For some time, Instagram has been a preferred social network to share visual content such as photographs and videos that show the daily life of users. By browsing Instagram, you can enjoy amazing photos of endless things: food, pets, new babies, families, landscapes, social gatherings, and much more.
Even in the early days of the app, Instagram’s photo editing features, which allowed you to modify photos and videos by applying filters and adjusting other elements (such as brightness, contrast, and sharpness), caught the eye and attracted new users. Over time, Instagram became one of the most popular and preferred social media platforms, and in 2012, just two years after the app’s launch, Facebook bought the company for about a billion dollars.
In 2019, Instagram had nearly one billion active users each month and boasted 500 million daily users. According to WebStrategies, Instagram offers the most interaction between users and businesses, as between two and seven percent of users interact with content shared by brands and products.
The numbers speak for themselves. Estimates indicate that approximately 71% of businesses in the United States have an Instagram profile to interact with consumers and potential customers. However, it seems that lawyers often miss this opportunity that other sectors have begun to use to achieve their goals.
A Good2bSocial survey of 200 law firms indicated that 31% of law firms already have an active profile on social media, while the 2020 ABA Legal Technology Survey indicated that only 12% of lawyers belonging to small law firms (2 to 9 lawyers) and 13% of lawyers from large law firms stated that they used Instagram for the legal marketing of their firms. Nonetheless, firms that claimed to use Instagram in the Good2bSocial survey said they had attracted nearly 10,000 followers who engage heavily with the content.
Perhaps the slow adoption of Instagram by law firms is due to the reason why it is often unclear to many lawyers why a law firm should participate in a social network that relies on visual content such as photos. However, this slow adoption means that lawyers who start using Instagram will now have an advantage in taking advantage of this opportunity.
Keep reading this post to learn about the basic steps you need to follow to create your Instagram account, as well as to receive some recommendations on how to leverage your new Instagram presence and turn it into an ideal marketing tool for your law firm.
How to Create Your Law Firm’s Instagram Account
The process of creating your law firm’s Instagram account is relatively straightforward, and if you have a personal account, you probably already know what you need to do. First, sign up for your account. Just fill in the required fields, such as email address, name, username, and password.
Instagram allows a user to manage multiple accounts. However, we recommend that you keep your personal account separate from your law firm’s to simplify the content management process. If you decide to manage your accounts together, be very careful when sharing content, as you don’t want to inadvertently share a personal photo in your work account.
When you’re done filling out the required fields, Instagram will send a verification code to the phone or email you’ve registered. This code is intended to prevent misuse by ensuring that you control your new account. Verifying this information is important because you don’t want someone to misuse an account with your law firm’s name, thereby damaging your image and reputation.
Ready! Once you have completed these steps, your account has been created. The next step is to complete your law firm’s profile.
How to Complete Your Profile Information
On the home page of your newly created account, click Edit Profile (next to your name), so you can fill in the rest of the information. If your law firm already uses another social networking site, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook, be sure to keep the information on these accounts and on the new Instagram profile consistent. This helps to give credibility to each of your profiles and reinforces your brand.
The first item you need to edit is your profile picture. As mentioned above, consistency between different profiles is important, so try to use the same profile picture you have on other social media channels. It can be your legal signature logo, a photo of your team, or your own (professional) photo. Make sure the photo is at least 180px by 180px.
Next, you need to edit your name and username. Ideally, this should correspond to the name of your legal firm, and even better if it also matches your other profiles of the firm, such as Twitter. Include the website you want your potential customers to visit to learn more about you and your law firm.
Your bio field is one of the most important spaces you should fill out because it allows you to briefly (in 150 characters), tell your clients more about your law firm, your practice areas, and any other relevant and important information about your practice.
Professional Instagram Account
After filling in the basic details of your account, it’s time to take your law firm account to the next level. That is, turn it into a professional account or a company account.
With a professional account, you can access additional features and functions, such as options to include full contact information, promotional and advertising tools to publicize your signature, and Instagram Analytics tools to learn more about your posts and your audience.
Within the account settings page, select “Switch to Work Account” from the options bar. You will need to follow certain steps to successfully convert and complete your legal signature account.
The first thing you should do is select a type of profile for your professional account: Creator or Business. In the case of a law firm, you must choose the Business profile.
Next, you’ll need to select your company’s category. You can choose from general application categories, such as “Lawyers and Law Firms”, “Legal Services”, as well as more specific categories linked to a practice area.
The last step in setting up your professional account is to add your law firm’s contact information. Here you can include the address, phone number, and email address of your legal firm. Make sure this information is correct because it will be your potential customers’ way of knowing how and where to contact you.
