Innovations Fresh Thoughts For Managing

Why Lawyers Should Be Early Adopters of Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels is a new in-app function where users can create 15-second clips that are synced with fully licensed music, audio effects and filters. After a global soft launch in places such as Brazil, Reels launched in the United States in early August and has become wildly popular in many social media circles. 

Instagram released Reels because they saw an opportunity to grab TikTok’s market share in the United States and beyond. As the regulatory screws tighten around Chinese-owned TikTok, some large platform was bound to release their own equivalent, so Facebook-owned Instagram was a natural fit to eat up this social media market share. I think it can be a great marketing tool for legal organizations.

WHAT’S ITS PURPOSE?

What Reels does is simple and compelling. You can record and edit 15-second videos with audio, effects and new creative tools. (Learn more about one of them below.) You can share Reels with followers on your Feed and, if you have a public account, make them available to the wider community through a new space in Instagram’s search (Explore). 

Instagram users have seen a marked change over these past three weeks in the appearance of the Explore function. Reels in Explore is the first thing they now see when they search, and the company claims to have done this to offer “anyone the chance to become a creator on Instagram and reach new audiences on a global stage.”

This is really a key point. Most people who use social media dream of creating a piece that can become viral. Importantly, going viral can be an overwhelming experience but a potentially very desirable one for building your brand and base of prospective clients. 

WHAT MAKES IT A USEFUL TOOL?

I’m pretty bullish on Reels. As with any new social media app or functionality, it’s invaluable to be an early adopter — which you can still do — especially if you’d like to use Reels for business purposes. Instagram Reels gives you a chance to try something totally new on social media, and I highly recommend trying out its functionality. 

A well-designed plan is one that allows the associate to have an intentional path forward but that also allows for natural shifts that come with the passing of time and more experience. 

Of course, a development plan is only effective if it results in action. Given the nature of a busy associate practice, encourage associates to include incremental action steps in their plan. For lawyers, the ultimate goal is discovery. Who wouldn’t want a larger reach and visibility for their Instagram account, if they have one? And if you don’t, Reels should have you thinking twice about why you’re not on a platform with such a massive reach. 

As for the functionality of Reels, my favorite feature so far is something known as Transitions. Transitions allows you to create interesting and unique transitions between clips. Sure, apps such as TikTok can do similar things, but Reels brings a huge new audience to features such as Transitions because a large number of the Instagram audience hasn’t used TikTok.

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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR USE

So here is how I recommend a lawyer use Transitions in the maximum 15 seconds allowed on Reels: Show three aspects of your life that would give prospective clients some insight into who you are as a person. See these 15 seconds as a unique opportunity to show three things about you in a way that is potentially very memorable. 

Let’s look at an example: You love to cook, run on trails and ride horses — great! Transitions in Reels allows you to give people your visual perspective for each of these activities. You would take a little video of you doing each of these activities then use the transition feature to pull them together. Often in Reels the person snaps their fingers of throws something in the air to mark the transition. Always think about interesting cameras angles as well. Perhaps you want to do a POV — shot from your point of view, as if the camera is your eyes, rather than having the camera pointed at you.

While I don't recommend that you do anything dangerous or outlandish to do a Reels transition, there is ample room to show the same energy and creativity to prospective clients that you may one day show them as their lawyer. 

So, practically, what's the advantage of being on the leading edge of not only a new technology but its newest and most popular feature? It shows that you’re open to experimenting, learning and trying new things and that you aren’t a stuffy person who takes themselves too seriously. In other words, Reels may be the polar opposite of that lawyer stock art that litters Google images. 

Here are some examples to help get you started:

  • This one shows a lawyer’s Reel that uses Transitions.
  • This is a nonlegal example that also a solid use of Transitions.
  • And a funny one where the user shows that making these transitions isn’t always easy and takes a little practice.

Ideally, you are searching for a balance between still being professional and showing something to the world that has the potential to garner a large audience. 

I always remind clients that lawyers shouldn’t be using any social media to immediately attract new clients. Rather, the goal is to build relationships with people through social media that will later bring some of them into your prospective client funnel. And then of course you will work some of these prospects through the stages of your funnel into clients.