There are many reasons why people choose one law firm over another to handle their case. While informative and user-friendly websites and case results can be a big influence, law firms should not forget the power of engaging with their local communities.
This is about more than simply giving back, although that is beneficial in and of itself. Community engagement is a strategic approach that offers a multitude of benefits. By actively participating in and contributing to the community, law firms can significantly enhance their brand, foster client loyalty and establish a strong presence in their local area.
Getting your firm in front of people in your local area provides a personal touch that digital marketing cannot always replicate.
Below, PMP takes a deeper dive into some proven strategies for engaging with the community. We discuss the many benefits of this approach, and the importance of posting about your efforts on your website and social media.
PMP has many years of experience building customized marketing plans for law firms across North America. We build law firm brands to help them get the return on investment they are seeking. Contact our experienced marketing professionals today to see how we can assist you.
How Engaging With the Local Community Can Benefit Your Firm
There are numerous benefits to engaging with the community, beyond simply attracting more potential clients:
- Personal connection: Engaging with the community in person fosters a stronger and more personal connection with potential clients.
- Brand visibility: Community engagement activities put your law firm’s name in front of local residents, increasing brand awareness in a positive and impactful manner.
- Standing out from competitors: By supporting community initiatives, your firm can stand out from competitors, showcasing your values and commitment to more than just signing more cases.
- Trust and credibility: Genuine involvement helps build authentic relationships with community members. You can establish trust and credibility, showing that your firm is knowledgeable, approachable and dedicated to serving the community’s needs.
- Networking opportunities: Engaging in community events provides numerous networking opportunities, allowing you to meet potential clients in a non-sales environment.
- Client loyalty: Clients are more likely to stay loyal to a law firm that demonstrates a commitment to the community, viewing your firm as a partner invested in the local welfare.
- Employee satisfaction and team building: Engaging with your local area also benefits your workplace culture, as it can boost employee morale. People are proud to work for a firm that gives back. Volunteering and working together on community projects can strengthen team bonds and improve collaboration within your firm.
- Making a difference: Through community engagement, law firms have the power to make a significant social impact, whether by offering pro bono services, supporting local charities or sponsoring educational events.
- Supporting local causes: By focusing efforts on local causes that resonate with the community, law firms can contribute to meaningful change and improvement in the areas they serve.
- High-performing content: Community activities provide a wealth of content for your website, blog and newsletters, keeping your content fresh and relevant to current and potential clients.
The benefits of community engagement extend far beyond immediate recognition, laying the groundwork for long-term trust, loyalty and a positive firm legacy within the community.
Here are some of the ways you can get out into the community and reap the benefits for your firm:
Sponsoring Community Events
Sponsoring local events is a powerful way to demonstrate your law firm’s commitment to the community. Firms can sponsor:
- Charity events like 5Ks for various causes, like research into a specific disability or medical condition
- Local sports teams, including professional, college high school or youth sports teams
- School functions
- Community festivals like music or art festivals
- Tree-planting events
- Conservation awareness campaigns
- Environmental clean-ups
- Veterans’ programs, like job fairs or legal clinics
- Museum exhibitions
- Blood donation drives
- Science fairs
- Literacy programs
- Animal shelters
- And much more
Sponsorship not only helps with brand visibility through the display of your firm’s name and logo but also positions your firm as a supportive pillar of the community.
Hosting Free Workshops and Seminars
Offering free workshops or seminars on topics related to your area of expertise is an excellent way to engage directly with community members. For example, a personal injury law firm might host a seminar on what to do in the event of a car accident or how to navigate the workers’ compensation process. Firms do not necessarily need to limit themselves to legal-themed workshops. You could also sponsor workshops for professional development in other fields that interest you.
These events provide valuable information to attendees while showcasing your firm’s knowledge and willingness to assist the community.
Community Service and Volunteering
Law firms can build a positive reputation by actively participating in community service projects or volunteering for local nonprofits. For example, your firm could volunteer for:
- Disaster relief
- Animal shelters
- Soup kitchens
- Habitat for Humanity
- Park cleanups
- Retirement homes or community centers
- And more
Engaging in these activities shows that your firm is invested in the welfare and improvement of the community. Regular participation in volunteer projects can also lead to meaningful connections and networking opportunities.
Local Media Appearances
Getting involved with local media, such as radio shows, television interviews or community podcasts, can significantly boost your firm’s profile. Offering to provide expert legal commentary on current events or hosting a legal advice segment can help establish your lawyers as go-to experts in the community.
Seeing a lawyer on TV or hearing him or her on a podcast helps to humanize them in the minds of potential clients. People are often intimidated by lawyers and local media appearances may help to break down those barriers. When lawyers seem more approachable, people are more likely to contact them.
Print Marketing in Community Publications
Advertising in local newspapers, magazines, or community bulletins can reach an audience that prefers traditional media. You can also reach people who are used to seeing other firms in these types of traditional media.
Tailoring your messaging to address the specific needs or concerns of the community can make your ads more relevant and engaging.
Networking Through Local Business Associations
Joining local business associations or chambers of commerce can open doors to numerous networking opportunities. These associations often host events, mixers, or meetings that allow you to connect with other business leaders and potential clients in a more relaxed setting.
Using Social Media to Amplify Community Engagement
Publicizing your efforts on social media helps amplify their impact. You can extend the reach of your offline activities and connect with a broader audience.
Law firms can use these strategies to publicize their community engagement on social media:
Share Real-Time Updates
Utilize social media platforms to share real-time updates and live content from community events, workshops or volunteer activities your firm is involved in. Posting live videos, stories or updates creates an immediate connection with your followers, allowing them to feel a part of your community initiatives, even if they are not physically present.
When participating in community service projects, sponsoring events or collaborating with local organizations, highlight these partnerships on your social media channels. Tagging or mentioning your community partners in posts not only increases the visibility of your efforts but also helps build stronger relationships with these organizations.
Use Hashtags Strategically
Incorporate local or event-specific hashtags when posting about your community engagement activities. Hashtags increase the discoverability of your posts, making it easier for people interested in local events or community service to find and engage with your content.
Create Engaging Content
Beyond just posting updates, create engaging content that tells a story about your firm’s community involvement. This can include behind-the-scenes looks at event preparations, interviews with team members about their volunteer experiences, or before-and-after stories showcasing the impact of a community service project. Such content not only publicizes your activities but also humanizes your firm and illustrates your commitment to the community.
Engage with your audience by encouraging interaction with your posts. Ask questions, invite comments, and encourage followers to share their experiences or thoughts on the community projects your firm is involved in. Interaction not only boosts the visibility of your posts but also fosters a sense of community and dialogue around shared values and goals.
Showcase Testimonials and Feedback
If you receive positive feedback, testimonials, or thank-you notes from community members or organizations your firm has supported, share these on your social media channels (with permission). Positive stories and acknowledgments from the community serve as powerful endorsements of your firm’s efforts and commitment.
Use Social Media Ads
Consider using targeted social media ads to promote your community engagement activities to a wider audience. Ads can be particularly effective for publicizing upcoming events, workshops or seminars, helping to increase attendance and participation.
Reflect on Impact
After major community engagement initiatives, use your social media platforms to reflect on the impact of these activities. Sharing results, achievements, or the difference your involvement has made reinforces the value of your efforts and encourages ongoing support and engagement from your audience.
By investing in your community, you not only build a stronger brand but also contribute to the growth and well-being of the area you serve, creating lasting impressions and relationships.
If you are looking for strategies for getting involved with your community to help market your firm, PMP may be able to help. We are trusted by law firms across North America. We have been helping law firms grow and sign more cases for more than 15 years.