How to Use Your New Law Firm Instagram Account
Now that your firm’s Instagram account is set up, you’re ready to start sharing content to drive interest from followers and customers. You must use your account consistently to grow your reach effectively. With a little advance planning and a solid strategy, Instagram will allow you to interact with various audiences: potential clients, the community, colleagues, and even potential collaborators who can boost your law firm’s reach even further. There’s a lot to communicate through the photos and videos that are shared through your law firm’s Instagram account.
Here are our tips and recommendations for using your new Instagram account in the future:
- Be approachable: Sometimes the profession of lawyer can seem distant and cold, especially for those who are not lawyers or for those who are new to the world of law. Sharing what’s going on behind the scenes in your office allows you to overcome this barrier. Show photos of your staff working as a team. Include images of your office environment (inside and out). Get a glimpse of some of your firm’s social gatherings, such as team meals or holiday celebrations. Consider offering some personal details about yourself and your team, such as new family members, commitments, awards, etc. All of these details can offer a closer look at the life of your law firm that makes the professional seem more accessible and creates a warm image of your firm that builds a closer connection with current and potential clients.
- Build a sense of community: If your firm is involved in projects that benefit your community, Instagram is the perfect forum to demonstrate that. This gives your followers insight into your law firm’s culture and demonstrates a positive community to your local community. If you’re a large firm, this can be extremely powerful in connecting your business to the regions you serve.
- Use it as a recruitment tool: By showing what’s going on in your offices—the work environment, your social commitment, your firm’s culture, and the ethics of your practice—you’re opening the door to new talent and giving them a sense of what it’s like to work with you. This can help fellow attorneys and recent graduates better relate to your firm and imagine working as part of your team.
- Show your experience: Instagram is a great tool for sharing quick tips and suggestions about your practice area and the law in general. Sharing tips and general feedback on hypothetical situations and current events can help you build a reputation with potential customers looking for answers. Demonstrating your expertise can also encourage your followers to contact you in the future if they need legal assistance. Of course, you should always remember your ethical obligations to ensure customer confidentiality and ensure that any content you share does not violate the standards of professional conduct in your jurisdiction.
- Take advantage of video: Not all of your Instagram content should be photos. Video allows you to speak more directly to your audience, share experiences, discuss legal issues, and educate the public. Fortunately, Instagram offers multiple ways to share video content with your followers:
- Instagram Stories allows you to post short videos (and photos) that will disappear from the network within 24 hours unless you decide to add them to your profile as featured stories. Featured stories can remain on your profile indefinitely.
- Instagram Reels lets you share longer videos that aren’t considered temporary in the same way as Instagram Stories. Think of them as something similar to the short-form videos you would see on TikTok and other platforms.
- You can also make use of Instagram TV (IGTV), where videos can last up to 15 minutes. This makes IGTV a great channel for presenting content with a longer exposure time.
- Finally, Instagram Live lets you live stream at the exact time you want. This functionality allows you to have more direct interactions with your followers, such as Q&A sessions.
- Take advantage of hashtags: Hashtags, also known before the emergence of social networks as the number sign or the pound(#), are used to group common topics and allow users to find more information about the topics they are consulting. Hashtags increase the odds that people who don’t know your law firm will encounter your content.
We recommend using hashtags for your practice area (#DivorceAttorneys), location (#DallasLawyers), or even both (#DallasDivorceAttorneys). You should also tailor your hashtags to individual posts. For example, if you post about a recent U.S. Superior Court case, you should use #SCOTUS. Over time, you may consider creating a branded hashtag for your legal signature using your name (#DoeandSmith) or slogan (#GetDoe) to group posts about your signature together and encourage interaction from your followers.
In addition to these recommendations, you can see your competitors and other law firms in your area to find out what they’re doing. Follow local personalities, such as news anchors, prominent legal authorities, and government associations to expand your network to potential new followers. Keep an eye on the brands and companies that inspire you, to keep learning more about Instagram and changing trends.
Over time, consistently using your account and leveraging a solid combination of content with suitable keywords and hashtags will help you increase your following. However, this process takes time. For more tips for growing your followers in unique ways, check out this resource.
Getting followers and building your law firm’s reputation on Instagram can take time, but with a solid strategy, proper planning, and consistent execution you can leverage this network to reach potential clients while strengthening your brand. Offering this different point of view and perspective at your law firm can go a long way toward building close connections with clients and the community, demonstrating your knowledge, and ultimately achieving your law firm’s goals.