If you’re a lawyer, were you aware Reddit could be a good way to boost your business?
Now, you may be asking yourself, “What’s Reddit?”
Reddit calls itself the “front page of the internet” but it’s really just a collection of communities, called “subreddits” where users participate in threaded discussions on topics of all kinds. It’s got more than 300 million active users and has seen a bit of a resurgence in popularity the last few years.
And one attorney based in New Jersey tells us the site can be a great way to show off your legal expertise and potentially meet new clients.
“People choose a lawyer by expertise and experience,” says attorney Lauren E. Scardella. Scardella recently published an article about how lawyers can use Reddit to grow business.
“Judicious and active use of Reddit can help a lawyer showcase that (expertise and experience),” she says.
Among the thousands of subreddits are people looking for some advice, not necessarily from an attorney, but definitely some legitimate expert advice.
And if you’re vigilant and searching the right communities on Reddit, you can offer that advice to the person looking for it. And once they find out you’re a lawyer, you may be the first person they turn to as their representative in court.
Here’s a good example of how an attorney can use Reddit to potentially find a client to represent:
A person visits the Law topic on Reddit and finds a subreddit on agreements with contractors. If this is an area where you’re an expert, you visit there and find someone who’s having a problem with a contractor they hired. They’re not getting anywhere with the contractor and they need legal advice.
If you supply them with the proper legal advice, that disgruntled person could turn to you and ask you to represent them.
Scardella pointed out 2 very simple ways to meet potential new clients on Reddit and to use the site to offer your written legal expertise that addresses peoples’ real-life problems.
How Can a Lawyer Increase Business with Reddit?
Here are 2 super simple ways a lawyer can use Reddit to increase their business.
Host an AMA (Ask Me Anything)
Ask Me Anything (or AMA) forums are a great way to show off your legal expertise to a wide audience. They’re not just for celebrities and big-time CEOs.
Because Reddit is so granular, you can host a legal AMA on any area where your firm has an expertise.
Hosting an AMA on Reddit only takes a few steps to verify that you’re real. Once you’ve completed those steps and you’re all set up, be sure to promote your upcoming AMA to field questions and have responses at the ready.
Scardella says responses to AMAs are one of the top ways for a lawyer to grow business.
“Done well, you engage regularly and respectfully,” she says. “You can link Reddit to your other social media.”
Scardella adds that within Reddit’s massive user base, AMAs remain a popular forum.
Participate in Subreddits
Reddit has an endless supply of subreddits.
“These can get pretty narrow and granular,” Scardella says. “So a lawyer can search for subreddits that fit with their areas of practice and engage with people there, not in a salesy way.”
It may take some time to find exactly the right threads in which to participate but if you find someone who genuinely needs legal advice and you can offer it, by all means, do so.
“Lawyers need to find the forums on reddit (the subreddits) where their potential clients are, and they need to engage with them there on genuine ways,” she says. “Ideally, the lawyer has genuine personal interest in the topic of the subreddit so other redditors (reddit users) have a sense that the lawyer is engaging with them in the subreddit our of genuine commitment to the topic rather than obligation.”
For example: Here’s a post from September under a subreddit called Legal Advice. You can check out the question and responses here.
“I’m being fired for following company policy. I’m currently working from home because COVID. At the beginning of the pandemic our company decided most people should work from home and we could access the on-site resources that we need through the company VPN. A week or so later they sent an e-mail asking us to refrain from using the VPN too much because it wasn’t holding the pressure very well. The new policy was to use the VPN only when necessary and just be on our home network for all the rest. I scrupulously followed this policy because lately I have mostly been working on technical reports and rarely needed to access the specific on site resources anyway. Yesterday I was called in by higher management for a “productivity review”. I was accused of spending days not working, because I didn’t use the VPN for days at a time. Turns out they reviewed everyone’s VPN login history, and decided that we weren’t logged on the VPN, we weren’t working. From what they said I’ll probably be terminated for stealing company time. I feel this is particularly unfair since we were asked not to use the VPN when not needed.
I met all my deadlines and there wasn’t any issue with any client. I probably worked even more hours than before because I didn’t waste time commuting. Since I’ve started at this company 12 years ago my performance reviews have always gone very well and I’ve been promoted regularly.
I’ve talked to colleagues and there are five of us in the same situation. We’re all over 40 and with high salaries. I think this is a covert way to eliminate “expensive” employees from the payroll. Do I have any recourse? Would it be considered wrongful termination?”
The person who posted this question is from New York. There were more than 100 responses to the question. Many of those responding were lawyers, and the person who posted the issue received plenty of good advice.
If your posted advice was something that stuck with that person, they likely would turn to you as their legal representative. You’re already familiar with their problem and when they needed some advice, you were there to provide it.
It doesn’t take a lot of salesmanship to make that connection but if a thread is crowded with legal opinions, reaching out to that user via a message on the site could be the next step to lock them in as your client.
How to Get Started on Reddit
Reddit is huge. If you don’t learn to get specific about your use of the site, you can spend too much time wading through the ever-expanding amount of information on the site.
You can avoid the overload by taking specific steps while setting up your account. Go to the Reddit site (www.reddit.com) and click on the sign in box at the upper right hand side. Fill in all the required information.
Then you can choose your subreddits. For example, a lawyer may choose “r/law – developments in the law and legal profession” or r/legal advice. You can subscribe to those subreddits.
When you sign in, you’ll see your chosen subreddits and will also get some general subreddits that all users see. You can remove those, so that your Reddit only shows the topics you have chosen.
Is Reddit Worth It for Lawyers?
People seeking a lawyer are looking for a combination of expertise and experience.
“By providing free (non-legal) advice and guidance in areas of their expertise, it allows lawyers to connect with many people, some of whom will become prospects,” Scardella says. “Even more importantly, from the perspective of the prospect, connecting with the lawyer on Reddit is a “small bet” – a way to begin a relationship without risk to see how humane, conscientious, and knowledgeable the lawyer is.”
Scardella adds that using Reddit can turn out to be an excellent tool for business development, if done well.
“Done well means engaging regularly and always respectfully with people, providing value through AMAs and helping people where you can, and (here is a valuable key) using other social media to promote your Reddit presence,” she says. “While it’s great to run an AMA, why not schedule it 7-10 days in advance and use all of your other social media channels and your website to advertise it? You never know who has visited your other social channels but is actually the most engaged on Reddit. With such a massive user base, it’s guaranteed to be more prospective clients than you think.”
“It doesn’t take a lot of salesmanship to make that connection but if a thread is crowded with legal opinions, reaching out to that user via a message on the site could be the next step to lock them in as your client.”
The author glosses over the fact that this is specifically forbidden under the subreddit’s rules.