facebook for law firmsThere are an estimated 1.23 billion people on Facebook, your kids are there, your Mom and her distant Aunt are also on Facebook – why are you not there? Your business would be booming if you were on Facebook.

I’m sure the above is something attorneys hear all the time, if not that scenario, maybe a client or marketing specialist who tells you that the exposure on Facebook is absolutely huge and that it is a “no-brainer”.

I do think Facebook is huge, I do think the exposure could be huge – but “getting onto Facebook” is like enrolling for your studies – you still have a long slog of 4 or so years to achieve your goal.

Let’s roll back the clock a decade or so – when the law firms, or should I say the partners sat behind their desks and their new business walked in the door. The reason these new clients came into your law firm was because of word of mouth marketing – something the attorneys were almost unaware of but which happened through good service or results from using a certain law firm. Then the clients would stand around the braai or tea party and tell everyone in the circle how great their attorney was and that if anybody needed legal services, they should definitely use Joe Soap & Sons Incorporated. This circle of influence was a great help to the marketing of Joe Soap & Sons Incorporated, the only downside was that this circle only had about 10 people maximum – but this kept the wheel of fees turning as nobody else in the legal market was doing anything different.

As more affordable media channels became available, so did the competition in marketing law firms. One of these channels is social media or social networking and within that media space, Facebook exists and has proved to be a very hot topic. There are many other clever marketing schemes to get clients to your door, but to be relevant to our topic I will shelve those for now.

Now, why I told you how word of mouth worked for the law firms in the past, so too can social media work for you now – the same key factors to provide good service are still there, the only difference is to allow the clients of Joe Soap & Sons Inc. to be able to tell all their friends about the experience. This is where the gold is – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn (to a lesser extent) and maybe Mxit have the ability to take the circle of influence from 10 to 100’s, maybe even 1000’s. It is not called a network of friends for no reason!

Now you are convinced, “Sally, get us onto Facebook and Fred get more guest chairs for reception!” – simple, Facebook means more friends, bigger networks and when we are there, our word of mouth will become word of Facebook and previous “walk ins” are now going to be cramming into our reception area.

Here is what nobody tells you…

Harry is friends (friends meaning Facebook friends) with Nelly, Sharon, Mpho, Niven and Owen because they all enjoy each other’s content on Facebook. They follow each other since they have an interest in what the other person is doing. If they follow pages, they follow them because they are interested in the content that is shared on that Facebook page.

They follow Red Bull because they are interested in what the adrenalin junkies are doing – or they follow Popular Mechanics because of the interesting technical topics that are shared by them on their Facebook page or they follow Fashion Week to see the latest trends in clothes so they can look funky and trendy.

They don’t follow the above to get the latest joke, if they wanted jokes on a regular basis, they would follow a joke page. Red Bull – adrenalin content, Popular Mechanics – technology and Fashion Week – fashion trends.

First off, if Harry was a client of Joe Soap & Sons Inc. and he enjoyed the experience, he would be inclined to look at your Facebook page and if he enjoys the overview (10 seconds I imagine) then he may very well like the page.

Second, Harry knows that Joe Soap & Sons Inc. is a firm that handled the purchase of his new home; his assumption is that he expects your interesting content on your page to help him with legal matters that pertain to him owning/buying/selling/moving/body corporate/law/tax property. He really is not there because he wants his conveyancers to be his next best friend, nor is he there to get the latest tip on travelling into deepest Africa or the daily joke. (Although the occasional touch of humour never hurt anyone – just make sure it is not more than 10 percent of what you post.)

Third, Joe Soap & Sons Inc. is a law firm focused on conveyancing in River With No End – having 10 people following their page in River With No End (Riviersonderend) is way better than having 100 people following the page who have no interest or connection to their page. Ok, there could be a 1 in 1 000 chance that somebody there may need your services in the future, but I would rather work on those focused 10, than the unknown 100.

So, “Fred get prices on additional guest chairs for reception and Sally tread carefully as this is not your average private Facebook profile!”

Step back and discover what it is that your prospective Facebook follower is going to need from your page that relates to your business – content is what will attract and keep them there – then once you have the following it becomes quick and easy to be able to market to your circle of followers.

Find out more about Marketing for Law Firms in the coming Workshops (Durban has one on the 26th March 2014).

Malcolm Pearson


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