Facebook emblemsFacebook announced changes to its news feed algorithm this past week. The gist of the change is that company page posts, which are “overly promotional,” are now less likely to be shown to that page’s followers. I’ve previously written about how lawyers can effectively brand their firms by working with Facebook’s algorithms. The most recent change by Mr. Zuckerberg and friends prompted me to revisit the topic. There are really two points to take away from the most recent change. First, attorneys that are doing well through Facebook won’t really see much of a difference. Second, those who are doing poorly will likely see a disappearance of the little engagement that they do have.

Facebook’s latest change will reduce exposure of posts that are “promotional” in nature

Your Facebook news feed works off an algorithm. There’s simply too much data going through the service, at any given time, for it to place every status update, comment, etc. into your news stream. Facebook regularly tweaks this algorithm to ensure that people are being served the content that they are most likely to be interested in. After all, if you’re only being shown things that you don’t care about then you’re not likely to use the service for very long. Facebook’s latest change will reduce the organic reach of “promotional” posts by company pages.

Facebook’s latest tweak is simple. Stay away from posts that are more about promoting yourself, your practice, or an event and focus on posts where people are more likely to be interested in the topic. In other words, you need to focus on showing people what they want to see as opposed to what you want them to see. The social network gave a few examples of what are considered to be “promotional posts.” These examples included:

  • Posts that solely push people to buy a product
  • Posts that simply copy the text of an ad

There are a few examples of lawyers who post this type of content on Facebook:

  • Many lawyers post content that says little more than “Call (888) 123-4567 for aggressive representation.”
  • Many lawyers publish eBooks for their clients to download and share it to Facebook without saying little more than “download my eBook today.”
  • It is common for lawyers, who are paying for Facebook advertising, to post content that is essentially the same as their ad.

Each of these content types were likely getting little exposure anyway. Now they can expect to receive virtually none.

The best content types for attorneys to focus on is information that they’re potential clients will actually be interested in on a daily basis. Here are a few examples:

  • If you’re a family law attorney – sharing photos that will make a parent laugh and articles about topics such as positive parenting
  • If you’re a criminal law attorney who handles traffic tickets – share morning updates about where the daily “speed trap” checkpoints will be
  • If you’re a bankruptcy attorney – sharing articles about financial planning, living on a budget, getting out of debt, etc.

The benefit of these types of content is that people will view them because they are generally interested in these topics. That interest will lead to likes, sharing, and engagement. That engagement, in turn, creates a branding effect which makes people more likely to call your firm when they are in need of legal assistance.

Attorneys are making a mistake by not leveraging Facebook in their practice

The word "brand" on a marketing planFacebook is an amazing tool for law firm branding yet attorneys regularly ignore it. Branding is nothing new in law firm marketing. Billboards and, for example, paying to have one’s firm mentioned during the morning traffic reports are examples of branding. In these situations attorneys are paying a great deal of money to have their name mentioned at a time when they know people are paying close attention. This creates a name recognition which, in turn, makes people more likely to call when they need an attorney.

Properly leveraging Facebook can have the same branding effect as do billboards, etc. After all, people are paying close attention to their Facebook feeds on a regular basis. Facebook is a better options than billboards for two reasons. First, it doesn’t cost a fortune. It just takes a little time and effort. Second, a billboard doesn’t give you a chance to regularly interact with people whereas Facebook does. Want to increase your branding without increasing your overhead? The solution is simple. Leverage Facebook.

Why do you think so many attorneys ignore Facebook as part of their practice? Chime in through the comment form below.