Beyond the big 3 in social media: How useful is Instagram, Vine, Reddit and Quora for lawyers?
For lawyers who want to have a presence on social media, the safe bet would be the 'big three' of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. There's absolutely nothing wrong with sticking with the tried and true platforms, and in terms of reach, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn still can't be beat. However, for the more adventurous legal practitioners out there who hope to expand their online presence, what are the other social media alternatives available?
We have already covered the marketing potential of alternative social media platforms such as Google+, YouTube, Tumblr, and Pinterest: But what about Instagram, Vine, Quora, SlideShare and, yes, even Reddit? Well, let's assess the pros and cons of engaging with each platform, and whether there is any benefit for lawyers to have a presence on any of those sites.
Acquired by Facebook, Instagram was primarily known as a photo sharing site that allowed its users the ability to layer their photos with a number of appealing filters, which then could be shared with their followers or the rest of the internet. In addition to photos, Instagram have also added the ability for users to create 15 second videos which can also be shared. Now with that in mind, it's understandable that many lawyers will conclude that Instagram may not be their cup of tea in a professional sense - but do you have the full picture (pun intended)?
Instagram is extremely popular and for lawyers who choose to use the space in a creative way, can potentially increase their brand awareness. But as a lead generation tool, the benefits of Instagram may be negligible.
Vine is a video sharing service that allows users to post six second videos, and like Instagram, was acquired by one of the leading social media platforms, in this instance, Twitter. Now, many legal practitioners will not only be thinking about the perceived lack of value of being on Vine, but may also be asking themselves: What is the actual point of Vine? Before answering those questions, allow us to state that Vine is extremely popular among young people, and the six seconds of video is approximately the same length of time as an animated GIF - which seems to be the lingua franca of the internet right now.
Similar to Instagram, Vine can allow a legal practitioner who has a creative bent to use the platform in an innovative way, therefore, also potentially increasing a firm's brand awareness. However, as a lead generation tool, the benefits may be slim.
Quora is an aggregate question and answer site that allows registered users to create and edit content. Quora may not be as widely known as other social media platforms, but boasting users such as Stephen Fry, Ashton Kutcher and Jimmy Wales (the founder of Wikipedia) just to name a few celebrity users, the site has some cachet.
Anyone using Quora must register under their real name, and once registered, users can either up-vote or down-vote answers.
Beyond the question and answer component, Quora also has blogging capabilities as well, so the obvious question would be: Is Quora worth it for lawyers? There certainly is some value for some lawyers to use Quora because it can help with obtaining mindshare, especially if a lawyer's answers are consistently up-voted. However, the user base of Quora isn't as large as other social media sites, and for small firms whose clientele may be more localised in nature, Quora may not be very useful.
Reddit has been referred to as the 'the front page of the internet', and for those who are unfamiliar with the space, they may be wondering what all of the fuss is about. However, allow us to state that Reddit is a space to be reckoned with.
Similar to Quora where registered users up-vote or down-vote submissions, which will then determine the ranking of the post. However, unlike Quora, popular Reddit threads can extend beyond the site and permeate through the wider online consciousness.
Entries on Reddit are categorised into areas of interest called, 'subreddits', and any registered user can create a subreddit relating to any topic area (such as legal content for example) beyond the default set of topics. Additionally, registered users can also post on more popular subreddits, such as IAmA (I Am A) where the user can post on AMAs (Ask Me Anything), allowing others on the site to ask any question related to the person's specialty.
Of course the key question is the usefulness of Reddit for lawyers? Well, as one of the most highly trafficked sites on the internet, the potential of Reddit can be immense for adventurous legal practitioners. However, Reddit can be time consuming and due to its unfiltered nature, can be intimidating for conservative lawyers.
SlideShare is a site that allows users to share PowerPoint, PDF, OpenDocument or Keynote slides, in addition to documents and videos.
Slides can be shared privately or publically, and the site can be a great tool for law firms to utilise. Users can rate, comment and share slides, and as a marketing tool, can potentially be valuable for firms who upload quality content.