123. Mike Mandell, Mandell Law — Going Viral: The Power of Social Media and Brand Building

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With 106 million likes on TikTok and 7 million followers on social media, it’s no surprise that Mike Mandell is the number one lawyer on social media. Though he never intended to go viral, his informative and entertaining clips make the law accessible for his community. His firm Mandell Law was born from his wild success.

Today, Mike and I talk about the core concepts of creating engaging content, what to do with the negative comments and why social media is one of the most economical marketing choices a firm can make.

Whats in This Episode

  • Who is Mike Mandell?
  • How does he approach saturated channels like pay per click?
  • Do negative comments help with engagement?
  • How do you mentally prepare for video shoots?
  • How important are trends when thinking about creating social media videos?

Transcript

Mike Mandell

It’s all about just making sure that you’re putting out something valuable for the audience. Once you hit that mark, then you start tweaking it to figure out ways to maybe make it more interesting and insert some personality.

Chris Dreyer

Social media could be the key that unlocks a firm’s growth potential, but getting it right can be tricky.

Mike Mandell

As a lawyer coming up with the content, you really should be scripting it yourself and coming up with those ideas You got to remember that social media is about expressing yourself too. So if it’s originally from you or your voice, it’s going to just come off weird.

Chris Dreyer

You’re listening to Personal Injury Mastermind, where we give you the tools you need to take your personal injury practice to the next level. It’s no secret why Mike Mandell is the number one lawyer on social media. His informative and entertaining videos have attracted over 106 million likes on TikTok and 7 million followers on social media. Though he did not originally intend to go viral, his short clips did make the law accessible and the public can’t get enough. Relevant themes, like what to do when you get pulled over and how to deal with the police combined with a whole lot of authentic personality is a recipe for success. Today, Mike and I talk about the core concepts of creating, engaging content, what to do with the negative comments and why social media is one of the most economical marketing choices a firm can make. I’m your host, Chris Dreyer, founder and CEO of Rankings.io. We help elite personal injury attorneys dominate first page rankings with search engine optimization. Being at the forefront of marketing is all about understanding people. So let’s get to know our guest. Mike comes from a family of personal injury lawyers after a decade of making a name for himself at a prestigious firm, he decided to take the leap and start his own practice. He shares with us the moments that led to that decision. Here’s Mike Mandell, managing partner at Mandell Law. I come from a family of lawyers, So I grew up with this my entire life and it always just interested me hearing about the cases how my family would help people who were injured by the fault of someone else. And it just came naturally me growing up in that environment. Yeah. And, you had a decade of your career. You’re working at a very prestigious law firm and you made, you really made a name for yourself, what was that moment where you’re like, Hey, I’m going to step out. I’m going to start my own firm. What was that. There’s actually I was working at in big law, I was doing product liability defense. So I was on the other side. I know you have an audience of mostly personal injury. Plaintiff’s lawyers, I assume. I got a little sick of representing the bad guys, after a while it just doesn’t seem like you’re fighting for the right person. So I switched over to my family’s firm, at the end thing, it was October of 2020. But that was the first time I could start using social media. So when you work at a big law, you have to go through all this red tape. By the time you want to put something out, it’s not even what you wanted. But now working on my family’s farm, I had the opportunity to do that, but sure enough, within about a month of using social media blew up to a point where I couldn’t work with my family and also, continue doing what I was doing on social media. So again, I had to pivot and that’s when I opened up my own law firm and devoted myself to educating the public about the law.

Chris Dreyer

I want to focus in on something you said, this is 2020, right? So you’ve grew this amazing following in a few years. And I heard an interview where you mentioned that your goal was to be the Bill Nye of law. So first in your words what does that mean to you?

Mike Mandell

Yeah I think Bill Nye, I grew up with him as a kid. He made science entertaining and science is a dry kind of boring topic. And so is the law and I’ve taken some inspiration from. Bill Nye, even though a lot of people say bill Nye is not a real scientist, I’m actually a real lawyer. So maybe not the best person to compare to, but, the style of how he presented dry topics really inspired. To use that with the law and find creative ways to explain things in simple terms to the general public. And I think that’s what society really is craving because the law is so confusing and no one knows how to navigate through it, except for lawyers and just like science, the law intersects with everything we do, Bill Nye could talk about your gums made out of these, chemicals or whatever, and you could walk down the street and I could probably name seven laws that you know, who would relate to you.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah, I’d say, and I really got to applaud you because in the legal space you’re right. The contents really dry. We had Ed Herman from ed versus he’s got his own YouTube channel and he really made it entertaining from a different aspect. And I saw him reviewing a movie on Batman. It was talking about the laws that were broke, but your first video, I think I, in my research, it was only 15 seconds long, but it went. Crazy viral. So kinda tell me about that. What happened with that video? So

