Our thanks to the Pew Research Center’s Social Media Update 2016 for an annual update that documents how Americans use social media today. We believe that your estate planning and elder law firm will benefit from understand the big picture when making decisions about what social media platforms are appropriate for your firm. Pew’s research confirms what many of us have already seen: most Americans get their news from social media, they look for work on social media and when they take a break during the workday, they check social media. According to the Pew report, Facebook continues to lead as the most popular social media platforms among all online adults, followed by Instagram (32%), Pinterest (31%), LinkedIn (29%) and Twitter (24%).
If your firm is not already on Facebook, or if you currently have only a personal profile and not a law firm business page, perhaps this is the information you were waiting for?
These social media websites—Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter—are the major players in popular culture and commerce. If you are not familiar with them, here’s a quick look at what they are and how they may or may not fit in with your law firm’s marketing.
As noted above, Facebook is the social networking site that allows users and companies to create profiles, share photos and videos, send messages, keep up to date with friends, post political and social commentary and use as a global online meeting place. Facebook is a mature platform that has become a robust advertising platform and dominates the social media landscape.
Instagram is all about photos and videos. Phone photos can be transformed by using filters to give them all kinds of special effects. Instagram allows you to share photos on multiple social media platforms, including Flickr, Facebook and Twitter. You can also check in with Foursquare through Instagram.
Think of Pinterest as the biggest cork bulletin board ever created. Crafts, cooking, health and fitness, fashion, exercise and parenting are some of the main themes of Pinterest. Users pin photos and videos, DIY guides, ideas and helpful tip. The emphasis is on finding and sharing information from a community of contributors.
We hope you are already familiar with LinkedIn, but in case you are not, here are the basics. LinkedIn is a social networking site designed for business users. Once you have created a personal profile, you can network with people, and what we love best, see the networks of people who are in your own network. On LinkedIn, everyone is only a few degrees of separation away—sometimes six, but sometimes far fewer.
Twitter is the ubiquitous microblogging site that gives users the ability to broadcast short posts known as “tweets.” The swiftness with which news travels around the world today is in large part due to the massive use of Twitter as a communications platform by individuals, entertainers, candidates and anyone with access to a cell phone.
These are the big five. There are many others, but chances are you can reach everyone you want to reach using Facebook, LinkedIn and if you are so inclined, Twitter. Many people start out trying to be in too many places at once, and then don’t gain any traction on any platforms. If you focus on one and build it out, you may find that it does what you want—enhances your online presence, reaches people who might otherwise not know you and gives you a platform to promote your knowledge—then you can make the decision to either move to conquer another platform or stick with one that works well.