A Few Questions (and Answers) on Social Media Law Firm Marketing
The Thomson Reuters Legal Community is a private network available exclusively to FindLaw and Westlaw customers at solo and small law firms. Members can seek advice, connect with like-minded attorneys facing similar challenges and participate in meaningful discussions on the practice of law, small firm management and legal developments.
Recently, I sat down to answer questions from Community members on social media and how it can benefit their law firm. It was the first in a series of expert live discussions hosted on our professional network that will focus on a broad spectrum of topics. I fielded questions about paid and organic social media from attendees who wanted to know more about how to connect with legal consumers through their firm’s social media presence.
Below is an excerpt from the session where I explain what to post on social media, how to handle negative reviews and ways to track the impact of your firm’s presence.
What types of social media posts do people want to see? Does that include information about my firm or generic advice?
Generic advice is a great place to start, especially if it helps users solve a problem or move to the next step in their legal issue. As far as general information, stick to posts that build trust with people looking at your law firm. Some of the best posts I see from attorneys come from events they attended like CLE seminars. Sometimes we see office events such as birthday parties and group outings. These posts, the ones that show you outside of your “court suit” help prospects see the human side of your firm. People who need a lawyer, especially for the first time, can be anxious about the prospect of working with an attorney. If part of your brand message is “we get to know you as a person,” show that in your posts. It makes you more accessible to an emotional legal consumer.
What is the best course of action if there are negative posts on my Facebook page?
Negative comments can be painful, but they also present a great opportunity for you to communicate in a way that future legal consumers may appreciate. In replying, think not just about the person who posted the comment, but all the people down the line who may read your response. This is your chance to show them how you relate to challenging people and situations. It’s also their opportunity to see what to expect as a client. So whenever possible, your reply needs to come from a place of respect, even if you don’t agree with what was said. This is where empathy comes into the equation. Address their issue, apologize if necessary and let them know you’ve taken their concern to heart. Not everyone is going to agree with that negative comment. Even if you don’t resolve the issue, you can make headway with people who only care about how you handle the situation.
I put a lot of thought into the Facebook posts I publish, but they don’t seem to reach many people. Should I pay to “boost” them? Do I need a Facebook budget?
Organic social, basically posts that are not advertised, does not reach the audience it once did. At this point, organic social is more for the people who find you through other means and then visit your Facebook page to validate their decision. As Facebook has become more advertising oriented, even the people who follow your page will see less of your posts. Continue to create thoughtful posts, but understand that without advertising, they may not reach new prospects.
That doesn’t mean you should give up on the platform. Social advertising campaigns can be highly effective at precisely targeting your ideal prospects without ruining your marketing budget. That said, if you are looking to build your brand through a social strategy, you should allocate funds toward social media advertising each month. Running a few test campaigns will give you a good idea of the value you’re receiving compared to the money you’re spending, and help guide budgeting decisions.
In the end, how do I gauge if social media is working for my firm?
As essential as social media is to modern digital marketing, the numbers are still difficult to measure. That’s one reason I say a positive moment that’s visible on your page may be worth more than a new follower. Let’s say one of your prospects posts a question that you can answer in a way that differentiates your firm from the one down the street. I’d consider that a success not just because you had a great interaction, but you did so in a way that everyone who visits your page will see.
There’s a reason that platforms like Facebook and Twitter are called “social” networks. Put yourself in the same frame of mind that you do when you’re networking at a social gathering. Was the interaction pleasant? Were you able to communicate your message? Did the person you spoke with leave the conversation pleased? It’s the more intangible questions that matter on social media.
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