In the world of online legal marketing, it can be tricky to know what’s what. Unless you got an undergrad degree in business marketing, chances are you didn’t get a lot of training on the in’s and out’s of online marketing, let alone the nuances of legal marketing. Granted, your job is to be a lawyer, not a marketing specialist, but the point remains: it’s an important aspect of your law firm. The big question is whether or not you should do the marketing yourself, or if you should hire an outside agency to do it for you. Here’s a few ideas of things you can do yourself, and a few that you might want to leave to the specialists.

Social Media

In today’s age, social media is a huge contributing factor to the success (or lack thereof) of modern businesses. Social media isn’t just about exchanging selfies and status updates anymore. Through the various facets of modern social media, you can establish a strong online presence, helping you build visibility, reputation, and potential clientele. This is a field that with a little studying on your own time, you can get that hang of quickly. Get familiar with the different social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) and especially with how they work for businesses. On most platforms, there are ways to sponsor content and run advertisements to get people’s attention. You can learn how this works, and how it can affect your particular field of law, through a little bit of research. Entrepreneur.com, for example, features a great section full of articles where you can stay up to date on how social media is being utilized in the modern business age. That being said, if managing metrics and data gets to be too much of a hassle, you can always look for additional help as needed.

Content Curation

On top of good social media management, the content you put into the online world is invaluable as well. A social media account or website is only as good as the content inside of it. Even the most beautiful cookie jars don’t make a big difference unless they’re full of good cookies. You might not need to hire outside help if you’re particularly savvy with the pen (or the keyboard). One of the best ways for law firms to find success in legal marketing is through great content curation. Write articles, blog posts, social media updates, anything that helps the public see what kind of firm you are, what you stand for, and what they can expect from you as their attorney.

If you wouldn’t consider yourself “mightier with the pen than the sword”, or if writing content takes too much time out of your work schedule to produce properly, it may be good to look for help, since it’s better to have a smaller amount of good content instead of lots of subpar content.

Brand Reputation

This is one of the aspects that ultimately must come down to how you, as a lawyer/law group work in the world. It’s important to build a reputation of reliability, communication, and assertiveness. You can polish your reputation through good social media, content writing, or even things like hosting local events and making good business cards. These are ways you can spread the word, and people will recognize your firm more readily than others.

The other major aspect of brand reputation is with the “social proof” that comes from your own clients. If you work hard and give results to your clients, they’re naturally going to spread the word and that helps you build a reputation.

Search-Engine Optimization (SEO)

Here’s one that you should probably leave to the professionals. SEO can be a very complicated aspect of online marketing, and for law firms, it can be trickier than usual. You need to know all sorts of data and metrics and while the content you create is vital, it’s also imperative that you have a way of spreading that content through to people’s computers. SEO is important, especially since so many people are going online to find a lawyer nowadays. To utilize SEO tactics to their fullest extent, you would need to understand all the various facets of online marketing. Without having proper experience and schooling, it can be very difficult for you to get a good campaign running. This is one of those aspects that, with the help of an agency that specializes in this, can make a huge impact on your legal marketing plan.

Website design

As with SEO, website design is often a complicated process requiring an in-depth understanding of the various forms of coding, processing, and general design. There’s a reason people have entire careers based on website design. There are several sites you can use to make your own website, but as a law firm in the modern age, a basic, free website often doesn’t quite cut it. Having an easy-to-navigate website with a good “library” of information can transform your online presence entirely, and hiring outside help can be a game changer.

Case Intake

When it comes to case intake, this is where it can go either way. You can use your own intake specialists, or hire outside help. Both options have their pro’s and con’s. If you have your own intake specialists, they can become very integrated with your firm, learning how to work with you and all the other employees. However, you need to make sure they’re well trained, efficient, and diligent. The same goes for outside help. A third-party intake service can take some time to get them accustomed to your firm’s work practices, but they’re focused on persistence, following up with potential clients, and consistency. Case intake is invaluable in modern law firms since they help take unnecessary pressure off of you, the attorney(s), making sure nobody falls through the cracks.

When it comes to these few legal marketing options, it’s always important to find out what exactly you’re able to do, and what you’re willing to spend money on. If you’re a smaller, newer firm, there’s plenty of inexpensive marketing tricks you can do on your own to boost your marketing strategy, but if you’re looking for a more comprehensive campaign, it never hurts to talk to a specialist.