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Instagram for marketing and relationship building for lawyers

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Almost 20% of adults use Instagram, a photo/video sharing social network owned by Facebook. Though I have an Instagram account and use it occasionally, I have not thought of Instagram for marketing and business development.

I may need to rethink things after reading a piece by realtor, Emily Medvec (@emilymedvec) in the Santa Fe New Mexican, who says the power of Instagram for business professionals is networking.

Photo and video sharing is a powerful way to tell stories, market services, brand products, share ideas, and build social-networking relationships. Today, there are over 200 million active users who photo-share an average of 60 million photos a day with their online social and business sphere! If your goal is to use social networking to build relationships and engage your customers and audience, then Instagram is a unique way to interact using the power of pictures.

Instagram has particular appeal to younger adults, urban dwellers, and non-whites. And there is substantial overlap between Twitter, per Pew Foundation research. 57% of Instagram users also visit the site at least once a day (with 35% doing so multiple times per day).

Medvec’s certainly right about our love of smartphones.

We love to take and look at pictures. Our mobile devices make it easy to share our visual experiences. Instagram allows you to not only to share your photo and video moments with your family and friends, you can share them with one tap on other social-networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Tumblr.

As a lawyer, you are only limited in your networking through the Internet by your own imagination. Sure. there’s ethical concerns, but lawyers have had little, if any, ethical problems networking via Facebook, Twitter, or blogging.

Sharing pictures of law firm employees having fun while participating in civic events. Sharing a video of your son batting in little league. How about your daughter at volleyball? Or your family at a ballgame? Or you and your spouse celebrating your 20th anniversary?

I found sharing pictures on Twitter beginning five years ago to be more interesting to clients and prospective clients than other items I shared. And why not? We can be more interesting as people than as professionals.

Want to give Instagram a start? From Medvec:

  • Download the Instagram app to your smartphone.
  • Use your Facebook or Twitter name, add a profile image or logo.
  • Complete your short bio, add a website link, connect your account to Facebook.
  • Let your followers know they can find you on Instagram.

And some tips:

  • Take a look at Instagram’s section on how to use the network for business and Instagram’s blog for business to learn how to use Instagram and share photos and videos beyond the Instagram site.
  • Share only your photos and videos.
  • Tell your story with a balance between your interests and business.
  • Perhaps share pictures of your product. Tough for lawyers (except as to clients’ products), not so tough for LexBlog. Sharing pictures of clients and business associates at social events could be a good fit for lawyers.
  • See if there are relevant hashtags to help others on Instagram find you.
  • Use the filter tools to target market.

Hey, I know we’re up to our eyeballs with the various online media and social networks we can use for business development. But your smartphone, with camera, is always at hand.

  • Michael Belgeri

    Ironic. Here I am, a Realtor, and avid reader of your blogs. What do you do? You bring in a blog by a Realtor. Instagram, like Pinterest, does have a critical aspect of appeal for Realtors simply because buyers and sellers want to see pictures.

    You, of course (and as usual), point out that it might be a challenge for attorneys because most attorneys are too busy and not photo dependent by profession.

    What may be the situation for attorneys is that some would need it more than others depending on the nature of their clients–because some client’s businesses and products are central to their effectiveness.

    There is a blog somewhere on which I read a caution about tweeting that also would apply to the photo intensive Instagram. That blogger suggests that, while there are 9 different reasons to tweet, (Information Sharing, Self Promotion, Opinions/Complaints, Statements and Random Thoughts, Me now issues, Questions to followers, Presence Maintenance, Anecdotes by me, and Anecdotes by others), 90% of all tweeting, and, by inference, Instagramming, should be “Information Sharing” and only 10% should be about the other 8 reasons. I’d say that also applies to Instagram.

    • http://kevin.lexblog.com/ Kevin OKeefe

      Thanks for the comment Michael. I try to find good pieces on blogging and social, no matter the field. Often they’re outside the law as here.

      Sure there are things that one ought not Tweet nor post to Instagram. Usually common sense will dictate. The problem in the law is getting the lawyers to loosen up enough to use Twitter and Instagram. ;)

      • Michael Belgeri

        Understood. No different with real estate agents or other licensed pros.