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LP Magazine — TikTok Is Gospel to Generation Z

TikTokIn recently reviewing a law advertising campaign, I found myself saying that we need to run this on TikTok. I looked at the matter and the target audience, and it seemed quite clear that this was the best way to engage. My growing fascination with one of the newer online tools—from something I considered a ridiculous kiddie timewaster—to an app that someone sends a link with useful (and/or entertaining) information nearly every day. When it comes to effective law marketing in 2024, you need to know TikTok—and that is why I wrote TikTok Is Gospel to Generation Z in the May/June 2024 issue of Law Practice.

If you are blocked from reading the column behind the ABA paywall, it is provided below in its entirety.


  • Learn how TikTok might be a useful content marketing tool for your law practice.
  • Understand what makes a successful lawyer personality or influencer on TikTok.
  • Get tips on how to incorporate TikTok into your law firm’s business development efforts.

My 20-year-old college sophomore daughter cites TikTok like it is the Encyclopedia Brittanica. Of course, just the way I reference it says all you need to know about marketing to different generations of prospective clients. Lily probably would not just ask me about the Brittanica part, but also what is an encyclopedia? “Or do you mean Wikipedia, Dad?”

While the U.S. Congress might be concerned that the Chinese-owned app could be a national security threat, for those who play in the world of TikTok, it is about building followers, going viral and becoming a resource to a burgeoning client base in the land of influencers. After all, what lawyer does not want to be considered an influencer in their practice realm?

According to Search Logistics, an SEO agency, TikTok currently has one billion monthly active users worldwide. The typical TikTok user spends one and a half hours a day taking in a wide range of videos. The app has been downloaded over three billion times since its launch in 2016. Most content creators on TikTok are between 18 and 24 years old. And it is often the youthful users who are constantly sending parents TikToks of interest—and luring us into that web of distraction. Some of these TikTok personalities carry the same gravitas to Gen Z as if Walter Cronkite was delivering them the news. TikTok “advises” you on everything from the mundane (this week’s all-important Crumbl cookie reviews) to the critical (global news, financial markets, etc.).

According to a Pew Research Center study, most TikTok users don’t post themselves, but primarily view and consume content made by others. TikTok users depend heavily on the “For You” page they are getting fed. And you had better understand the very short attention span of the end user. Capture the audience’s interest in the first few seconds, or they’ll swipe right past you and on to the next one. Much like Tinder (or so I’m told).

Run a search for any type of law-related inquiry: How do I file for a trademark? Child custody issues in New York? Class action settlements? DUI lawyers? And, of course, personal injury attorneys of all shapes and sizes. TikTok will provide easy-to-digest answers (although “not legal advice,” of course), to guide you.

Most Marketing = Content Marketing

This holds true for traditional advertisers that must adjust to streaming viewers skipping past commercials. While billboards, television and radio commercials, and even more modern day pay-per-click campaigns on Google are still extremely relevant and beneficial in certain consumer-facing areas of law practice, for most of us—certainly anyone reliant on B2B or lawyer referral business—the focus is on generating content to market a law firm. Getting your hooks into a maturing client population now through TikTok provides a widening audience pool.

For many law firms, the short, sweet TikTok video post is an easy, less expensive alternative to the old-fashioned FAQ videos you upload on your law firm website and YouTube pages. The expectation is a little less formal, so ditch the tie and library background for something a little more hip.

Instagram seems to be the middle ground alternative between young adults and “veterans” of the law business. While Twitter/X seems to be losing steam in the cybersphere, Facebook gets called out for a variety of concerns and Snapchat skews almost too young, TikTok appears to be expanding. Technically, I’m on the edge of Baby Boomer, but identify as Gen X and often act like a Millennial. But as Gen Z starts to age, the likelihood of generating business development opportunities through the TikTok app increases.

Building Your Platform

Lawyers use TikTok as a platform for everything under the sun. “I’m a first-year associate, make $225k per year, and life is really hard.” Believe it or not, there are many of these TikTokers offering up lots of entertaining “sad stories” of life in #BigLaw. My gut reaction is usually “boo hoo” and then I watch another one—almost like a bad soap opera. Lots of tips from one lawyer to another—how to date, how to dress, how to eat—and perhaps you’ll find like-minded attorneys who want to join your network of contacts.

Recently, I suggested to an attorney that his Martindale-Hubbell AV rating was impressive—if you are trying to impress a 70-year-old general counsel. But if you are trying to impress a 40-year-old general counsel, he or she probably could not care less. If you really aim to be a social media influencer, you need to know who you are trying to influence and jump on the bandwagon of marketing resources built for 2024.

You might just use posts to show off the personalities of your attorneys. Or delve very deep into the nuances of a particular practice area. My kid referenced an attorney’s advice on TikTok—”I read the fine print, so you don’t have to” like it was coming from RBG herself.

Besides creating short-form video content for TikTok, you can still repurpose the posts for multiple social media channels in the same way you might use a program to simultaneously post other content to LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

Yo! I Want to Be a TikTok Lawyer Celebrity

Here are some easy-to-consider tips for creating your TikTok law marketing efforts:

  • Find a niche. Don’t be overly generic. Decide what your TikTok strategy is going to be and build a page of posts that match it.
  • Be a personality. You might be over-the-top gregarious (not me) or look serious but be dry-witted (perhaps), but you want to make your presentations memorable to build a following that comes back. And be relatable—nobody wants to hear heavy legalese.
  • Blend your TikTok efforts into the firm’s search engine optimization on top of paying attention to the all-important TikTok algorithm.
  • Don’t just let your attorneys post to TikTok willy-nilly either. Be sure to have a game plan and strategy for what you want to accomplish. The harder you try to go viral, the less chance you’ll get there. There is a reason for virality, and it is often unexpected.
  • Discuss topics that are trending.
  • Talk about your practice areas in a way that resonates with the end user.
  • Think about the legal issues you’ve tackled today and turn them into a 45-second snippet. Caveat: Nothing that might violate attorney-client confidences.

If you are a social media advertiser, perhaps in areas such as mass torts, class actions or personal injury, put a few bucks into a TikTok ad budget to boost your visibility. You may find opportunities here where you have been priced out on other platforms.

This might sound bonkers to Law Practice readers, but finding a successful influencer to hawk the law firm to their minions is a shortcut to TikTok stardom. Another caveat—follow the advertising ethics rules as they might pertain to celebrity spokespeople, testimonials and the like in your jurisdiction.

Like most marketing tools, there are a variety of products out there to enhance creation and editing of your TikTok videos. Although, sometimes a raw, unfinished look can feel less polished (in a good way). Worry less about “will this go viral” and more if it will feed appropriate app algorithms.

As to who to follow? I’ve seen many articles and presentations touting a variety of lawyers and law firms with followers in the tens of thousands to more than a million. My advice is to jump on TikTok and view/follow those that make sense for your practice. It might be based on geography, practice or simply aspects of lawyer lifestyles. You may look at it more as short videos that happen to appear on TikTok, besides other social media channels. You do you. Because, when my kids say they know who you are from TikTok, you’ve hit the big time!

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