Social Media: Rules of Engagement

Top tips for building business through Facebook

I’ve been talking about how attorneys can use social media to build their business. And to do that, you need to be active on those platforms.

Though it’s not exactly a conversation, social media is interactive. It’s not as casual as an actual conversation. You’re writing, not talking. But you are sharing, and you are listening. In short, you are engaging with your audience, and asking them to engage with you.

So how do you do this so that you’re attracting people and not driving them away? I’m going to focus on Facebook, which is the social media platform where you’re most likely to interact with potential clients. Here are some tips gleaned from a new FindLaw white paper, “From Novelty to Necessity: Pragmatic Social Media for Law Firms”:

  • Small can be beautiful. Not every Facebook interaction needs to be long. Sometimes you can simply respond to a question by saying, “Great question. The best way to answer you is probably with a conversation. Give my office a call.”
  • Don’t fear downers. Did someone post a negative comment on your firm’s timeline, or in response to one of your posts? You can make this work in your favor. Simply by responding you’re demonstrating that you and your firm listen. And by all means, don’t overreact. Respond calmly, and turn a negative situation into a positive interaction. Potential clients will be impressed.
  • And by all means, respond. Few things are going to look worse that a potential client reaching out to your firm through a post or comment—and then hearing crickets. When people knock on your door, make sure you show them that you’re home.
  • When you do post something original (rather than responding), do so in a way that encourages people to engage with you. Links to content and blogs, as well as images, all help stimulate interest in your firm. They also can demonstrate your authority on a legal subject.

A few other points. Use conversational language, rather than legalese. And don’t be long-winded. There’s an abbreviation that’s used in the social media world that’s less known than LOL and OMG. It’s “TL:DR,” and it means “too long—didn’t read.”

And as I’ve mentioned before, don’t brag. It’s great to mention your accomplishments. But only if you put those in context of a very soft sell: Here’s the kind of help my firm can offer. If you ever need that help, we’re here for you.

The goal is to get people to see your firm as friendly, accessible, and ready and able to help. That’s how you build business. And that kind of engagement is why social media can be such a powerful tool for doing just that.

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