Whether or not you use the platform, you are likely aware that TikTok is one of the hottest social media sites out there. But does it make sense to use TikTok for you law firm?
Even in a traditional profession like the legal industry, some attorneys are successfully using TikTok to build huge audiences and market their firms effectively.
What does a lawyer need to know about using TikTok as a social media marketing strategy? How does TikTok work, how can law firms benefit from it, and what are the best ways to use TikTok for legal marketing?
Here are your answers:
What is TikTok and how does it work?
TikTok is a social media app for sharing short-form videos. With over one billion active users, it’s the sixth-most used social media platform in the world. The videos range in length from 15 seconds to 10 minutes.
One of the true innovations of TikTok is the ease with which users can create and share videos compared to other sites, such as YouTube. You can shoot and edit your video directly in the TikTok app with easy features like subtitles, speed effects, and noise reduction.
The user feed comes in the form of two TikTok pages — a For You page and a Following page.
As the name suggests, the Following page shows you videos from TikTok accounts you are following. The For You page shows content from accounts selected by the TikTok algorithm as ones you might like.
Why should law firms be on TikTok?
There are a lot of factors that make TikTok an attractive marketing tool for law firms:
- It’s easy to use
- You have good potential for visibility
- TikTok users are highly engaged compared to other platforms
- Most TikTok users are under 40
- Few other law firms are taking the time to learn to use TikTok effectively
If you use TikTok well and create interesting content, there’s a good chance that your videos will reach a lot of potential clients. Few law firms are doing this, and even fewer are doing it well, so you could gain a compelling competitive advantage.
Do you generally work with younger clients? Your TikTok can be a good way to improve your existing client relationships.
Plus, your younger clients may feel a little more confident about you if they see you using TikTok wisely. Lawyers have a reputation for being overly traditional and out of touch with modern life. By participating in current trends, you can help battle that perception.
Best practices for law firms marketing on TikTok
Even with all the benefits of TikTok, it is important to understand how it differs from other platforms such as LinkedIn and YouTube.
This means following some best practices for legal marketing on TikTok.
Focus on your target audience
Your TikTok posts should focus on a target audience, providing them with information and compelling content.
This is a standard best practice in all types of marketing. If you’re going to put in the effort to create articles, videos, ads, or anything else, you should be sure that it makes sense to the people who you’re trying to reach.
Craft a persona for a typical client who needs your services down to age, gender, profession, and other basic criteria. Then, plan your videos around what would entertain and attract a prospective client that fits that persona.
How do you do that?
Creating targeted content is a simple concept, but knowing what kind of things your target audience wants to see takes a lot of insight and experience. Some people might be thrilled to get a behind-the-scenes look at your law firm, and others think that’s just vanity. One client might feel more confident hiring a lawyer after they get to know them more personally, and another would prefer to keep the relationship strictly professional.
The best place to start is with your most frequently asked questions. You know that those answers are interesting to your audience and directly related to your practice, which brings us to the next tip.
Create relevant content
You need to create content that is relevant to your typical client.
Something can be interesting to your audience, but completely irrelevant. Political posts are a great example: they might get a lot of engagement, and your legal clients may love to talk politics, but sharing political opinions won’t help your business.
Imagine you’re having a conversation with a stranger about politics, and you find that you agree on a controversial topic. You’re having a great time chatting about your ideology. Then, suddenly, he changes the subject.
“By the way, I have a car detailing business. Do you want me to detail your car today?”
You don’t want to hire the guy to detail your car. A minute ago, you were enjoying some good rapport and bonding over a shared ideology, and then he tried to use that tiny bit of rapport to sell you something. Car detailing never came up, and he has no reason to think that you’d want or need his help. Bringing up his business is inappropriate, right?
That’s exactly what it’s like when you build a TikTok audience by posting things that aren’t relevant to your business.
The whole point of building your TikTok following is so that you can market your law firm to those people. Do yourself a favor and keep your post history closely related to your practice area. It’s far better to have a small audience that actually cares about what you do than it is to have a huge following that will never even consider working with you.
Create original content regularly
When you undertake TikTok marketing, it is best to fully commit to the process.
If you create original content on a regular basis, you are more likely to have widespread engagement with your account.
Posting inconsistently is often a waste of effort. For one thing, the algorithm is far less likely to show your content to people who don’t follow you yet if you aren’t likely to keep posting.
More importantly, though, you create the impression of unreliability when you leave your followers hanging. This might not be a conscious bias — nobody is going to say that they didn’t hire a lawyer because they didn’t see enough TikToks from them — but the unconscious bias is still there.
The key here is consistency, not necessarily quantity. If you can produce multiple good videos every day, do it. If you can only post good content once or twice a week, do that.
Consistent posting is most effective when your videos are original and compelling.
You don’t have to reinvent your strategy every time, but it also shouldn’t feel like you post the same thing over and over. Give your followers what they came for without fatiguing them.
This is where it pays to be a TikTok user yourself so you can see what other lawyers are doing to create large followings.
By browsing the Discover page on TikTok, you can see content that is currently trending.
Many of these trends are memes, music, or dance challenges. As an example, TV host Jimmy Fallon created the #tumbleweedchallenge, encouraging users to post videos of themselves rolling on the ground to Western-style music.
Keep an eye out for trends you can post responses to as part of your practice, but remember the rule about relevance.
Notice that a lot of people are posting about industry secrets with a popular hashtag? That would be a great opportunity to share interesting details about your practice area. Meanwhile, there’s not a lot of reason to talk about legal work while you’re rolling around on the floor like a tumbleweed.
If you spot a trend that you can join, jump in right away while it’s still popular. These opportunities don’t last. Next week might be too late.
Interact with users
All social media marketing is most effective when you build relationships rather than just broadcasting. This isn’t a commercial; people can and should respond to you, just like you can and should respond to them.
Be sure to take the opportunity to interact with users on the platform. Respond to comments and thank viewers for their insights. Also try to leave comments on other people’s accounts.
Not only does this expand your reach, it could encourage that person to comment on your firm’s account.
It is also important to create videos that encourage interaction. By setting challenges or posing questions and specifically requesting responses, you can easily increase engagement.
Finally, here’s a reminder about a marketing best practice that you should use every time you invest time or money. Track your performance and use that data to optimize.
This will allow you to adjust your approach over time, as well as provide motivation for continuous improvement.
Likes, comments, and follower count are all easy metrics to find, but they’re not necessarily the most important indicators of your TikTok marketing performance. Your goal isn’t to have a popular TikTok account — it’s to have a popular law firm.
Logically, that means you should track whether or not TikTok is having a positive impact on your business, and that’s a bit harder to do.
You might survey new clients during intake to ask how they first heard about you. Additionally, you can track how many of your active and past clients follow you on TikTok, how often your posts are seen by new people, and whether your most popular post topics line up with your preferred practice area.
Anecdotally, notice if any of your existing clients ever mention what they saw on your TikTok.
The assessment of whether or not TikTok is worth your effort is ultimately up to you. If it’s something you enjoy and the engagement is good, keep going. If you hate doing it and you don’t see the obvious business benefit, stop.
TikTok isn’t the right choice for every law firm.
You get to decide if it’s the right choice for your law firm, though. Want to give it a try? Go for it. You’ve got nothing to lose but a little time.