There are still many barristers who successfully win instructions through reputation alone. However, the changing landscape of the legal sector is seeing more and more sets of Chambers and legal professionals harnessing digital marketing for barristers.
Now, in the era of Direct Access, new opportunities are constantly arising for you to promote yourself to members of the public online. If you take an active and intelligent approach, developing a strong barristers’ marketing plan, it’s highly likely that you’ll generate a significant number of leads. Through the smart use of search engine optimisation, social media and carefully crafted online profiles, you can extend your reach, increase your visibility and build trust in order to break into a whole new marketplace.
But the questions are: how to raise a barrister’s profile online? And why is it so vital to invest your time in this method?
Why You Should Raise Your Online Profile as a Barrister
More and more people are turning to the internet to research and make contact with legal professionals, and legal experts are tapping into this pool of potential contacts in order to win more instructions. To avoid being overtaken by rivals, you need to be able to play them at their own game.
Generating leads should be the main focus of digital marketing for barristers. However, an added benefit of being more active online is the potential to grow your pool of connections and partnerships. Offering advice to other professionals and interacting via a low-cost, highly public platform will not only improve your image, but it will help to improve your network too.
In order for your barristers marketing to reach its full potential, it’s important to learn the tricks of the trade and commit to a well-formed plan. Doing so will see you climb the search rankings, gain followers on social media and see more visitors to your site – who, if they see high-quality content when they get there, will be more likely to engage your services.
How to Raise a Barrister’s Profile Online
Here are the five central steps you should take in order to significantly boost your online presence:
1. Plan ahead
It’s definitely a good idea to plan out all elements of your online activity at least weekly, setting goals and deciding on the approach you should take to reach them. In this plan, you should take the following tips into account:
- Your content must be regularly updated, and should always contain up to the minute information.
- All blog and social media copy should focus on trending topics and current affairs within your field.
- The best way to achieve the above aims is to keep track of relevant topics that are currently popular with members of the public. You can also keep an eye on your own performance and be poised to respond to any comment about your services. To do this, you can harness tools such as Hootsuite , Tweetdeck, Google Trends , Social Mention or Geofeedia (which allows you to follow trends by location.)
- Keep all information relevant. As tempting as it might be to voice your opinion on any breaking story, doing so will simply muddy the waters and distract from your central message.
Only one or two people should be posting on your blog posts and social media platforms in order to keep the tone of voice consistent.
To ensure that you keep your plan up to date, you can use a number of useful templates. This selection from Buffer might inspire you to create your own.
2. Invest your time in digital PR
You can choose to use paid search (PPC) or invest financially in social media promotion, but there’s a great deal that you can achieve through spending no money at all. Of all of the approaches you could take to marketing, online PR is one of the cheapest and most effective. Taking the time to optimise the content of your website and share engaging information via blog posts and social media can revolutionise your image.
Free online tools available through Google , Wordstream and many other platforms allow you to access top relevant keywords to use in your content. All major social media platforms are currently free to join. Google My Business lets you edit and adjust your profile and information with no payment required.
Take full advantage of all of the opportunities presented by digital marketing by:
- Keeping your website and blog posts regularly updated and optimised by organically inserting as many relevant keywords as possible
- Regularly sharing current, relevant content on all of your social media platforms
- Making full use of trending hashtags and engaging with the content of other users
- Carefully selecting who you interact with and follow online
- Keeping all of your information on Google My Business up to date and interesting. Remember, you can include pictures, event details and testimonials
- Sharing your contact information and links to your website as regularly and visibly as possible
3. Build relationships with journalists
Engaging with high profile correspondents who specialise in your area of practice can help to bolster your image as an expert in your field. Forging relationships with journalists may lead to you being approached and asked to comment on breaking news stories. Those comments may then be featured in online articles and studies, getting your name known and building public trust.
Encouraging the creators of external articles, blog posts and journals to link back to your website is hugely beneficial. This is known as link building, and will serve to significantly increase your online visibility – allowing people interested in relevant topics to more easily access your information.
4. Guest posting
Creating free content for the websites and blogs of other organisations is a smart way of building and improving your network. It will also increase your levels of exposure and allow you to spread links to your services (otherwise known as backlinks) further across the internet. Link building in this way will improve your search engine rankings. Inviting others to create guest content for you will also direct more traffic to your site, as they are likely to promote the work they have done – plus, it creates new content to share via social media with little time-consuming input.
5. Social media
For barristers, Twitter and LinkedIn are usually the most effective platforms to use when it comes to a social media presence. You may also decide to create a Facebook account depending on the nature of your practice.
Twitter – Many people use Twitter to make contact with professionals, seek advice and leave feedback. As a result, having a presence on this fast-moving platform opens you up to quick and productive exchanges with potential clients and other connections.
According to Hootsuite, 85% of SMBs say that providing Twitter-based customer service is important. 65% of B2C companies undertake marketing on the platform, and 75% of B2B companies use it for the same reason. 71% of Twitter users follow the news and current affairs there, and 40% have made a purchase based on a recommendation they’ve seen there.
It’s a good idea to post regularly on this platform, sharing a wide variety of content and making the most of different techniques to render yourself as visible as possible. Use popular and relevant hashtags to make your posts searchable, and add the @ symbol to the beginning of a user’s Twitter handle to notify them that you wish to interact with them and to make your tweet visible to their followers. You can also quote or share others’ tweets, or simply “like” them to show that you are interested in their content.
The information in your profile should always contain your web address and contact details.
LinkedIn – Designed specifically for the world of business, LinkedIn allows individual practitioners and organisations to display an extensive profile that includes awards they have won, testimonials they have received and publications to which they have contributed.
You can link your profile to your website and to the activity on your other social media platforms, plus you can join networking groups and increase your connections and visibility.
According to Foundation Inc., LinkedIn is very powerful when it comes to B2B marketing, with 94% of companies using it to distribute content and 50% of all social traffic to B2B sites and blogs comes from this platform.
Facebook – While it’s slightly rarer for barristers to promote themselves heavily on Facebook, the size of its user base alone may be enough to persuade many to join. 1.56 billion people use it each day, after all, and sharing regular, engaging updates to this audience is more likely to increase your visibility through the sheer volume of the people accessing the platform alone.
Like Twitter, trending topics on Facebook should be preceded by a hashtag in order to make them searchable, and you can tag companies and individuals in posts through use of the @symbol. You can also share and like others’ posts.
Other platforms – You might consider using YouTube if you wish to share vlog posts or video guides, while infographics and other visual information may perform will on Instagram.
So, in order to generate plenty of brand new leads and improve your performance, add the following approaches to your new digital marketing plan:
- Regularly consider your approach and plan your content thoroughly
- Take time to optimise everything and ensure you are visible across as many platforms as possible by remaining active and optimising your content – making the most of free online tools
- Regularly engage with journalists and share your expertise
- Network to build a valuable list of contacts with whom you can collaborate in order to build your reputation and distribute links to your services
- Take every opportunity to engage with social media and post regular, high quality content on all of your platforms