On Lawyerist.com, a blog for lawyers. Sam Glover writes “Somewhere your there a social media consultant must be blogging about how important it is to have a Facebook page for your law firm, because ‘Follow my firm’s Facebook page!’ updates seem to pop up in my feed every day or two. That consultant is a moron.”
Perhaps Sam was talking about me, because I think that having a Facebook page is an excellent idea for practically any small business who focuses on a local market. I also think law firms should have Facebook pages, despite the concern that many attorneys have over the risk of stepping outside ethical guidelines when engaging communities through social media.
Sam goes on to describe his own experience with creating a Facebook page. He had a couple dozen likes from friends and a few strangers, and he really didn’t do much with it. He said that he tried to keep it active for a while, but nobody cared, so he deleted it. Poor Sam. He doesn’t get Facebook.
Most law firms do not get Facebook, and it’s a rather curious puzzle to me why these super-smart and savvy expert people-readers would completely miss the mark on social marketing. I suspect it is because they are listening to the wrong advice. LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell offers social media advice to law firms using examples that are reminiscent of what most other businesses were doing five years ago, using the platform as a soapbox instead of an opportunity for creating one-to-one conversations. But their advice is still more progressive than what most firms are doing.
By surveying more than 1,300 law firm Facebook pages, I determined that more than 80% were unsuccessful in their social media effort. Most of the unsuccessful pages have an automated feed from their blog to their Facebook page, which doesn’t even register on the “fun and social” scale. Really, who, besides other lawyers, subscribes to law site blogs? The only reason most law sites have blogs is to improve their search rankings. This is not exactly cocktail conversation.
Sam, I want you to repeat after me. “It’s all about connecting with my community”. Did you get that? If you want to be successful on Facebook, you have to stop thinking about your own page and start thinking about how you can connect with people, promote events, promote your community, and create opportunities for engaging conversations. You have to be social.
It really works. Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff has over 2,000 fans on their Facebook page. They promote a variety of local causes like Junior Achievement and local food banks. They rally their fans to drum up more support, and gain more fans in the process. This is just one example of dozens I came across in my research.
Facebook provides a great opportunity for law firms to connect with their community and create valuable top-of-mind awareness. Done right, it’s highly effective. But it takes effort to make social media work for you.