Mike Mandell

It wasn’t my first video and if my first video is not on there anymore, it’s probably cause I took it down after some time, but it just, so everyone knows out there, I didn’t, it wasn’t like my first video and all of a sudden blew up. My, my very initial ones were pretty bad when I look at it now. And that’s something, as you can create content for awhile you continually try to improve things and it hurts to look at some of the original stuff. But I think the video you’re talking about, or one of the first ones I know that went viral was just what to say when the cops pull you over do you know how fast you were going? I again, when I went into this, I wasn’t thinking this is going to be a viral thing. I was hoping to get my friends and maybe their friends to see my face and call my family’s from at the time. But looking back on stuff now the post was so popular because it’s a common thing that people have to deal with. And there were either they’ve dealt with it or they’re worried about dealing with it and they want to know a lawyer’s perspective. What do I say? What’s the best thing to say? And of course we did it in a, interesting visual way, but at the same time it said that information that people were seeking.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah. I think from the consumer perspective, when I get on your tick-tock and I get on your YouTube, Your content is really relatable. some of it is very specific, right? Like mixed in, but there’s a lot of these broad topics that we all kind of experience and I think you’ve just done a really great job at that. So I, I want to just dive into the social media strategy. tick, tick tock. I checked today. You’ve got, I think six and a half million followers. YouTube you’re over a million and the personal injury attorneys listen here are like, Hey, I’m posting a social everyday. I hired a video company. We did some videos, they’ve got 500 followers and, so let’s break this down, w what was that tipping point? Was it steady content? Quality volume combination of both

Mike Mandell

Consistency is is key and consistency doesn’t mean you have to post every day. It just means you have to do the same cadence. So if you’re gonna post once a week, continue posting once a week, don’t mess with the algorithm. It gets used to, your posting schedule and definitely don’t post something and then take a month off. That’s a mistake. I think a lot of people make a lot of people get burned out in the sense that they don’t see the numbers that they want to see right away.. I can tell you, It was probably 20 or 25 posts into that one. And my first one maybe got a hundred people looked at it and I was like, oh, okay, cool. Then, steadily kept going, but the consistency is how you get there. And another tip is again kind going back to what we were saying. Figure out the things that are common that people care about knowing, and it doesn’t have to be, I’ve taken on the role of the Bill Nye, of law of explaining all law. For personal injury attorneys out there, you need to think about what are things. Related to your field that, the common person who would want to know about, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be that they need a lawyer for it’s just tips. Like I had one post explaining why you should have USM or UIM coverage. I didn’t think that thing was going to do well at all. But it did really well because I, the purpose of the post was explained what the coverage is that it’s fairly cheap to add and that it protects you. The other person has no insurance or crap insurance. Or a hit or run or whatever. Yeah. And people were like, thanks, Mike, thanks so much for sharing this information. I’m going to buy it right now. And it’s those things that you got to think about? I give an example sometimes too, if you’re a bankruptcy lawyer, you can talk about bankruptcy laws and people are going to fall asleep, or you could talk about how to improve your credit score. Just think about things. Could be related to what you deal with, but you want to give people tips that will something they can act on right away that they don’t necessarily need to call you for and start building that trust with the community that you build.

Chris Dreyer

I think that’s a great piece of advice. You got to give them the content that people want and it appeals to a broader audience. If you’re just too specific, you’re a trucking guy and you’re just talking about trucking accidents. You’re basically segmenting yourself and you’re not creating content for this whole audience and eventually you’re putting your audience asleep.

Mike Mandell

Yeah, if you, if all you want our trucking customers though maybe that works. One thing that people need to keep in mind with social media is that it’s not so much about the numbers yet. Yes. The numbers show that you have a big reach, but really it’s about the community you build. I’d rather have a thousand people or 500 people that are commenting and engaging with me every day than 500,000 people and only 1% or, whatever. Of them are really engaging with me because social media is a tool to build trust with people who may not be a client now who may be a client later. And then you have a real opportunity there to find an audience that likes what you do. So that’s why I say a lot of times don’t get so caught up on the numbers. Get caught up on are people reacting and engaging with you and are you building no matter how big or small it is a team of people that like to, back you up and see the content that you put out.

