It's the biggest social media behemoth in the world, and no competitor even comes close: Facebook boasts over 1 billion active members in 2013, and 680 million of them take the site with them on their mobile phone. Tapping into the potential of Facebook is something many law firms are trying to do, but many of them fail to stand out in the social media world. Why? Usually, it's because while they understand the basic uses of social media for consumers, they have a harder time applying that knowledge to their law firm's business model and brand. In this article we'll look at 8 different ways to make Facebook work for you as a business tool, rather than just a way to connect with long-lost friends and distant family members.
#1: Make Your Pages Your Own
One of the worst mistakes you can make with your business Facebook page is to set up your page very quickly, without customizing much. A generic tagline copied and pasted from your website copy, a couple of hasty photos, and presto, you have an account—right? Well, sure—but is it really the kind of account you want people to see?
A Facebook page that is just a Facebook-branded version of the same information users could find on your website isn't useful. You need to make your Facebook page stay with your brand, but with unique information and posts that people can't find elsewhere. Having unique content on your Facebook page is the best way to attract subscribers and likes.
#2: Appoint Someone As the Face of Your Facebook
Some law firms make the mistake of having all of their posts come from on high, as if they were simply from no person in particular but some sort of firm mascot. This is a huge mistake. Instead, you need to have someone who is tasked with being the face of your law firm when it comes to social media. This lets people ask questions of a real human being (who can always refer the questions to other people for answers) instead of feeling like they have to ask some kind of monolithic entity.
This also ensures that people feel like they're being personally addressed, which can help to soothe hurt feelings and ensure that people feel their critiques are being listened to. Keep in mind that the person who is the face of your Facebook should be outgoing, personable, and steadfast in their approach to avoiding the kinds of conflict that could lead to embarrassing Facebook incidents.
#3: Bring Attorneys In For Comments
Because you have a face for your Facebook, your attorneys can comment as their own selves on questions and comments made on your Facebook pages. Your attorneys can also post their own content using a Facebook page for your firm, including links to their blog entries or a list of frequently asked questions about a particular legal issue.
If your attorneys are part of your social media brand, people will be able to get a better feel for your firm and see easy demonstrations of their expertise. Don't be afraid to let people's individual voices shine through. You don't always all want to talk as one—it's fine if your attorneys have a discussion with points and counterpoints!
#4: Link to Video and Blog Content
You should try to make sure that your Facebook feed isn't all just simple posts. Linking to articles (whether they're by people at your firm or just really interesting to the kinds of people you want reading your feed), blog entries, or videos can make sure that people keep paying attention.
When too many of your posts are in the same format or seem the same, people tune out. Help them avoid this kind of fatigue by giving them content that shakes up the usual. Sometimes, try posting something that's funny instead of strictly informative—people like to be entertained on their Facebook feeds.
#5: Respond to Commenters—and Critics
Make sure that you're keeping on top of comments made to your Facebook wall. If you're not responding to at least the comments that ask questions or request clarification, you're not doing your job when it comes to social media marketing. The point of social media is to socialize—to interact in a two-way fashion, not just to broadcast one-way information to advertise your law firm.
If you're not responsive, it will start looking like you're using social media not to communicate and provide services, but just to reel in clients. Even if reeling in clients is exactly what you'd like to be doing, that's not the reputation you'd like to build online.
#6: Stay Knowledgeable About Changes to Facebook
Facebook has had its share of changes to how pages are displayed and how users interface with the social networking aspects of the site. Privacy and account policies can also change significantly from year to year. Don't get caught unaware of a change that will significantly affect how your Facebook pages look or behave for people reading your pages.
#7: Listen More Than You Talk
When in doubt, listen to what people are asking for. Try to make sure that you're listening to people's comments and also reading other people's Facebook feeds to see what's making people react. If you're talking all the time without listening, you may not have your finger on the pulse of social media. Make sure you're reading social media sources outside of Facebook as well, so that you can see fresh content that your viewers may not have taken a look at yet.
#8: Keep It Up For the Long Haul
Understand that even if your primary goal with your Facebook page is attracting new clients, you're not going to do it overnight. If you assume after a month without many new page views or friends that no results means you should pack it in, you're wrong. Shake it up, reach out and network with other people in your area or field, and get involved in Facebook groups that are local and interesting to you.