Dec 22, 2009

Marketing a Law Firm On Facebook

Facebook isn't just for friends anymore.  Increasingly, businesses are using Facebook for marketing, the New York Times reported last month.  And why not?  With 300 million users, Facebook is likely to be home to a substantial portion of a business' prospective and existing customers.  For that reason, Facebook helps businesses find new customers, build online communities to retain and provide perks to existing customers and even to access demographic information. 

Just like businesses, lawyers can also realize marketing benefits through Facebook.  At Inside Facebook, Sara Ines Calderon offers ten tips for ways that lawyers can use Facebook to market a practice.  I'll discuss some of those tips below and throw in a few of my own:

1.  Goals and Target Audience Definition:  Just like there's more than one way to skin a cat, there's more than one way to market a law practice on Facebook.  To figure out which marketing approach (or approaches) are right for you, you need to define your goals and identify your target audience.  For example, if you market to consumer clients, you may want to attract them with direct ads or try to educate them with articles or links to blog posts on relevant topics.  As discussed below, creating a Fan Page would support these goals.  By contrast, if you're trying to attract more conservative corporate clients who don't spend much time on Facebook, direct advertisements wouldn't have much value.  However, you might locate these clients indirectly through referrals from colleagues whom you can get to know personally through a Facebook friends page.

2.  Set Up A Fan Page:    A Fan Page is a Facebook page for a business or corporate entity rather than for an individual.  As a lawyer,  a Fan Page is important because it provides a way that you can interact with clients without allowing them to become privy to personal information and photos that you might share with close friends.   You can use a Fan page for a variety of purposes - to respond to questions about legal matters (in a general way, of course, to avoid any perception that you're giving legal advice), to share links to recent blog posts or to engage "fans" of the site in conversation.  You can also use a Fan page to issue invitations to events or to make special offers available - for example,  free consultations or a discount on certain legal services.

3. Direct Advertising:  With so many users on Facebook, advertisements can potentially attract a large audience.  Moreover, you can very specifically target ads to various demographics, including, country, state and city, gender, age and workplace.  There's more information on Facebook ads available here.

4.  Building Relationships:   Personal referrals are the primary source of business for most lawyers.  And most people prefer to make referrals to lawyers whom they know on  a personal basis.  Facebook offers a way to get better acquainted with colleagues and build a relationship that goes beyond the office or the bar meeting room.  In addition, when you interact with colleagues more frequently, you'll be at the top of their mind if they're asked to refer a matter.

Have you thought about using Facebook to market your practice?  How are you using it?