Chris Dreyer

Yeah. And there’s a ton there that I want to touch on. Pay per Click and a lot of different channels and they’re just so saturated. And what are the advantages? You alluded to it too, to the community side, is there a place in your strategy for these other channels? Pay-per-click and things like that, are you just really concentrating on the owned asset, building your communities onsocial?

Mike Mandell

I have so many things going on at once that I haven’t thought about, the other forms of media or advertising. Not that I wouldn’t do it. I do think there’s an advantage to all of it, even billboards out there, which I’m still surprised that I see when I drive down the freeway, like 30 PI lawyer billboards, but social media is free essentially, except for your time. And. You get so much more of a result from it because people, you can communicate with these people. It’s not in a commercial advertisement where people watch it. Maybe they don’t even want to watch it because it’s interrupting their TV show. And a few of them call you. social media, people are coming to your page. They’re coming to your content because they like it. So if you can start to establish that’s so much stronger than just putting out an advertisement that most people don’t want to see.

Chris Dreyer

I never thought about it from that perspective, they have that connection to you. They can engage with you, And I really liked that aspect of it. I think the personal injury attorneys listening, and maybe it’s because of the type of content they’re putting out, the first comment they get every time is ambulance chaser. And then when I put content out, I get called ambulance chaser. What do you do? Do you block these? Do you keep the negative comments? Because it help with engagement? You know what? What’s the strategy there.

Mike Mandell

I still get those comments too When it comes to negative comments most of the time I just don’t even respond to them. If it’s like super bad something derogatory or whatnot, I’ll delete those because I just don’t want that stuff on my pages. But criticism, you got to take it, you gotta be willing to take it. And what’s fascinating is as your community grows they’ll back you up without you having to back yourself up. So let them make the arguments for you. You certainly can respond to like ambulance chaser. You can say, ah, ha we get, get, we’ve all heard that one, but seriously, lawyers can help you in certain situations. And, I think there was some stat that. If you get a PI lawyer, your settlement or verdict is this much more, right? So there’s certain things you could throw out there if you want. But yeah, you gotta just go with it, you’re gonna, you’re not gonna make everyone happy no matter what, just focus on the people you are making happy. Yeah.

Chris Dreyer

I think I heard a similar comment from Grant Cardone. how basically his community would back him up because he’s very polarizing in a different type of way. let’s talk about the fear, right? Do you ever get nervous in front of the camera? Tongue tied. Did you sit around and watch and Toastmasters and Tony Robbins, like kind of what goes into that preparation to get you in the right mind set?

Mike Mandell

I think in the beginning I was definitely stiff. That’s why those, I was telling you those first videos were just hard to watch everything as we know, as practice makes perfect. I think one of the biggest tips of getting over public speaking is doing it, right? It’s the same thing with these videos. You’re going to be a little rusty, You’re not going to be perfect, but as you do them and you keep doing them and do them consistently, you’re going to get into a rhythm and it’s going to become not so awkward and in different for you to handle. And, again, it goes back to the community and the audience you always be watching what they say, how they critique things like that. Cause some of it might be, whatever you don’t want to listen to like your voice is too high. You’re probably not gonna be able to change that, but if there’s little criticisms in there that actually could be adjusted, take those into account and adjust it.

Chris Dreyer

Hug your haters. Every complaint is an opportunity to improve. Mike explains how he handles distribution once a piece of content performs

Mike Mandell

So I’ve never paid for an ad. the idea is never to. Make it viral. It’s impossible to predict that, but there are techniques and things you can do that increase those chances. Making sure that your video is short, that it’s to the point that maybe as a catchy hook, things like that. I can’t tell you how many times. I think something’s not going to be viral and then it’s viral. And I think something is, and it’s not. But it’s all about just making sure that you’re putting out something valuable for the audience. Once you hit that mark, then you start tweaking it to figure out ways to maybe make it more interesting and insert some personality. That’s, but you’ve got to start from that, initial building blocks. What is the valuable piece of information I’m giving here?

