedIn and see how much traffic is there. Also, I get some sense for whether or not people who are on my website are actually on LinkedIn or AGO. There is overlap. Those social media outlets and resources are important for our marketing strategy.
John: That certainly evolves over time. If a picture is worth a thousand words and research indicates that over 70% of what we communicate is through our tone and body language, not just through our words, doesn’t that make images, audio and video incredibly important and part of influencing website visitors?
Chris: We’re just on the cutting edge of this right now, and we’re trying to get this up and moving in terms of our website. In other law firms I’ve been with, the most successful campaigns in terms of the original content on those firms’ websites involve the video and images.
Generally, the pages that had that type of content on them tend to attract the most traffic. I think that’s because people respond to a video or to the picture or graphic image differently than they do just plain text and copy. The reality and the truth is that they get you a lot of potential clients and attorneys. It’s a question of trust.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of clients who have legal needs, who have serious concerns about trust with respect to attorneys and to be able to communicate through video and images, the fact that you’re a trustworthy attorney.
It’s much easier to do that with sort of personalized images and videos that allow the client to get a feel for your credibility and your trustworthiness. I’m a full believer in video, podcasting, audio and images [and] doing things outside of just plain copy.
John: That’s good to hear you have evidence from seeing it work, same for us. We’ve had customers call our attorney clients and say, “Oh, we saw your YouTube channel and really could relate to you and want to work with you.”
It’s amazing. I think you nailed it when you said there’s some level where attorneys need to gain that trust, because sometimes they’re not always immediately trusted when it’s online. If someone is searching the web, it’s already a pretty cold place. Then picking an attorney can be intimidating sometimes. It’s amazing what we see with video and people reacting, “Wow! This is a great guy. Hey, I like Chris. Let’s work with Chris.”
Chris: I think that you’re much more likely as an attorney to be able to sort of overcome obstacles that your potential clients may have, in respect to credibility and trustworthiness when you have video and audio.
John: Absolutely. Chris, this was great. I really appreciate the tips. Thanks for speaking to us today.
Chris: No problem. My pleasure.
John: Tell us how we can get in touch with you.
Chris: If you have any questions or comments, if anyone does or if anyone has a potential employment legal concerns, our office phone number is (646) 356‑1010, or you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll answer your employment related inquiries or anything else that we can possibly handle.
John: Thanks again, Chris. Check out legalmarketingreview.com for more interviews and information on legal marketing. I’m John McDougall. See you next on Legal Marketing Review.