There isn’t an industry that hasn’t been impacted by COVID-19 across the United States, and the legal industry is no different. At the start of the pandemic, courts across the country suddenly shut down, rescheduling trials and hearings for months while making drastic changes to court procedures. Now that a year has passed, most law firms have adjusted to the new normal of quarantine, whether that involves presenting cases over Zoom or adjusting office layouts and staggering appointments to make clients feel more secure during consultations.
From a marketing perspective, the team at SLS Consulting, Inc., has worked with dozens of lawyers through this process and developed new tricks for keeping your firm relevant during difficult times.
Google My Business Adds New Functions
Google My Business (GMB) has always been a valuable tool for succeeding in local search results, but COVID-19 showed that it was absolutely necessary for every business. The ability to update your office hours immediately due to closures or shutdowns was helpful, but it was more difficult for law firms that didn’t have a strong hold on their listings. Keeping track of all mentions of your firm’s name, addresses, and phone numbers across the web is important when an emergency like this occurs and forces businesses to act fast.
But one of the major changes brought by the pandemic was an update to GMB. Now, businesses can include alternative office hours for scenarios like limited closures brought on by the pandemic, or information about how an office is handling in-person meetings. Some firms have taken advantage of this and included COVID-19-related posts that detail how to safely enter their office from an alternative entrance or used the messaging system to handle direct questions from users.
There are several creative ways to use GMB during major events like this to ensure that your law firm is still actively engaging with clients, and SLS Consulting, Inc., is more than happy to walk you through them.
Social Media Matters More Than Ever
It is no surprise that social media use rose drastically during the pandemic, with Digital Commerce 360 reporting an upward trend of people consuming content on social media by 72% and posting more often by 43%. Many people were looking for a distraction from the pandemic, and social media has always been a major form of escape from reality.
For law firms, this means that having an active social network is key to staying relevant in the coming years. Even with things steadily going back to normal, it is doubtful that social media use will drop back to the old days. Law firms need to be more active than ever to help clients during difficult times, and social media is one of the top places for them to engage with users.
But it is important to pay attention to what you are posting. Digital Commerce 360 noted that alongside this increase in activity, 33% of users also paid close attention to content that was considered “tone deaf” and 49% said they changed their posting behaviors to share relevant and useful information. When it comes to a lawyer’s social media account, it is important to remember that being overly positive without providing concrete action or information may backfire. It is better to be aware of current events and try to offer genuine, legal solutions.
Community Involvement Is Key for Local Results
Alongside being active on social media, being active in the local community while also respecting health and safety guidelines was a common trend among law firms. Charity drives, particularly those focused on local businesses, continued despite the pandemic’s limitations on volunteer programs and actually increased compared to previous years, according to the Los Angeles Times. Many of our clients, including The Husband and Wife Law Team at Breyer Law Offices, P.C., and GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, shared in this sentiment as they rushed to help their neighbors and launched local charity events to support families, small businesses, and at-risk workers in need.
Being involved in your local community is invaluable to your local optimization strategy. By engaging with local businesses and helping your neighbors during tough times, your firm can reach new clients who may have never heard your name. Booking speaking engagements, setting up charity drives, and attending local events are all ways to create positive press for your firm and even acquire an important local link. Going forward, firms should remember to actively engage with their communities, as this may benefit their long-term marketing strategy.
Responsiveness Means More Than Just Mobile Design
In addition to an increase in social media consumption, websites also saw a rise in mobile browsing. In a survey by PC Magazine, 40% of users reporting using their cellphones to browse websites, making it the second-highest activity behind messaging. While it is no surprise that taking a mobile-first approach to web design is important for any website, law firms should be aware of how they can better engage with users.
Your average user may not have been aware that the courts were closed during the pandemic or that law firms had to adjust their office hours, leaving the user lost and confused about how to handle a legal case. One of the best ways to avoid this confusion is for lawyers to take a proactive approach when people visit their websites. For many of our clients, we created pop-up banners that immediately informed users of new office hours, safety guidelines, and how attorneys were available online via Zoom. We also implemented chatbot functions to help filter users toward legal staff as quickly as possible and even saw an uptick in online case submissions over phone calls during the last year.
Responding quickly to these types of changes is necessary for a law firm to avoid losing leads. While we hope that there is not another COVID-19-scale event in our lifetimes, SLS Consulting, Inc., can help your firm quickly respond to sudden changes like this. While you focus on restricting your office to a work-from-home structure or dealing with court closures, we can keep your site up-to-date with new information.
We Are Always Here to Help
Throughout all of the chaos of the past year, SLS Consulting, Inc., still stands strong beside our clients. We worked closely with them to quickly adapt to the new world and maintain their marketing campaigns when times were tough. Whether that meant shifting marketing efforts to different channels or developing new, creative ways to reach users, our team of legal internet marketers continued to push forward when the world stopped.
If your law firm is looking to build a detailed internet marketing campaign, contact SLS Consulting, Inc., at (323) 254-1510 or toll-free at (877) 248-3529. We offer free consultations and have more than 20 years of experience at your disposal.
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