Search Engine Optimization Obiter Dicta

BY Jason Bland

social

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Growing with the 'Likes' of many.

It would seem that Facebook's highly anticipated IPO did little more than exploit naive investors and experienced traders that were giddy to buy into the “next Google”. While the company, Facebook Inc. is dealing with some public relations challenges, the website, Facebook.com is doing just fine. Investor and market perception problems aside, Facebook's user engagement is higher than ever before. Lawyers who are not tapping into the network or are still waiting for the Facebook fad to wear out, are getting left behind.

There is a sense in the media blogs, and comment boards that a social network’s relevance is binary. Either people use Facebook or they use Google Plus. Either they use Twitter or they use Tumblr. However, that just isn't the case. Google Plus has 170 million users that they have attracted in just a little over half a year, while Facebook has 800 million. It took Facebook four and a half years to get that many users.

Google's biggest challenge with Google Plus has been their ability to keep people on Google Plus. Active Google Plus users are spending an average 3 minutes per month whereas a typical Facebook user averages 8 hours per month. In fact, Comscore released a report showing that between March of 2010 and March of 2011, that usage of the “rest of the web” decreased by 9%, but Facebook usages increased by 69%. That makes it safe to assume that some people are getting their information from Facebook rather than “the rest of the Web”.

Unfortunately for your law firm's website, it lives in the “rest of the Web”. And Facebook has proven its ability to keep people's attention. Of course, 8 hours a month does not compare to the 4 hours a day the average American spends watching television, but Facebook is a media force that your law firm needs to welcome into its marketing department.

You can easily set up a Facebook Page, upload a graphic, your logo, some shots of your office and maybe even a couple group photos. That will yield you about as much new exposure as your website if you do not also make a marketing plan. In fact, your Facebook Page needs a marketing plan of its own. While your website can help by pushing blog entries onto your Facebook page to keep it active, ultimately you need fans. You need to be liked. Getting people interested in your Facebook page requires useful content. Your profile must be full of active new content, new posts and interesting posts that relate to your area of law. You should advertise your Facebook page on your law firm's press releases, television ads, and email footers.

To get someone to 'like' you, offer a giveaway. Business lawyers could give away a free contract reviewing to one of their fans each month. Divorce lawyers can give away a consultation. Other areas of practice like personal injury where consultations are generally free may have to give away a tangible product. Monthly or quarterly giveaways of items like iPods or other popular electronics can help get your Facebook page liked (check with your local attorney advertising guidelines).
Once someone likes you, they are a fan. Once they are fan, you can send updates to your fan base and treat it like a mailing list. This offers your firm another opportunity to reach potential clients and keep their attention.

To sum it up, if your law firm wants to get leads directly from Facebook, you will need to come up with frequent content, interesting posts and give the masses a reason to like you.

Jason Bland

Jason Bland is a Co-Founder of Custom Legal Marketing and a regular contributor to Bigger Law Firm Magazine. He focuses on strategies for law firms in highly competitive markets. He's a contributor on Forbes.com, is a member of the Forbes Agency Council, Young Entrepreneurs Council, and has been quoted in Inc. Magazine, Business Journals, Above the Law, and many other publications.

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