The Value Of Specificity: What Social Media Advertising Offers That No Other Medium Can
New methods for connecting businesses and consumers are cropping up all the time. Some are instant hits with users and advertisers alike, some take a long time to build up steam. Others work well for some businesses, but maybe not a small law firm. (Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest come to mind as examples of networks that might not be a perfect fit as of this writing.)
Still, what might be called Social Media Classic—Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn—remain the gold standard for most law firms. That’s because these platforms—Facebook in particular—allow you target your advertising to just that portion of viewers who were likely to become a client.
True, Facebook has an overwhelmingly large pool of users—according to one recent count, 214 million-plus in the U.S. alone. But that massive audience actually works in your favor. For one thing, millions of adults are on Facebook, and they offer the demographic sweet spot a great many firms are trying to reach.
Compare that to traditional offline media such as billboards, print ads and TV commercials. Some firms still find those valuable. But for smaller firms, they’re typically too expensive to consider.
Phone book ads? They can work for some firms. But these days, more and more people prefer the convenience of finding businesses such as law firms on their home computers and, increasingly, their smartphones.
But the real drawback is that those ads are scattershot. They go everywhere. They fire without aiming, so to speak. If there’s a specific target you want to reach, traditional media typically requires a lot of buck for not much bang.
With paid social, you can put your ads on a platform where you can reach a specific market. And right now, Facebook offers the best option for doing just that. That’s because Facebook is renowned for its user data. It records every interaction, from initial signup to the latest click. And it gathers that information so that advertisers can focus on the demographics they want to reach.
For firms like yours, this specificity presents an unprecedented opportunity to target their message to the exact audience they want.
Let’s say your specialty is estate planning. Clearly, you want to get your firm’s name in front of people middle age and older who’ve hinted by their presence and activity on Facebook that they have a reasonably high net worth. By using Facebook’s advertising tool, you can get your firm’s ad, complete with website link, in front of those valuable eyes.
At this point, you might be thinking: Isn’t the value of social media the fact that it’s free? That’s certainly part of its value. You still want to have a basic presence on Facebook—or whatever platform you have found can reach your target audience.
But what’s called “organic reach”—that is, any activity on your firm’s social profiles that you didn’t pay for (blogging, Facebook posts, etc.)—simply isn’t enough to reach people. For a variety of reasons, organic content simply doesn’t reach as many people as it used to. It’s necessary as a brand-building tool, but not sufficient for gaining exposure to a new audience.
And as we’ve noted here before, paid promotion on Facebook is one of the best online ad values. You can target location and income better than just about any ad medium. It’s not free, but it costs a lot less than traditional offline media.
There’s something else worth noting: Social media platforms are always changing. And that’s not surprising. They compete with each other for attention and ad revenue, after all. Facebook, for instance, has recently introduced advertising on its Messenger home tab. That allows advertisers to include their messages along a user’s personal messages. It’s a limited option thus far, and it’s not clear how well users will respond to these ads.
For your firm, the upshot is this: Social media advertising and promotion is already a stunning value. The fact that it’s always changing and exploring new ways to serve its users and paying customers paints a bright picture for your future, if you take advantage of it.