5 insightful ways attorneys should incorporate Instagram into their social media strategy

Instagram for lawyers? Yes. Instagram. For lawyers. With one billion monthly active users, lawyers ignore Instagram today at their own peril. Instagram is a superb tool for practically all lawyers, whether you run a solo shop, are part of a small firm, or even work in Big Law. It's never too late to join Instagram and establish your persona there, nor is it too early. Many law students effectively use Instagram to show who and what they are to prospective employers and clients. Note that we use the term "persona," rather than "presence." We all need to realize that social media isn't reality, it's simply a perspective of reality. On social media, we all have the opportunity to be seen in ways we want to be seen. We always advise our clients to be thoughtful and genuine in their social media presence and interactions. We have all seen people portray things on social media that don't resonate with us. These posts appear forced and often artificial. By following the 5 tips in this piece, you'll be off to a great start on Instagram. 1. JUST DO IT We have a theory. Part of why social media can be challenging for lawyers is that lawyers are perfectionists. It's true - and it has helped get you to where you are today and will help you get to where you see yourself tomorrow. But perfection is the enemy of posted when it comes to Instagram. Your picture doesn't have to be perfect. The text need not be absolutely flawless. Resist writing the great American novel or using 50 hashtags. Just post what you want to post. But actually post it. Given that 37% of all Internet users are now on Instagram and 74% of Facebook users visit Instagram every day, think about the truly massive audience you'll be losing out on if you wait for your perfect post. 2. BE THE EXPERT YOU ARE Reuters reports that there are 95 million Instagram posts each day. How does one show their expertise in such a sea of images? We start with a fundamental belief that every lawyer is an expert in the law. Even generalist lawyers, who may be experts in multiple areas of the law. Instagram is a great opportunity for you to use an image to share a singular piece of advice in a posting. For example, if you're a family lawyer and want to convey the message that both parents need to deal with each other in a respectful way that is in the best interest of the children, a simple image like the one below with short, powerful text on the post, such as "Always remember who comes first," can be very powerful. 3. LET YOUR GUARD DOWN Instagram doesn't need to be a chore. It can and should be fun as well as an important tool in your practice of law. Let's say you like to play basketball. Why not have the occasional picture of your playing as part of your feed? In no way is this "unprofessional: - it's actually human and humane. People will relate better to you as a professional if you let your guard down a reasonable amount. The last part of that sentence is just to remind you that while something like the basketball picture is a great idea, scenes of you on a bar crawl probably isn't. Remember that we're dealing with inches, not yards here. Bar crawl bad, shots of you watching a band at your local dive bar probably really good. As you spend more time on Instagram and looking at other feeds, you'll have an evolving sense of what's a good idea. 4. CONSIDER VISUAL UNIFORMITY There are now 25 million brands that have accounts on Instagram and 80% of Instagram users follow at least one of these brands. Some of these brand feeds are beautiful and some are far from visually appealing, to say the least. While It may not be the end of the world if your Instagram feed is simply a compilation of all of your images, we think you should consider the overall look of your feed and curate your images to fit this look and feel. Here you can see an example of what a well-curated feed with visual uniformity can look like. Keep in mind that the vast majority of users will visit your Instagram feed on mobile, so the image below shows how professional a feed can be with the same look and feel throughout. Also keep in mind that posts that show a location receive 79% more engagement, so while you don't need to be super precise in your location (you should think twice as a lawyer about identifying specific places you frequent) to have the city you're posting from is an excellent habit to embrace. 5. POST CONSISTENTLY This is absolutely critical and we realize that many people are afraid of social media because of what they perceive to be the level of commitment. Don't worry. Consistency means posting regularly, not a lot. If once a day works for you, great. Three times a week? Fine. But don't post those three tweets within an hour of each other and not post again for the rest of the week. If your fans (and if you build your feed they will come) expect one post a day because that's what you've been doing, keep it up. It's about quality and consistency, not quantity. All of that said, you're not going to get traction on Instagram is you post too infrequently. Our guide is to work towards one post per day. 5-7 posts per week is not an onerous task. Remember - they don't need to be perfect. They need to be posted. While the tips above are a great way to get moving on Instagram, it's important to remember that it's not just about posting static pictures. You can post short videos directly on Instagram and significantly longer ones on your Instagram feed through Instagram's own IGTV. There, you can post your video and it will appear as a preview on your Instagram. If you pique the viewer's interest, they can click to continue to watch the rest of the video on IGTV. As is the case with all social media, Instagram can be a powerful tool if used regularly and enthusiastically. As you post more frequently in Instagram and engage in a genuine way with your growing group of followers, you will see an increasing number of them become your clients. ----- Aron Solomon was the founder of LegalX at MaRS Discovery District in Toronto, one of the world's first legal technology accelerators. Published: Fri, Nov 22, 2019