The Mousetrap and the Funnel: Social Media for Law Firms

by | Aug 22, 2023 | Business

While most businesses understand the need for a social media presence, law firms don’t always fit into the category of “small business,” even though they technically run like one.

Law firms are small businesses. That may sound like a rather obvious statement, especially if you’re an attorney in a law firm. However, it’s important to note that many people rarely think of them that way. For instance, this makes the managing partners the CEOs and Presidents of the business. In most small and medium-sized law firms, it means the CEO/President is also the business’s most important product. It’s their knowledge and ability that the business is built around selling. 

What all this means is that law firms might just be the most unique business there is. That might be why most people don’t usually think of them as business first. However, when it comes to the idea of social media and the role it can play for attorneys, we need to tap into that idea of the law firm as a business.

It all starts with the product you offer and the way you let people know it’s out there.

Build the Mousetrap

“Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.” 

Building a better mousetrap is the process of making a better product. Law firms are fantastic at building a better mousetrap. By doing their jobs, lawyers are consistently improving their product because knowledge and experience are so vital to what they do. As I say that, though, many attorneys might wonder why, if their mousetrap is getting better all the time, is the world not beating a path to their door?

Maybe the idea of the world knowing about a better mousetrap was true once. When the world barely existed for most people beyond their villages, maybe everyone knew that James in the house on the hill had built the best mousetrap around. If that was so, that world didn’t last past the industrial revolution. Once the world began to become connected in whole new ways, building a better mousetrap wasn’t enough. Soon you needed to build it and make sure the world knew about it. That was the birth of advertising.

Show Your Mousetrap

Advertising is the process of trying to make the world aware of your mousetrap. Every business, including law firms, needs to make sure their name and product gets in front of as many eyeballs as possible. And that’s when things get tricky. As advertising developed, its ubiquitous nature soon became an existential threat. Futuristic movies would show advertising covering every square inch of available real estate where someone might happen to glance for a second. Today, though, you don’t see those concerns in the same way anymore. Something has changed.

Let Them Find Your Mousetrap

Advertising power was always going to fade in value. It’s a spray-and-pray approach to driving business that hoped that just a tiny fraction of the eyeballs that saw an advertisement might belong to a person who actually had an interest in what was being promoted. It was wildly inefficient. 

That brings us to today, where, oddly enough, we’ve returned closer to the direction of building a better mousetrap being enough. Today, the most effective way of getting people to purchase your mousetrap is by making it easy to find. Most businesses find success by targeting only to those who are already interested. They realize that there are people out there searching for a better mousetrap. All they need to do is make sure that their mousetrap is where people are looking.

That’s why advertising isn’t ubiquitous in the same ways. Businesses have learned that fewer but better-targeted means of reaching customers are better than widespread advertising. Few businesses, too, are better poised to take advantage of this than law firms and attorneys.

Embrace the Business Funnel

The best way to understand the current state of how to draw customers to a product today is through funnels. The idea is that there are all these people wandering around looking for your product. What you need to do is create a funnel that guides them right to it. 

The process of building funnels can have an analog component, but the bulk of the work is done digitally. At one end of the funnel, you have things like showing up highly ranked in search engine results (where people looking for a mousetrap are hanging around). Those results are driven by Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies.

The next part of the funnel is a landing page, where those search engine results directly go when clicked. These pages are a mix of SEO content – traditional copy that espouses the general benefits of the mousetrap, coupled with writing tailored to an even more niche segment of potential mousetrap customers. They end, more often than not, with a call-to-action that gives potential customers the chance to acquire the better mousetrap.

All of this is vitally important for attorneys and law firms to understand and put into action. Their industry, as much as any, is something that people are going to research before making a decision. The quality of your funnel can help guide them to your firm as the right decision. There are so many potential clients just looking for a funnel to fall into. As good as your mousetrap is, you need a set of funnels equal to it. This is where social media becomes so vital.

The Lip of the Funnel

Search engines were mentioned as an edge of the funnel in our above example, but they aren’t the only thing that can serve that function. Social media can also be an effective edge of the funnel. To many well-seasoned internet users, it can come as a surprise how quickly some people use social media the way others use search engines. A hashtag can be as good as a search bar in Facebook or Twitter. Social media can also create referrals. Even just developing a significant following can give someone a measure of credibility with others – and they don’t have to be potential customers. Followers can get you leverage to connect with others who may boost your firm’s exposure. It can also get people to your website – boosting traffic and giving Google a reason to rank your firm above another.

Having a robust social media for your law firm, with regular posting and relevant content, can end up driving a significant number of potential clients toward your funnel. Done well, social media becomes a valuable tool to show people just how much better your mousetrap is. If you’re an attorney or law firm that isn’t making use of this tool, you may be passing up a lot of potential business. However, social media will only be as useful as the rest of your funnel.

Work With Someone Whose Mousetrap is Funnel-Building

Let’s remind ourselves again that most law firms and attorneys are small businesses. That means they come with all the best qualities of small businesses, like a passion for their product (or service). However, this also means they can sometimes come with some of the common hang-ups that small businesses have. For instance, small businesses have a desire to handle every aspect of their business in-house, even when they would be better served by working with someone who specializes in that aspect of business. 

It makes sense that an attorney or law firm might see the concept of funnel-building and think they should do it on their own. After all, attorneys do quite a bit of writing already. While that is true, it’s a very different kind of writing. Attorneys write in the most efficient manner possible and in a way that leaves as little room for interpretation as possible. Unfortunately, though, that’s not what funnels need.

How a Pro Can Improve Social Media for Law Firms

The job of crafting a funnel is two-fold. It has to be effective in terms of pulling people into the funnel while also driving them further down the funnel once they are in. The first part is done through things like writing for SEO. The problem with that is that the exact algorithms used to determine search engine rankings (including on social media) are unknown. What’s more, they may change at a moment’s notice. Imagine having to write legal documents where half the applicable laws are unknown and could change without warning. That’s one reason legal writing is not always the best training for writing for funnels.

Writing for the edge of the funnel must also be paired with writing in a way that makes people want to continue down the funnel. This kind of writing needs to be something that catches people’s attention, emotions, and interest. While legal writing that attorneys are so good at is excellent when it comes to clarity, it can lack human attachment. There’s a reason most people don’t read legal documents if they can at all avoid it.

Funnel builders, though, have an understanding of how to craft something that a person might want to keep reading. Where attorneys ruthlessly cut extra words that might lead to a lack of clarity, a copywriter understands that an “extra” word or two might help the reader see themselves in the information being presented. The lack of clarity, too, becomes a tool the copywriter uses to create a mystery that pulls the reader along. Legal writing and funnel building are nearly at opposite ends of the writing spectrum.

Better Content Matters for Social Media for Law Firms

More than anything, if you are an attorney who recognizes the value of funnel building, you can also recognize the value of having a specialist do the job. After all, many people might be able to attempt to represent themselves or submit legal documents to a court, but you realize the mistake they are making by not working with a lawyer — a specialist who understands the nuances of the situation. The same is true of content writing and funnel-building. If you’re interested in working with funnel builders who take building our mousetrap as seriously as you do yours, contact us today. We can ensure the social media for your law firms does more than


Derick Jelley