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With the latest changes in the Facebook algorithm, the social media platform is now showing fewer posts from untrustworthy sources and fewer low quality viral videos. Instead, they are putting the emphasis on posts from family and friends to promote more meaningful interactions. Mark Zuckerberg says, “we can improve people's lives by doing that. So we’re absolutely going to go do that.”

With the updated algorithm many businesses on Facebook lost a part of their audience. Moreover, Facebook is showing fewer videos that it considers are low quality. What is  a law firm to do with the new changes?

Since the tweaked algorithm was implemented users spent less time on the platform. In fact, users are spending 50 million fewer hours a day to Facebook. Facebook averages about 1.4 billion users each day. Daily active users plummeted in Canada and the United States.

Unless law firms want to pay to advertise, they may find themselves struggling with the changes to Facebook. The theory behind the updated algorithm is that if people spend less time on low-quality videos they have more time to engage with posts. Furthermore, the theory is that advertisers  will double down on buying ads because it is now more difficult to get a post seen unless it is paid for.

How do law firms use effective videos in light of Facebook changes?
The changes to the Facebook algorithm should not alter how law firms continue to market on the platform. With the rise of mobile search, videos are also proving to be an effective marketing strategy. Thus, law firms will continue to use quality videos as an effective online marketing tool.

A video is 50 times more likely to be picked up by a Google search than text – a big plus for law firms.

Additionally, video offers a subtle form of persuasion that other media options, such as ads, do not. Social media sites understand the effectiveness of videos and they promote and display videos differently, a plus for law firms using videos to market their business.

While Facebook is not as business friendly as it once was, that does not completely rule out the use of quality, visually appealing and shorter videos. There are a few caveats to using them though.

First, be sure to host your law firm's videos on YouTube to make certain they are discoverable. When posting a video on YouTube, make sure that your law firm can link its YouTube videos to other sites.

YouTube is the No. 2 search engine on the web and has a wide reach, plus an enviable ability to integrate with Google.

How Google ranks law firm videos
Google analyzes a number of things when ranking videos to be shown in the search results. To do that they ask:

  • Does the video have a clear, concise and short title?
  • Does the video have a detailed description?
  • Were the correct tags used in relation to the law firm’s keywords?
  • Was the video made public?
  • Was a transcript of the video uploaded?

Although YouTube does go ahead and generates a transcript that may be used to show closed captions, it does not provide the ability to use capitals or punctuation. In addition, automatic closed captioning is often filled with spelling errors. Therefore, it is easier and more effective for you to do the captioning yourself. A similar case applies to  thumbnails. While YouTube can generate a thumbnails, it is best to create your own image that is more likely to garner clicks than the one auto generated by YouTube. When the video is uploaded and published to the public, do not forget to create a playlist for all the videos your firm has uploaded and keep it current every time you put another one up. Start marketing with the video and embed it on your website(s), use it in blogs and other correspondence.

And that leads us right back to Facebook and other social media platforms. Your video will be easily used on various social media platforms for marketing purposes. Once you have a video up on YouTube you will need to link it to social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. However, Facebook is the only platform that does not allow linking from YouTube. You will have to upload your video to Facebook. The reason for that is because Facebook videos are auto-played and virtually 85 percent of Facebook videos play without sound. When you upload a video to Facebook import the transcript as well.

Law firms may also use Twitter and LinkedIn. However, with Twitter videos must only be two minutes and two seconds long and not larger than 512 MB. On LinkedIn, you need to copy and paste your law firm video link from YouTube to a LinkedIn post.

Track video response and reach
Once your video content is up on YouTube and other social media platforms, monitor the response in terms of audience and reach. As social media changes, marketing practices follow. Therefore. measure the responses to your videos throughout the year in order to be able to adapt.

Of course, there is more than one way to market aside from videos. While video content is growing in popularity in the age of mobile search, other marketing approaches need to be used for a well-rounded marketing campaign. For instance, in addition to videos, try the following:

  • Asking for reviews to be posted online
  • Make sure your law firm is on Google My Business
  • Get listed in high quality legal directories
  • Email quality information in newsletters – add the latest video
  • Check out online ads using Pay-Per-Click – 64.4 percent of those surfing online click on Google ads when searching for a service or product.
  • Promote via video in various locations – 50 percent of people searching online specifically hunt for videos relating to a service or product. A video by a criminal defense attorney would work well.

What else do lawyers need to know about promoting with videos?
It is important to note that promoting your law firm by strategically using quality, shorter videos, with relevant content, increases not only your search engine optimization (SEO) but can help you garner more website traffic. Google is now slowly increasing the number of videos displayed in search results provided the video is relevant in answering a query.

Videos help boost a law firm’s online presence and engagement with potential and existing clients. Watching a video is easier than reading content online and good videos get shared. An example would be if your firm posted a video on what a criminal defense lawyer does, it is likely to be shared by those needing legal help if arrested and charged for a crime. Videos can also tell the law firm’s story, offer testimonials, tips, hints and new information on changes in various niches of law. And last, but not least, quality videos can increase a law firms’ client conversion rate by up to 80 percent.

Question the value of using Facebook? Despite the algorithm changes, virtually 72 percent of adults online use Facebook and almost 70 percent of them log in daily. If you have the right videos that capture attention, Facebook is a viable channel to use in partnership with other social media platforms. It is always best to keep your law firm at the forefront in the digital age and use all relevant social media channels to create a terrific and memorable media strategy.

About Author

Kerrie Spencer is a staff contributor to Bigger Law Firm Magazine.

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