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Approaching Social Media for Your Legal Practice

American Immigration Lawyers Association members can view this month’s New Member Division Newsletter when they log into their accounts – the July 2014 issue features the following article on page 6 by Homa S. Woodrum, Esq., Owner and Attorney at Woodrum Law LLC:

July 2014 AILA New Member Division Newsletter

Approaching Social Media for Your Legal Practice

by Homa Sayyar Woodrum, Esq. 

Chances are a website is already something you consider an essential, but other professional connection options may be overwhelming. You are missing out if you are not online and engaging with potential and current clients, colleagues, and businesses. Social media encompasses all mainly internet based interactions that connect parties to one another and it is a great tool for immigration attorneys.

Before you start signing up for every social media outlet there is, I highly recommend starting with a couple and getting a feel for their unique offerings. Yelp, a review site largely for restaurants, has very active users looking to find ratings for attorneys alongside where to find the best veggie burger in town. Good market research via your intake form could ask prospective clients what outlets they use and how often they check in there. If you find that your clients are heavy LinkedIn users (which has a more mature demographic) or Tumblr (demographically younger) users, you’ll be able to direct your efforts accordingly.

My three guiding social media rules of thumb are to (1) be authentic, (2) be appropriate, and (3) don’t blatantly self-promote.

Be Authentic

Whether you are on Avvo (legal Q&As), LinkedIn (professional networking), Twitter (micro-blogging), Facebook (personal networking), Instagram (photo sharing), Pinterest (bookmark sharing), or even a blog, your authenticity is an important asset. Be who you say you are, use a photo of yourself instead of a firm logo, and maintain a consistent voice. Maintain your presence—reply to reasonable messages and engage followers positively. You don’t have to reply to everything or accept invitations to connect that don’t fit your approach, but do treat even the shortest message as you would an e-mail or phone call.

Be Appropriate

You’ll want to be aware of current events that are relevant to your audience. Without fail, when a crisis or tragedy is sweeping news outlets, there is someone with auto-posted messages looking insensitive to what is going on. Not that pre-scheduled posting is a bad idea, but there has to be maintenance and engagement on balance.

Observe the etiquette at play and always give credit where it is due. Follow other legal organizations that have good engagement levels and see what practices they employ. How often do they post and when? What mix of original content do they offer and when do they link to others?

Don’t Blatantly Self-Promote

Imagine that the internet is a cocktail party. You wouldn’t walk in with a megaphone and yell out your achievements. Celebrate others and share information. If you share interesting articles that relate to your practice area then you will generate followers and connections more effectively than if you keep reminding people what you do.

Avvo is a great example of how relevant legal discussions can be harnessed for search engine exposure. The phrasing of public questions mimics real search engine searches so that when the next person is googling the same issue, the Avvo post comes up. Your answer and profile link would appear and showcase your abilities with subtlety.

Give It a Try!

Immigration law is uniquely suited to social media because immigration clients are spread out geographically and often start their process with an attempt at self-help (read: search engines). Keeping in mind ethical obligations and advertising rules, attorneys can still engage in social media and build a base that may generate clients from the get-go or cement client decision making processes when they are choosing between choices of counsel. It takes patience, but is well worth your time to start now.

Homa Sayyar Woodrum is the owner of Woodrum Law in Las Vegas, Nevada, practicing immigration, guardianship, and elder law. Her top three social media outlets for attorneys are LinkedIn, Twitter, and Avvo.


The above article originally appeared in the July 2014 NMD E-Newsletter for AILA and is copyright 2014 Homa S. Woodrum.

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Homa Sayyar Woodrum has been licensed to practice law in the State of Nevada since October 2007. She graduated from the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada Las Vegas in May 2007 with her Juris Doctorate. Prior to law school she earned her BSBA in International Business at UNLV and has lived in Nevada since mid-2000 after relocating from Wasilla, Alaska. She practices in the areas of Business, Elder, Guardianship, Probate, and Estate Planning Law and started her practice in January 2014. She is an AV Rated Preeminent Attorney by Martindale and Avvo "Superb" Rated (9.8/10). In June 2015, Woodrum Law LLC welcomed Adam L. Woodrum, Esq. to the practice. He brought with him a number of years of experience in Criminal Law.

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2 Responses

  1. Dropya says

    I liked your post. It was informative and veiefird what I learned about it directly from some of Avvo’s representatives. However, I noticed that although I was the President of two different Bar Associations, it didn’t seem to make much difference to them at Avvo for some strange reason.I also noticed that some other lawyers who weren’t Presidents and didn’t have nearly 1/3 of the time being a lawyer as I did, ranked higher than I did for no apparent reason. That’s the kind of thing that makes me wonder about Avvo’s ability to really evlauate anyone accurately. I even noted that the former Surrogate of Nassau County had almost no rating with Avvo when he was one of the most well considered attorneys and judges in our county. While I understand that Avvo can’t tell a lot about someone when they don’t claim their identity, it just gives some idea of how inconsistent such ratings can be. Nonetheless, I like Avvo since it gives me great exposure, however, while I’ve been a major contributor for six months, I’ve only had one case come to me through Avvo so far. We’ll see what happens in the future.

    • Homa Woodrum says

      I think Avvo looks at how recent activity was as well – so someone with more activity recently (like board service, articles, etc.) may get more points than if they’d done the same activities like 5 years ago. I do know that contributions don’t impact scores – I haven’t gotten business from avvo as much as people do look over there when they’re referred and it bolsters confidence. Friends who pay for pro accounts have had referrals from Avvo but it depends on the practice area they’re in and how competitive it is. Good luck!