Facebook for Law Firms 4: ELPO Law Shares Lessons Learned

A few weeks ago I wrote a very popular (for this site) post on what I thought ELPO Law was doing right with its Facebook business page — it even garnered a mention on the Lawyerist blog. As frequently happens in social media, the curator of that site, Robyn Davis Sekula, sent me a friendly acknowledgement on Twitter, and in the course of our correspondence she generously agreed to share some of the firm’s Facebook strategies and experiences in a guest post.

You can build it – but they won’t necessarily come.

A great Facebook page is nothing at all like a baseball stadium. But if you’re going to do Facebook, do it right, so when clients, friends of the firm and your own attorneys do come, they’ve got something that creates a solid impression of your professional expertise.

I’ve learned a lot in creating and curating a Facebook page  for my client, English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP, in Bowling Green, Ky. I thought I’d distill down the lessons I learned.

  • Make your page look great. We turned to Communicate & Grow to customize our page with photos of the firm, our logo and information that
    would give people a taste of who we are, but wouldn’t duplicate our website. For a minimal investment, we’ve made our page look just as good as our other marketing materials.
  • Get your own attorneys and staff members interested in the page and interacting with it. This has proven to be more difficult than I imagined it would be. Most of  our attorneys aren’t on Facebook, and honestly, they’re not all that interested in it. But the support staff found us, liked us and interacts with us – meaning their friends and families see their posts and now know more about us. It’s a  good start. Most partners are simply too busy. Don’t push too hard.
  • Find your clients on Facebook. I looked for the banks, hospitals, and other organizations that might have a corporate page and listed them as Favorites on our page. That also gives me a place to pull content. If our clients get an award, I can post about that too and congratulate them, as I did recently for Kindred Healthcare.

  • Look for community groups on Facebook. Our local chamber of commerce, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and lots of non-profits have Facebook pages, and we can interact with them and support them through our own Facebook postings. It builds goodwill, and it reminds people that we’re connected to the community, making us a great choice when they need a lawyer.
  • Post infrequently about your own cases. Every now and then I sneak in a message soliciting business, but I’m much more apt to look for news or information that relates to what we do than anything else. Make most of what you do about passing along good information. One recent example ties to a news story I heard on NPR that morning.

  • Use the Facebook questions feature. I posted a question in April about estate planning, asking if our fans had wills, estate plans, etc. My point was to prompt interaction and also prompt them to remember that we do that type of work. “Deed to a gravesite” was added as an option by someone. I should have turned off the button that allows people to add things to the list. It doesn’t really fit with this very well.

  • Hold a contest. This was the single biggest boost we had to our fans. Another law firm in our city, Crocker Law Offices , held a contest in which they offered to give $1 to charity for each new “like.” It was brilliant, and they’ve gained a ton of fans – they’re up to somewhere around 1,300. We held off for a few months and did the same, and boosted our fans by about 300. As I write this, we’re at 398 fans. Whether or not this brings us any new business, I don’t know, but it’s worth trying. I’ve noticed that Crocker has continued to hold contests, once giving away free tickets to a  high-end pet-related event to the person who posted a photo of their pet with the best pet story on their wall. Their wall was filled with pet stories. The attorneys at my firm say that type of interaction is great for Crocker – it suits the firm and its primary attorneys well. But ELPO’s business is more corporate, and if there are a bunch of pet photos on our Facebook wall, there’s no room to post messages about our expertise. I’d rather see the occasional fan posting/comment and not get into any type of contest such as the pet contest. But I have to give them a lot of props for creativity. And yes, I will concede that maybe I don’t want to do it because I didn’t think of it first!

The biggest thing to remember with Facebook, and all social media, is that a great Facebook page doesn’t replace anything. It’s offered in addition to other types of communication. You’ll reach a different audience through Facebook. After all, did you get rid of your phone when you bought a fax machine?

Also remember it takes time to build a presence on Facebook and a following on Twitter. Keep doing good work, and in time, they WILL come. We’re almost eight months into having a Facebook page, and still hoping to see more followers and more interest.

Writer Robyn Davis Sekula spends her days creating the perfect 140-character Tweet, the best sound bite, the right status update and succinct but savvy blog posts. She now counts among her clients English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley LLP, a law firm in Bowling Green, Ky., and the Asher Agency, a full-service marketing agency in Fort Wayne, Ind. She also works with Ivy Tech Community College Sellersburg on public relations strategies. Robyn’s website is www.robyndavissekula.comand you can find her on Twitter @itsRobynwithay, and on Facebook. Robyn holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. If you want to get her attention, show her a new gadget.

Comments

  1. I’m a huge fan of using Facebook for business development/marketing in the legal realm. This is by far one of the most informative posts I’ve read in a long time. It’s nice to see your your real life examples as well.

  2. Jay Pinkert says:

    Thanks Samantha! You’ve always got massively useful Facebook info on your blog, so it’s particularly gratifying that you found Robyn’s post useful.

    Let’s make a pact to find more great law firm Facebook case studies.

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