Humanizing your law firm may seem like a simple, straightforward concept, but it’s a long process that can take many forms—and not all of them are obvious. Check out our guide to humanizing your law firm and learn how it can attract more clients.
Ways to Humanize Your Law Firm
Humanizing your law firm—that is, ensuring that it comes across to potential clients as relatable and approachable—comes down to one key idea: putting yourself in your prospects’ shoes.
Think of it this way: in the best-case scenario of someone realizing they need a lawyer, a potential client is stressed about a legal issue that has arisen…and in the worst case, they are devastated about something that has changed their life dramatically.
No matter why they’re looking for a lawyer, your prospects want a guide during this time—not an emotionless entity. You must show the human side of your attorneys to give potential clients the confidence they need to pick up the phone and call your firm.
Below, we’ll discuss four of the best channels through which you can humanize your law firm: video, social media, your website, and online reviews.
Part I: Video
Videos of your firm and the people in it resonate with potential clients far more than written words can. Not only are videos easier to remember than blogs or digital advertisements, but they communicate a lot of information in a short amount of time, too. Most importantly, they form an emotional connection that is much harder to create with text alone.
“Videos not only make your information much easier to understand but also allow you to inject your personality into the content,” says Jacqueline Zote of Sprout Social. “This makes them a lot more engaging than other content formats.”
There are a few types of video your law firm should have.
- FAQ videos. Answering frequently-asked questions helps potential clients get a sense of what you’d be like to work with and can give them peace of mind about a question they have.
- Client testimonials. Sometimes the best way to prove that you’re an effective lawyer who’s great to work with is to have past clients say so.
- Firm branding videos. These videos should tell the story of your firm and let viewers know what sets you apart from your competitors.
- Bio videos. Clips featuring individual attorneys are great for showing a little personality and going into more detail about the areas of law each one specializes in.
Videos showcasing your firm should be well-produced—no exceptions. For videos to truly resonate with viewers, they must be professional. To clients, the quality of your videos speaks to the quality of your firm and the work you do. An advertising agency that has years of experience producing video for law firms is your best bet for presenting your firm effectively and convincing clients to call you.
Pro Tip: When you’re in a video, it’s important to come off as compassionate as well as knowledgeable and trustworthy. The people watching these videos likely have legal problems hanging over their heads, so intimidation and doubt are the last things they want to feel when they’re looking for help. Keep that in mind when you film your videos: you want to come off as capable and confident…maybe even comforting, if it’s applicable for your area of practice.
Part II: Social Media
Just as it is for individuals, the same goes for law firms: social media is all about appearances. How do you want your law firm to look to the outside world? What kind of persona do you want to put out there?
“If your firm is solely promoting its own content, people will know that the firm is only about itself,” digital marketer Kierstin Vermeulen points out. “Take into account what clients are saying and tailor your message to them in a helpful way.”
Your law firm’s social media pages might be the very first impression you make on a potential client. What do you want them to know about you immediately?
- That you can’t be bothered to manage a Facebook page…or that you recognize that today’s clients expect you to be on social meda?
- That you don’t know how to turn off a sales pitch…or that you actively engage with others on your page, even when you’re not trying to make a new client?
- That you rarely post about anything interesting…or that you’re involved in your community and/or have hobbies you’re passionate about?
“Marketing your firm on social media shouldn’t be about hype and disingenuous sales pitches or scare tactics, but rather should serve as an opportunity to give insight to the ‘human’ part of you that your clients might not otherwise be privileged to be a part of,” says Kathryn Adams of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (AAEPA). “An effective social media campaign should have a humanizing effect.”
One way to humanize your law firm on social media is to post photos of your team members doing things other than practicing law. You want to look competent and capable of representing them, of course—we (hopefully) don’t have to tell you not to post about wild parties—but you have to look approachable so people feel comfortable enough to call you. To put it simply, a good mix of “lawyer-y” and “regular person” photos will make clients feel confident in your legal prowess and your ability to help them during a tough time.
Another way to humanize your law firm is to invest in your community. Photos and videos of various events you attend make great social media content, and you can tag the organizations you support—and vice versa, if you ask them—for a bit more exposure and reach. This lets potential clients know what’s important to you outside of the courtroom, and it gets your name out to prospects who might not have known you exist.
Pro Tip: When it comes to community service and charity work, it takes a skilled social media team to keep your firm looking truly socially conscious and not tone-deaf. (“There is a fine line between sharing your social values and efforts with the public appropriately and looking like you’re cashing in on charity,” Adams warns.) That’s where a skilled social media management team like Kirkpatrick Creative comes in!
