Many years ago, lawyers pondered whether their firms needed a web site, something nowadays as ubiquitous as photocopiers. The question now is, to Facebook or not to Facebook?
With a web site firmly established, I plugged my firm into the Facebook world a few years ago. At the time, I was ambivalent as to whether this would be helpful to us. Years later, we still have our account, and it has proven to be an invaluable means of ensuring and maintaining exposure and communication with the public. The following are my reasons why you may consider Facebook for your firm.
A Facebook page does not replace your web site but works in tandem with it. Linking your web site to your Facebook page and vice versa organically enhances Iinternet search engines’ ability to find your web site, and bring it up in search result. The best part is that it does so at no cost.
Ease of maintenance
Adding content to your Facebook page is easier than updating a web site. It is as easy as sending a text message. You can also grant administrative privileges to others in your firm to ensure constant updates. Regular updates to your Facebook page have the added bonus of enhancing SEO.
Our web site lists who we are and what we have done. Our Facebook page shares our ongoing community involvement, speaking engagements, and links to publications. It is also a useful tool to communicate other news items such as the hire of new articling students or the addition of a partner.
Having a Facebook page allows clients and other referral sources who want to keep in touch do so by liking or following your page. This in turns allows you an indirect advertising access to all of their friends. When you post new content to your Facebook page, it will appear on your followers’ news feed, which can then also be seen by their friends.
Your Facebook page could be a vehicle to announce employment openings at your firm. Further, we know that potential candidates researching our firm have consulted our Facebook page. Likewise, we have some prospective clients looking to hire us. As successful relationships are born of a “good fit”, — a Facebook page allows those who are considering working for you or with you to learn more about you and your firm.
Means of communication are changing and clients have their own preference. Individuals can send you messages through your Facebook page. This was an unexpected benefit we discovered shortly after creating the page. A client who had moved without leaving us contact information decided to communicate her new coordinates, not by phone, mail, fax, or e-mail, but via private messaging through our Facebook page!
Humanizing your firm
Attempts at injecting personality and humanity into your firm’s web site generally can only go so far. A Facebook page allows you to show another side of your firm, revealing it as more than just a business, but rather, as a group of actual people. It gives depth, substance, and humanity to the profiles on your firm’s web site, while allowing you to maintain the professional look of your web site.
Facebook provides valuable statistical data allowing you to ascertain your reach (the number of people who view your posting). You can also find out the level of engagement created by your posting. Engagements include not only the times it was “liked” and “comments” posted, but also includes when your posting was shared. If you feel so inclined, you can pay Facebook to promote your posts and widen your reach.
If you do decide to set up a Facebook page, be wary of rules and regulations, however. Not only do you need to comply with your law society rules (for example, those relating to advertising and client communication), but Facebook has rules of its own as to what can be posted. For example, cover page photos cannot be deceptive, misleading, or infringe copyright.
There are many social media platforms out there, but Facebook is a great place to start. It is simple, easy to understand, and works well with your web site. Updates are less likely to be buried and lost in someone’s newsfeed. Furthermore, it is more universal, and, therefore, more likely to be accessed by non-professional referral sources.
Firms, including us sole and small firms, have to step up our social media game to remain relevant and prevalent. If you want to see a page in action, please feel free to check out my page and don’t be afraid to ‘like ’ if you do!
This article was written in collaboration with Kevin Cheung.