The death penalty, gay rights and many other controversial legal topics have been making headlines across social media lately. Because of the contentious nature of these issues, people are more likely to have and want to share an opinion.
As a lawyer, you likely have a strong opinion on these matters as well but as you know, there are two sides to every argument. Rather than expressing your opinion outright, try using your various social media outlets to facilitate a debate and present both sides of the story in order to attract and engage the widest audience of potential clients possible. Here's a look at how to approach controversial legal topics using social media platforms.
The best opinions are those formulated based on information. When a case such as the recent Troy Davis execution comes around, impartial legal information on the death penalty can be hard to find. Why not use your blog as a place for your readers to come and learn about both sides of the death penalty debate and then ask for their thoughts on it after you lay out your arguments on each side. You can write about the history of the death penalty, how a stay of execution works or a piece on the strongest arguments for and against this type of punishment. Not only are you positioning yourself as a reputable source for relevant information, but also as a comprehensive source.
With the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, gay rights are a legal issue that remains in the news on a daily basis. There are lots of Facebook pages built around the various permutations on the topic so why not use your page to express a lesser explored legal issue. Take to your Facebook to discuss how the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell will affect legal military issues such as health insurance and benefits for gay partners. Posting unique legal angles is a great chance to get your page noticed and also remain a relevant contributor to timely legal discussions. Respond and engage with the comments you receive and encourage your users to share your information with others! Putting up information on Facebook is only half the battle--you need to remember to interact with it as well!
One of the unique values of Twitter is the ability to participate in legal discussions without having to take a lot of time away from your practice. Whenever there is a controversial legal issue, there is bound to be a robust conversation surrounding it on Twitter. Look for relevant hashtags and share your knowledge. Whether adding a link to a blog you wrote on the topic or simply giving your opinion, use Twitter as a chance to not only share your thoughts but also to hear the other arguments being presented.
-- Kevin Ahlvin, Director, Business Marketing
with Laura Strachan, FindLaw Portal Team