Trends in digital marketing change almost as fast as the internet itself, especially when social media is involved. One person gives it a try and does well. A few more people jump on the bandwagon…and then a few more. Then EVERYBODY is doing it—and they’re not all having the same kind of success.
In fact, some of them are tanking the success they DID have because they put all their marketing resources into the “new hotness.” And it didn’t pan out.
So, some people rise rapidly by embracing exciting new social media marketing trends, and others fall. The question is, how do you know when YOU should put the time, energy, and money into jumping on the bandwagon? And how do you know when you should give it a pass?
Well, there’s no way to predict the future, and maybe that new social media platform actually could be the thing that brings in tons of new clients and cases for your firm. But, for all that ideal potential, there are 5 excellent reasons to stay off the bandwagon.
Let’s get into those below.
1. Don’t do it if you can’t do it consistently.
Most of the hottest trends in social media marketing aren’t things you can do once and then forget about. Instead, most of them require a sustained effort to do well—or to get any traction at all.
For example, think about something like YouTube or TikTok. One video from a stranger to the platform COULD go viral. It’s happened before! However, the odds aren’t in your favor. Most of the most popular videos on those sites come from established influencers that have built up an audience and reputation over time. They’re people the audience feels like they know, and they’re people viewers rely on to upload regularly.
Sure, you can upload a video or two and hope that luck is on your side. Or you can consistently create content, establish a voice, humanize your brand, and make a reliable connection with the people who like what you have to say. I can tell you, without a doubt, that your odds look a LOT better if you bet on the latter.
Having trouble trying to keep up the pace? Check out these 5 easy tips for creating social media content that engages.
2. Don’t do it if you can’t be active and attentive.
Consistent content is great, but consistent connection is even better. It’s not just about building up a ton of “views” or “likes” or “retweets” or “upvotes.” It’s not just about the number of subscribers or followers you have! The people and businesses that have the most success on social media are the ones that really pay active attention to their audiences.
This is ESPECIALLY important when you’re talking about a new social media platform. If you’re responding to people and answering questions, you’re establishing that you are a real person who actively wants to connect. When you follow other users and engage with their content, you’re showing that you care about the community. You show that you’re not just in it for yourself, and that sets a tone that resonates with people.
Active engagement is what takes you from “a law firm I like to follow” to “a law firm I like and trust enough to work with.” If you can’t keep up that kind of engagement, you’re probably better off putting your marketing time and energy into something else.
3. Don’t do it if you can’t be yourself.
Generic efforts don’t get results on social media platforms. So, no matter how exciting the trend is, you shouldn’t jump on the bandwagon if you can’t be authentic while doing it.
That doesn’t mean you have to try to put on some kind of cool persona for the social media crowd. Instead, it means really finding the parts of yourself that you feel comfortable and relaxed sharing with a crowd.
Different approaches can have equal success! Some lawyers are going to be most comfortable and relaxed answering questions and educating. Some lawyers are going to make a connection by sharing personal stories from their lives and careers. And some lawyers are going to be most comfortable having a little more fun with it.
For example, Mark Blane (Law Offices of Mark C. Blane) has mastered TikTok with quirky, fun content that really fits the medium. He has thousands of followers and tens of thousands of likes on his videos. But not every lawyer is going to feel comfortable turning up the comedy or letting their hair down.
Don’t shoot for fun or funny or hip or whatever if it doesn’t fit YOUR personality. It won’t work if it doesn’t fit you!
Yeah, people like Mark Blane make jumping on the bandwagon look awesome—and for good reason. But the lesson here isn’t to do exactly what they do. Instead, the lesson is to figure out how to be yourself and make that work for you and your audience.
4. Don’t do it if you don’t “get it.”
You don’t have to be a social media expert to get involved in a new trend, but you do need to understand what you’re doing. If you don’t really get how the rules work, how people use the platform, or what they expect, you could be shooting yourself in the foot with all your efforts.
Take Reddit as an example. Lots of lawyers have attempted to get involved with Reddit because it has a ton of users, and it seems like an untapped source of potential leads. So, they jump right in by cutting and pasting the same spammy message to every “subreddit” they think has anything to do with lawyers or legal issues. They get banned or “downvoted” into oblivion, and then they wonder what went wrong.
Sometimes, they even get it so wrong that they permanently damage their brand image!
On the other hand, a few lawyers have blown up on Reddit with well-done “AMA” or “Ask Me Anything” sessions in an appropriate place. There are lots of examples of popular AMAs with attorneys from all kinds of practices, including everything from bankruptcy lawyers to a prosecutor on the O.J. Simpson trial.
The thing the most successful of these all have in common is that they answer questions honestly and respond to comments authentically. They educate, and they get people interested in what they do. And they follow the rules—spoken and unspoken—that the platform’s users expect them to follow.
So, by showing that they respect the platform AND care about their audience, they establish themselves as the go-to experts in their fields for hundreds or thousands of interested users. It just goes to show you that if you can’t do it right, you probably shouldn’t do it at all.
5. Don’t do it if you have to drop everything else to make it work.
This is the last tip, but it’s probably the most important. You might see the potential in a social media trend, but don’t drop everything else you’re doing just to do it. Don’t wreck the tried and true just to “keep up with the competition” or be trendy!
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!
This is something we talk about a lot with paid advertising for law firms, but it holds true for trendy marketing avenues, too. If all your resources go to risk, you’re going to lose all the effort you put in if it doesn’t work out. That’s not a good place to be—and that’s not the right reason to get involved with a new marketing fad.
I’m definitely NOT saying you should never try something new. Instead, I’m saying you want to balance the risk with what you already know is working. Keep your email contacts going. Keep updating your website. Keep improving your lead generation in all areas. Start small with new ideas, and make sure you can maintain that level of involvement before pushing it ahead.
It sounds like common sense, but the lure of the shiny and new can cloud the judgment of even the most experienced law firm marketers. So, don’t let it happen to you. If you’re going to try something new, think of it as adding a new cog to your marketing machine—not building it all back up from scratch.
Not sure how to keep up what you’re doing while you try something new? Love the idea of a new trend, but not sure if you’re ready to take the leap?
Request a marketing analysis with our team or give us a call at 888.886.0939. We’ll make sure you have the knowledge and support you need to make smarter decisions about your marketing.