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Social media for law firms: The unwritten rules

If law firms are planning to use social media platforms as part of a marketing strategy, they must first get up to speed not only with their policies but also the unwritten rules, writes Clarence Ling.

user iconClarence Ling 22 August 2022 SME Law
Social media for law firms: The unwritten rules
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Social media has become part of all our lives. There are a plethora of platforms out there trying to command our attention every day, such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter and WeChat.

Each of these platforms holds unwritten rules, which can result in temporary or permanent restrictions on your accounts if violated. Restrictions on a personal account can be seen as a small inconvenience; however, the consequences for law firms are far greater.

In this article, we will explore the two social networks that law firms need to stay on good terms with so that they can continue to have a strong presence online. These networks are LinkedIn and Meta (Facebook and Instagram), two of the strongest networks for law firms to be on.

 
 

It is important to remember that these platforms are businesses, too. If you have restrictions placed upon you, do not take it personally. LinkedIn and Meta are just protecting their main revenue stream, advertising.

If you take into consideration the following unwritten rules, you should be set for smooth sailing on social media.

Let’s talk LinkedIn

LinkedIn is arguably the most important platform for law firms. Beyond having your law firm show up in other people’s LinkedIn feeds as paid advertisements, you can also directly market your law firm through LinkedIn Outreach. LinkedIn Outreach is executed through your personal profile and can open a world of opportunities.

LinkedIn Outreach is a powerful tool that all law firms should investigate. You can discover not only new clients through the process but also strategic referral partners. The process is much like networking in person and involves identifying prospects, connecting with them and then starting a topical conversation with a call to action.

LinkedIn Outreach is a pretty straightforward process; however, you must remember that you are operating within an ecosystem that holds vested interests and, therefore, has rules in place, with some of these rules being unwritten.

Connection request ceilings

Once you have discovered your potential prospects, it is time to send them connection requests.

The first ceiling to keep in mind is the number of connections a user can make. LinkedIn has capped this number to 30,000 first connections. Whilst you may never reach this number, it is important to keep in mind that connections on LinkedIn are not an unlimited resource and can be exhausted easily over time.

It is best practice to limit your connection requests to only the LinkedIn users who matter the most and who hold the best long-term value for your business.

Continuing the topic of connection requests, let’s talk about the number of connection requests you can make in a week. Before this number was put in place, LinkedIn connection requests were out of control, with an almost unlimited number being available to users. These requests were often made through scraping and automation software, causing a massive problem with spam.

LinkedIn has since settled on one hundred connection requests a week to combat this, making it even more important to choose your connection requests wisely. Going beyond this limit will start to trigger restrictions on your profile, limiting your ability to use the platform.

Whilst one hundred connection requests may seem like a high number, you will soon run out quickly if your strategy is poor. Typical acceptance rates for most users are around 5 per cent, whilst I typically receive a consistent 50 per cent acceptance rate using a proven LinkedIn Outreach strategy.

Keeping quality in check

It is also important to keep in mind the quality of the connections you make on LinkedIn, as too many connection requests being ignored or declined can lead to restrictions on your account. An invisible scoring system has been put in place to monitor your connection request quality and ensures that you aren’t simply spamming users.

Besides choosing the most qualified users to connect with, it is also important to be qualified by the user you are connecting with. Optimising your profile is key and will instantly increase the amount of successful connection requests.

Have I been restricted?

Restrictions on LinkedIn can take many forms, and you might not even know that you are currently restricted. Beyond the obvious restriction of being completely banned from sending connection requests, most users encounter a prompt to enter an email before connecting with a user, which is the most common restriction being enforced.

LinkedIn also monitors for politically incorrect content, which can provoke account bans. 

If you encounter any restrictions on your account, it is important to remedy them as fast as you can. LinkedIn provides information online on how this can be achieved.

Let’s talk Meta (Facebook and Instagram)

Whilst Facebook and Instagram are both social platforms for the masses, rules still apply for businesses operating on these platforms. With a considerable amount of the world’s population being on these platforms, it is understandable that restrictions come easier and more swiftly.

Whilst we won’t detail restrictions placed on personal profiles in this article, it is important to keep your personal profiles in check. When it comes to advertising on these platforms, here are some unwritten rules to keep in mind.

Older accounts have fewer restrictions

Accounts that have been on the Meta network for a considerable period of time are granted higher limits on both the amount they can spend on advertising and how many Ad Accounts they can create for their business.

These increases are great for scalability and make these accounts very valuable as a result. Whilst new accounts are severely limited on spending, older accounts are allowed to spend $5,000 or more per day. This increased limit, unfortunately, makes older accounts more prone to malicious attacks. 

Be ready for the ban hammer

Meta is the most sensitive company on Earth when it comes to using blanket bans to remedy policy violations. There are a lot of policies you must follow when advertising on these platforms, so make sure that you and your marketing team are aware of them and understand them completely.

For example, you are not allowed to advertise criminal law on Facebook or make reference to criminal convictions within any type of advertisement. You’d almost have to be a lawyer to comprehend all the rules and combinations that Meta enforces.

Always use partner or agency access with third parties

When outsourcing your advertising to an agency, it is important to never provide them with administrator access. If the agency commits a violation under administrator access, you will ultimately be held accountable, with restrictions being placed across all accounts that are connected to you.

For example, if you manage another Facebook page, you will receive restrictions to your advertising abilities on this account, too, and the same goes for any other administrators that are present on the original restricted account.

It is, therefore, in the best interest of your law firm to ensure third parties are only provided with partner or agency access and to enforce partial access controls when suitable.

Be diligent when choosing a marketing agency

It is important to do your research when choosing an agency to execute your advertising on your behalf. Understandably, agencies conduct business with a broad range of clients, with some being more dubious than others, such as cryptocurrency, businesses that are involved with multi-level marketing or businesses that have unproven claims for their products.

Agencies who service businesses such as these are, of course, viewed unfavourably by Meta, causing potentially unforeseen consequences to your business. To combat the likelihood of this happening, do your research and ensure you implement partner or agency access when using an agency.

Always have backup administrators

In the event restrictions occur, it is important to have backup administrators across all your assets, with one administrator not actively undertaking any advertising activity. This precaution should be taken to ensure your law firm can still access its accounts when other administrators have been restricted.

Conclusion

All social media platforms have unwritten rules, and the platforms that are best for law firms, LinkedIn and Meta (Facebook and Instagram), are no different. Each of these platforms enforces strict policies to ensure users are using their platforms correctly, even when advertising.

If you are planning to use these platforms as part of your marketing strategy, it is important to first get up to speed with their policies and the unwritten rules I have listed above. Otherwise, you may face restrictions that inhibit your law firm greatly.

Clarence Ling is the founder of Marketlytics.