Answering the Facebook Questions You’re Afraid to Ask
Is Facebook a mystery to you? Not just the big picture understanding of why it’s so popular, but the mechanics of how it works? Does hearing about Likes and Shares make you feel like your law firm is a dinosaur and there’s a “thumbs up” shaped meteor headed straight for it?
Don’t worry; your secret is safe with me.
I know how it feels. At this point, not knowing how Facebook works is like that neighbor you met years ago but never really got to know. You might give each other a nod once in a while, but asking his name again at this point would be too awkward for everyone involved.
Well let’s not waste another day in confusion. Let’s clear the air on some of the most simple, yet common questions attorneys have about popular social media terms and platforms.
What’s the difference between a Like and a Share on Facebook?
Let’s start with the latter.
Shares on Facebook (and Twitter for that matter) are when someone sees a post or message that they enjoy and decides to pass it along to their followers. Shares are valuable social currency because of how these networks are structured. The broader the appeal of a post, and the deeper your base of followers, the better the chances of your message being seen by a wider audience.
Likes, on the other hand are more common and represent a lesser amount of impact. But they’re still a positive response to your content. The term Likes has actually multiple meanings on Facebook these days.
Individual post Likes
This is the Like button that appears along with Comment and Share buttons below a Facebook post. These are responses to a single, specific piece of content so earning a Like here means that the user appreciated something you just posted.
And now… Reactions
Facebook also has Reactions that act the same way, yet allow users to respond to a post without having to Like something negative. You probably won’t see much of this on your business page, but among personal relationships, it’s been a welcome upgrade. In the old days, for example, Facebook friends had two choices for reacting to a post about a beloved pet passing away: add a comment, or Like the bad news. Available Reactions include a sad face, a laugh, etc.
Business page Likes
The other type of Like is the button that exists on your law firm’s main Facebook profile page. Earning a “like” here means your firm has a fan. If that fan goes so far as to follow your business and prioritize your page in their news feed, you can assume he or she will see your posts regularly.
OK, so why do I care about Facebook “Likes” of either kind?
It’s true, Likes and Shares rarely translate directly into new clients for your firm. But these actions on the part of your followers do add up to something that matters.
- People who Share your Facebook posts spread the word about your firm and its services to their friends. That means that even more Facebook users will see your post along with a mini-referral from someone in their network.
- People who Like your Facebook posts don’t spread the word — they simply are telling you that they like what you’ve posted. But that doesn’t mean that those Likes lack marketing value. The fact that a user Likes one of your posts can appear in his or her friends’ news feeds — with a link to the post itself.
- People who Like your Facebook page can provide you with tremendous marketing value. These are people who actively want to stay in touch with your law firm — and who will Like your posts and Share them with their friends.
There are other benefits, too. If you post on Facebook a link to a blog post you’ve recently written on, say, tax law changes for business partnerships, a Like or Share also can bring Facebook users to your website — the all-important first step in converting those visitors into clients.
Do I really have to share personal information about myself?
Not necessarily. It’s more that you have to post personal stories than that you have to post personal information about yourself. Facebook is more about people than it is about businesses. So while your firm might have a professional presence on Facebook, you need to find a way to share a message that connects with your followers on a personal level. Yes, you can and should share good news about recent successes for your law firm, but look beyond your own desk for ideas that strike a chord with you as a person.
For example, if you have a family law firm that helps with adoptions, keep your eyes open for a positive, emotional story being shared elsewhere online. Post that story to your Facebook account and add a comment showing that you understand the personal effects of such a life-changing transaction. This kind of sharing is honest and valid, without revealing details of your own life that you might want to keep separate from your business.
Remember: It’s about building a relationship.
If all of this seems frivolous or you’re still not completely on board with the idea of marketing your law firm on Facebook, remember that online marketing is about building relationships over time with current and potential clients. A good relationship requires effort. So yes, you will have to put in the time with Facebook, but it’s all in an effort to build your law firm’s brand — and eventually expand your business.