Part III: Your Website
Humanizing your law firm on your website isn’t about bombarding prospective clients with information about yourself—you’re not filling out a dating profile, after all. It’s about putting yourself in the prospect’s shoes and creating an experience that will make them feel confident about making the decision to call you.
Similar to your social media pages, your law firm’s website must have a mix of content that’s helpful to the user, clear about your experience as a lawyer, and informative about you as a human being. To create a great user experience on your website, imagine that you are searching for a lawyer and browsing your firm’s website for the first time.
- What do you want to see?
- What do you expect to see?
- What would make you feel confident that you could trust this firm? (Probably not a ton of hard-to-understand legalese and awkward headshots!)
“Potential clients are physically nervous about talking to you. Why? Because they feel naked and ashamed,” legal marketer Richard Jacobs explains. “They’re outside their comfort zone. The more you can humanize your law firm (and yourself) and ‘warm them up’ on your website, the more likely they are to call.”
Communicating complex legal information in a way that’s easy to understand not only tells prospects that you know your stuff, but that you can guide them through this difficult time in their life without judgement. The way the information on your firm’s website is presented can give a prospect the reassurance they need to feel like they move forward with their case without being overwhelmed.
As for personal bio pages for each attorney, make sure there’s info that helps them stand out from the rest. “Every person’s page should show their personality. We don’t just mean listing a favorite movie or including family photos,” says Flashpoint Marketing of San Diego. “Discuss areas of law you find fascinating, and any pro bono work you may do. Are you a dedicated volunteer at the Humane Society? Include that, too!”
Feel free to include your hobbies if you’re passionate about them and if you can relate them to qualities that make you a good lawyer. For example, coaching your child’s sports team can demonstrate leadership and kid-friendliness, and running marathons shows you’re dedicated.
Part of humanization can include humanizing your past cases, too. Instead of being vague about what parts of the law you practice, consider giving more specific examples (while staying confidential, of course). For example, highlight key cases you worked on by briefly describing the circumstances of who you represented and why. This will tell visitors what types of cases you take and the exact expertise you have. It can also help them remember you: “I want that lawyer who worked with the subcontractor!”
Sally J. Schmidt, President of Schmidt Marketing, Inc., gives a brilliant example of humanization in a lawyer’s bio in Attorney at Work’s Engage! A Lawyer’s Guide to Social Media Marketing. She gives two variations of a bio:
A: Kelly is an associate in the firm’s litigation department.
B: Kelly helps technology companies protect their intellectual property jewels—patents, trademarks and copyrights—through both preventative measures and, when necessary, litigation.
Which one paints a better picture of a skilled, experienced lawyer that you’d feel confident about hiring?
Pro Tip: “Rethink the style of photography on the page, marketing strategist John Albert suggests. “Replace the dated ‘yearbook’ headshot approach with more captivating images of attorneys in their natural environment. Use sophisticated lighting and interesting angles and compositions.” If you need help conceptualizing and producing new photography for your law firm, give us a shout.
Part IV: Reviews
Responding to reviews shows that you care about your clients’ experiences—and that you are interested in what they have to say long after you’ve resolved their legal issue. That kind of attention makes a big impression on someone looking to hire a lawyer.
If you get a negative review, avoid responding with a canned statement that could have been written by anyone. Address the issues raised publicly if you can; if not, comment a brief apology and let them know you’ll contact them privately. Even if you can’t resolve the issue with the disgruntled reviewer, this shows future prospects that your firm is considerate and attentive instead of dismissive.
On positive reviews, thank the client and wish them well—again, genuinely and uniquely each time (copying and pasting the same sentiment every time makes you look indifferent—not a good look for a law firm). Respond to happy clients with appreciation and you’re more likely to get the phone ringing.
Pro Tip: If you haven’t gotten a new review on Facebook in more than six months, it can signal to people looking at your page that your firm isn’t active. Be sure to ask for reviews when you finish up with a client. If you don’t ask, there’s no guarantee you’ll receive!
Learn How to Humanize Your Law Firm
“Lawyers who simply state on their websites that they have expertise or knowledge in a specific area are going to be at a disadvantage when compared to attorneys who demonstrate that expertise with articles, video, and other content that shows that they are not only proficient in their area of the law, but that they understand the issues their clients face on a daily basis,” says legal marketer Allison Shields.
In other words, talking about why you love the law or listing off all the impressive legal terms you know isn’t going to make someone pick up the phone and hire you to represent them in their time of need. In the moment someone is searching for a lawyer, it’s not about you: it’s about the client, their needs, and the problems weighing on them.
Using a combination of social media, video, and the data analysis strategies we like to call advertising engineered to work, Kirkpatrick Creative can help humanize your law firm so you can get more clients. Let’s get started! Contact us today.