Online advertising, often through traditional social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram, as well as YouTube ads that are uploaded to other people’s most interesting videos, has become a popular way to reach potential customers. All of this points to the future of advertising moving more and more to social media. But social media is changing.
There is a whole generation of kids who don’t have Facebook accounts. The generation after them doesn’t have Instagram either. They are watching TikTok videos. TikTok videos often only last a few seconds, shorter than any video ad. This leaves no room for advertising. Even if you add an ad at the end, viewers will simply swipe it to go to the next video. As this generation grows older, sites like Facebook and Instagram will likely be left to virtual dust collecting like MySpace.
How do you reach consumers on TikTok?
Many forward-looking lawyers have realized that if they want to be seen by the next generation, they need to be on TikTok. Unlike YouTube and other long-form video platforms, there is no way on TikTok to get consumers to watch a short commercial before watching a video. Even if there was, they would swipe past it. To reach consumers on TikTok, you should stop advertising and instead produce educational or entertainment videos.
The Three Elements of TikTok Marketing: Content, Content, Content
It is no secret that the videos viewed on TikTok are controlled by an algorithm. Your video gets a few hundred views. If he does well, he gets more. Video performance is determined by several factors. Once that factor is the viewer retention rate. If users tend to watch a few seconds and then scroll to the next video without finishing the video, your video will have limited views. If people watch the whole thing, you’ll get more. User interaction is the next piece of the puzzle. If users like, comment and share your video, the algorithm will reward you with more viewers. Reposts and shares by viewers mean their friends will see it in their suggested feed. The final big piece of the puzzle is how frequently new videos are created and posted. You will get rewarded for posting videos continuously. So, you need quality content, engaging content, and quantity of content.
When was the last time you watched a TV commercial for a lawyer and thought it was attractive? And it’s hard to create one, let alone one a day. How do lawyers involve the consumer? Either you entertain or educate, or you do both. The key to marketing on TikTok is not to market yourself. Many lawyers have been able to build a following by offering educational videos about the law or entertainment videos that may or may not be related to legal issues.
One such example is @LawByMike. Attorney Mike Mandel has built a large following by creating high-quality entertainment videos that address unique aspects of the law across the board. His videos always appear in their feeds, keeping his brand in front of them. These followers can turn to him when they find themselves in need of a lawyer.
My law firm has also moved into the world of TikTok with our branding: @simmonsandfletcher. Our firm, Simmons and Fletcher, PC, Injury and Accident Lawyers, is a group of 3 attorneys who each portray their own style in videos. Attorney Christopher Fletcher has a very down-to-earth style of discussing legal issues and quirks that people may not be aware of. I use artificial intelligence to create entertaining videos where I give advice on law, business, and other topics that may have a funny or quirky twist. (Spoiler alert: I even turn into a skeleton in one!) Sharon Simmons Cantrell makes videos that offer helpful life advice as well as review Bible verses and how to apply them in life.
Entertainment, not advertising
The only thing you don’t find in any of these videos is a call to action. It is only entertaining and educational. This is important not only because people are less likely to follow someone who posts a bunch of ads, but also because lawyers’ ads are heavily censored. Every television ad by an attorney must be approved by the state bar association. Entertainment and/or educational videos do not need to be submitted for approval. In an age where continuous content creation is king of the algorithms, you don’t have 45 days to wait for tape approval between videos.
Influencer vs Advertiser
In short, your goal on TikTok is to build a following while boosting your brand awareness and expertise in the legal field. The idea is that if you have enough people following you, eventually they will need a lawyer and you are the person they know and trust.
About the author:
Paul H. Cannon is a shareholder and managing partner Simmons & Fletcher, PC Attorney, Injury and Accident in Houston, Texas. He is the firm’s marketing director and litigation attorney. Paul H. Cannon graduated from South Texas Law School and passed the bar in 1995. He received a certification from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Personal Injury Litigation Law in 2005. In the early 2000s, he realized that the future of marketing lay in learning Internet marketing And she participated in the Internet marketing of the company. He is currently responsible for the company’s online marketing strategy.