Facebook: Should It Be a Part of Your Lawyer Marketing Mix?
As with many marketing tools available to attorneys, Facebook can be effective – if it is carefully defined and closely monitored. I don’t think it is a good idea for most law firms, but I know of lawyers who have been successful in maintaining a professional Facebook presence that builds business. In every case, however, Facebook is a part of the marketing mix, not the centerpiece.
How do people find what they need on the Internet? A study in the first quarter of 2011 showed that browser searches account for 41% of external traffic, links from other content account for 31%, portals for 17%, and social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) for 11%. Does that mean you should forget about social media? No. All of these tools – if monitored and maintained – can build authority and influence for your Internet presence.
This study repeats what those of us who study the Internet have seen over and over again: The most effective Internet marketing presence is a search-engine-optimized (SEO) website with substantial and substantive content.
Can Facebook help your marketing efforts? Sure, with a lot of caveats. Facebook is less controllable than a website. A frustrated competitor, a well-meaning aunt selling Amway, or a client’s angry spouse can post on your wall. You have to be diligent in keeping your Facebook page professional and on message. Facebook has given rise to a lot of scams over its short history. Even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been scammed.
On the other hand, Facebook is a place where satisfied clients can express their gratitude, friends and clients can refer their families and friends, and your colleagues in the legal community can stay in touch with news about your practice. For the law firm willing to take the time to keep the firm’s Facebook page current, updated and free from extraneous messages, Facebook offers distinct advantages.
Anything posted on Facebook (or Twitter or a blog) should be edited for accuracy, ethics, tone and purpose before it goes live. A rushed post can be damaging if it has mistakes or shows frustration or anger.
Facebook can help you establish a friendly persona as well as show your experience and knowledge. Potential clients often like to feel they “know” the attorney they are entrusting with important issues. Facebook can also repeat your blog posts, giving them additional exposure and value.
Choose a URL that describes your firm. If you are just starting a Facebook page, be sure to select a good name. Just like picking a website URL, having a keyword-rich Facebook URL is helpful. Arizona Bankruptcy lawyer Joseph McDaniel has a great one: https://www.facebook.com/bankruptcy.arizona. The bankruptcy focused Facebook page is one of the best and most effective attorney Facebook pages I have ever seen.
Once you have established yourFacebook fan page, the next step is to optimize it. I use the word “optimize” loosely here because the chance of a Facebook page coming up in a competitive legal search in Google is very remote, especially now that Facebook has signed an agreement with Bing. But if you have the time, you should maximize the content and keywords in your “info” and “about” tabs. The website InsideFacebook.com contains a number of helpful Facebook SEO strategies you can use to boost your Facebook fan page.
Avoid paid advertising on Facebook. A person on Facebook discussing a DUI, a divorce or the possibility of bankruptcy does not want to see an ad pop up advertising legal services. Facebook is for personal connections, not for “push” advertising that can seem like an invasion of privacy.
When done well, Facebook can be a great addition to the marketing mix. Savvy marketers combine a well-optimized website (www.themayfirm.com), a frequently updated blog (www.dallastxdivorce.com/tags/michelle-may-o/), and a Facebook page (
www.facebook.com/pages/ONeil-Attorneys/195169303826956).. All of these Internet tools link to each other for a comprehensive picture of the law firm.
Many attorneys report success in developing quality clients directly traceable from Facebook.When it’s done well, Facebook can be a winner for a law firm.