Chris Dreyer

To get engagement, it’s all about giving, giving, but you can’t give all of yourself a hundred percent of the time when it comes to building teams. Mike has this to say:

Mike Mandell

You can do this on your own and you can do it with the team. Obviously, a team makes it easier. And for busy lawyers out there that may make sense if they can afford it. I think editors can be very valuable for editing your video. Cause I’m sure most lawyers out there don’t know how to edit. As someone filming, my team for the content creation is myself and my cousin who’s the guy behind the camera and the one editing. I just got lucky to have a family member that knew what to do. you may have a family member out there. You may not, but director editor are probably the critical ones. As a lawyer coming up with the content, you really should be scripting it yourself and coming up with those ideas because you got to remember that social media is about expressing yourself too. So if it’s not originally from you or your voice, it’s going to just come off weird. Yeah, I booked a big video agency. We had a very expensive month of shoots, but I didn’t do the scripts. They just gave me the topic, Hey, I know this information, I can speak on it. And the thing that I realized was there were certain talking points or certain elements of each topic that I didn’t hit on enough. I didn’t really control that. And I think had I created maybe even just a basic, bullet points of those Main components. I want to talk about I would have been better served. There’s a kind of format, especially when making short form content you got to like to generalize it as much as possible get down the points that you want to make, and then start figuring out how to cut the fat because you only have I think they have up to 60 seconds. Some are longer, but in reality, it’s only like 20 seconds or less that you want to try to provide this information, which is really, a lot of times the biggest part of the battle is figuring out what to say, how to say it and how to say it.

Chris Dreyer

Generating leads from social media is a long game. And while many like the immediate response that comes from direct response or TV ads, it does have a high associated cost. Mike had this to say about firms that are not seeing results from their social media efforts.

Mike Mandell

Safe to assume that they haven’t been consistent in are doing it for quite a while. And it’s not instantaneous again, using like a lead generation companies or commercials you will get a, usually a faster return. But you’re spending a lot of money upfront. And so social media, you just have to think about it as something that you’re adding on to your business, that you’re adding on to your self in a sense and make the time to do it. And again you can post every day or not depending on what your schedule is but just do that consistently. And you’ll be surprised as it starts to grow. It’s one of those things too. Where they may remember your video that gave a tip and it’s subconsciously in their head, and then you pop up again for them later. So it may not be, the video that you put out that day is the one that you get a client from. It could be, six months from then who knows, but it’s about building your brand so that you’re available there when people are searching on social.

Chris Dreyer

And one thing that I’ve noticed too on socials, particularly tick-tock you’re doing the trends individuals want to see those types of trends is the algorithm on Tik. TOK is so good compared to say Instagram or Facebook where I’m seeing. Friends and maybe some of their content, but now it’s showing like more interest based. when you see these trends pop up, it might be easier to create content and know what consumers want versus say YouTube or Instagram, do the trends like help with the ideation aspect, what’s your thoughts?

Mike Mandell

So I think I’ve done a handful of friends. Be honest, I don’t do the trends that much. Unless you can do a really unique spin on it. It’s just going to get lost in the mix. And I think that’s a mistake that a lot of people make you should be focusing on your content trends come and go, but making something valuable that’s your voice is going to be more significant again, though, if you can find a interesting way to spin it that, no one else has done and you think people are going to dig it, then do it.

Chris Dreyer

Like the, by the nature of being different, you automatically stand out type of mentality.Nice. Yeah. Mike, this is, this has been fantastic. You’ve given away so much valuable information and you’ve got leadsbymike.com, the course coming out I’m going to really encourage everyone to go to, one final question here, what’s next for Law by Mike??

Mike Mandell

I think the next thing on our plate is long form content on YouTube. We’re trying to pivot to put out more long form content. Some of it’s going to be mostly entertainment with a little bit of a legal spin to it. And some of it’s going to be, legal, how tos but we’re trying to expand from the short form where I started from. More information in longer form content.

Chris Dreyer

It’s less about the numbers you reach, but the community you build. To grow your community, stay consistent in your posting schedule and stick with it. Figure out the common things that people care about knowing, and that are related to your field that helps build trust with your community. Not everyone would love what you create, focus on the people that you can make happy and let the rest roll off your back. It is impossible to predict what will go viral. Fall back on providing value. Not everyone is natural in front of the camera. Be okay with making a few stiff videos until you find your rhythm, hug your haters and learn from criticism. We’ve only scratched the surface. Checkout Law by Mike, he is launching a course that teaches all of the specifics of social media marketing for lawyers. I’d like to thank Mike Mandell for Mandell Law and Law by Mike for sharing a story with us and I hope you gained some valuable insights from the conversation. You’ve been listening to Personal Injury Mastermind. I’m Chris Dreyer. If you liked this episode, leave us a review. We love to hear from our listeners. I’ll catch you on next week’s PIMM with another incredible guest and all the strategies you need to master personal injury marketing.

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