Social media — Love it or hate it; social media has become an essential tool for any profitable business’ kit in the current age.
I’ve covered how attorneys can benefit from & LinkedIn in the past, but today we’ll be covering a third: A little platform known as Facebook.
You may have heard of it before; created by Mr. Zuckerberg, Facebook averages about 2.7 billion monthly users. Most businesses immediately make their online presence on Facebook when they start, and attorneys are no exception.
The problem, however, is that this is where it ends for most businesses.
Sure, they might have online presences, but they fail to get anything out of it. And that’s a shame, because, with the right tactics, it can become another revenue-generating machine for your firm.
To help you turn Facebook into that previously mentioned machine, we’re going to discuss a few things:
- How Facebook can help your business
- How to get more reach on the platform
- And common mistakes that many firms make along the way
So no more wasting time, we’re jumping straight into it.
LAWYERS OFTEN FAIL TO SEE THE VALUE OF FACEBOOK
Just like with most platforms, the majority of attorneys sign up for their Facebook page because that’s just the thing you do. After that, how to get the most out of it is anyone’s guess.
So the page just sits there, providing little — if any — return.
Guess who was guilty of this in 2008? Yours truly.
At first, I thought the service wasn’t going to be much more than a news platform about my firm. That way, I could update the clients who took the time to follow my page. But over time, I learned that Facebook offers an excellent way of branding a law firm and gaining social validation.
See, managing your Facebook effectively means establishing your name with prospects. Lawyers engaging in branding isn’t anything new, personal injury attorneys have been doing it for decades on billboards.
But Facebook presents the opportunity to directly connect with people that you wouldn’t have through the other mediums. And unlike billboards and TV ads, Facebook doesn’t have to cost a dime.
Another benefit of a strong Facebook presence? Did you know that 74% of consumers are influenced by social media when they make purchases? A law firm without a social media presence is missing out on all of those potential clients.
And another nifty feature of Facebook is the review section. Though I probably don’t have to dive into why good reviews can be a game-changer.
Understanding Facebook for Attorneys Part 1 — Getting the Algorithm Interested in Your Posts
Getting a good engagement rate on your Facebook page is simple. You’ve just got to gain more followers and have more of those followers interact with your content.
But that’s the part people struggle with…
Alright, it might not be as simple as I’ve made it sound, but all it takes is a little knowledge, and we’ll have your page where it needs to be in no time.
To understand the process, you’ve got to understand Facebook’s algorithm. Once you’ve got a grasp on how Facebook works, then getting more followers and engagement will be much more straightforward.
How the Facebook Algorithm Works
Unbeknownst to many, Facebook doesn’t just show everything you post to every one of your followers. If it did, your feed would be a complete mess.
That’s why an algorithm is so necessary; Facebook has to filter the worthwhile content from the not-so-worthwhile content and then show you those posts accordingly. So to get the most out of Facebook, we’ve got to decipher exactly what the algorithm sees as “worthwhile.”
Now, we won’t get into every single nitty-gritty detail of the algorithm, just enough so you understand how it works so you can revamp your social media strategy.
Let’s break it down with a few examples.
So, Facebook’s algorithm values a few things — some we have control over, and others we don’t. The screencap above is the perfect example of this.
Effectively, the algorithm is trying to match up every user with the content they’ll enjoy the most. (or at least respond the best to)
It considers the medium (video, text, picture), and current engagement levels, among other things.
But in general, Facebook values non-clickbait media posts (pictures or videos) from pages that get good engagement.
And the more engagement you get from recurring viewers, the more likely they’ll see you’re future content. And this effect compounds, as their engagement will only make your content more valuable to the algorithm.
This is true for both sponsored posts and organic posts, as you can see above.
Ever notice that the recommended posts from Facebook are almost always video or photos? It’s not a coincidence.
You’ll rarely (if ever) find a text-only post that gets widespread popularity, Facebook just doesn’t value them nearly as much.
Not only that, but posts that share original content are favored over reshared content, which makes content marketing even more profitable since Facebook gives you another avenue to share it.
But that’s how the algorithm decides which posts get popular. There’s another piece to the puzzle:
To get more engagement, you’ve got to create posts that your audience is interested in as well.
Understanding Facebook for Attorneys Part 2 — Getting Your Audience Interested
I’ll let you in on a secret:
The key to popular content is giving people the content they want to read. Even if you follow the previously mentioned rules to a T by creating original videos, those videos have to “hook” anyone in your audience.
The best way to do that? Put out useful, interesting, and immediately digestible information.
Put yourself in the role of the average person using Facebook. You don’t want to constantly get content that’s boring or hard to read, so instead, give them a reason to click. Here are a few good ideas for content you could share on your feed:
- If your firm handles traffic tickets, you could do morning posts sharing links to updates stating where officers will be on traffic duty.
- If you are a DUI lawyer, give links to updates stating where DUI checkpoints are being held.
- Do you practice bankruptcy law? Update your Facebook page with links to useful info on daily financial management tips.
- Or, you could occasionally share blog posts from your own website.
The gist here is that it is information your audience will be interested in and provides value.
Want to boost engagement through comments? Opinion pieces and asking questions are both great ways to get more people in on the discussion.
And remember, the more engagement you get, the more followers you get, which leads to more engagement, which leads to a broader reach, and so on.
And the occasional personal photo won’t hurt either as it’ll help people identify and connect with you more.
So, those are the practices you should put in place, but what about the practices you should steer clear from?
Let’s get into them.
3 Common Mistakes Lawyers Make on Facebook
Don’t forget that a wide reach is just as much about avoiding bad practices as it is implementing the good ones, so let’s look at the no-to-do list for Facebook.
1. Don’t Spam People.
I’m going to say it again. Don’t. Spam. People!
There’s no need to continually blast content into people’s feed. Doing so will decrease the amount of your followers’ interaction, which, in turn, will reduce how often people see your content. Post a link to an interesting opinion piece, not twenty links to twenty interesting opinion pieces.
Also, make sure the information you share is useful or interesting. If you share a link to an article that just recites a position that has been stated over and over, it adds nothing new to the discussion.
Don’t forget what I talked about in my post on how attorneys can build social media relationships; you need to be interesting.
(And don’t explicitly ask for people to like or comment on your post, the algorithm hates that.)
2. Don’t Post Infrequently.
The polar opposite of being a spammer is when one posts infrequently.
Remember the phrase “out of sight, out of mind?”
Attorneys are notorious for updating their Facebook page only a few times a month (or less). It’s hard to be seen as a source of information if people don’t ever hear from you.
3. Don’t Pay For Likes
Paying for likes is counter-productive. People who like your page as a result of “black-hat” tactics like this aren’t going to be valuable followers (they might even be a detriment).
A high amount of likes might look nice, but it does more harm than good.
And as a last note, make sure to engage with your audience. The best pages act like communities, so don’t ignore your followers, chime into discussions, and make yourself known as part of the group.
Facebook provides excellent value to lawyers and law firms for branding. Implementing this article’s advice will be a heck of a lot cheaper than the television ads and billboards typically used for branding purposes.
So revamp your social media now to put you ahead of many other attorneys who still haven’t figured the value of social media branding or how to go about it.