Why Don’t Attorneys Use Facebook in Their Marketing Plan?

Why Don’t Attorneys Use Facebook in Their Marketing Plan?

Shocking Lack of Social Media Use By Attorneys

I spent Thursday at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.

I went there with the intent to pick up some tips and tricks to share with you about attorney marketing while also getting my final few hours of continuing legal education credits. However, I came away from there with the shocking reality that very few attorneys are using social media in their attorney marketing plans.

Picture it – I drove down to Houston yesterday morning; weaved my way through the craziness that is Houston’s traffic; picked the correct entrance from the hundreds of doors into the GRB Convention Center; then registered and ran the gauntlet of sponsor booths to find a seat in one of the large seminar rooms while I awaited the first session.

The first session I attended was in the Adaptable Lawyer Legal Innovation Track that was put on by the Computer and Technology Section. The speaker was an entertaining and informative Michael P. Maslanka, Esq., and he was talking about social media in the workplace.

Mr. Maslanka’s presentation centered around social media from the standpoint of its impact on labor and employment law, in which he discussed issues pertaining to hiring and firing your employees who use social media, how much access employees should have to social media on the job, and social media policies in the workplace.

What was most striking to me, however, was the fact that when Mr. Maslanka (a.k.a. @WorkLawyer on Twitter) and another speaker later in the day asked for a show of hands as to the number of attorneys in the room using Facebook, Twitter or any other social media, the number of attorneys who answered in the affirmative was nearly none.

Seriously?

Yes – it’s true. As shocking as it was, of the hundreds of attorneys in the seminar session yesterday, there were a maximum of 10 (including myself) who raised their hand to indicate they are using social media in any manner with regard to their legal practice.

One of the presenters who had asked the question was as shocked as I was at the resulting lack of hands and blurted out the question – “What are you people doing then?”

That’s exactly what I want to know.

Why Don’t Attorneys Use Facebook in Their Marketing Plan?

Knowing what I know, I can’t come up with a reasonable answer to this question.  I’m hoping some of my colleagues will post comments to this article to give me further insight into their reasoning.

Some of the excuses I thought of are as follows:

  • Attorneys don’t know how to use Facebook effectively;
  • Attorneys think Facebook is only for teenagers and college kids;
  • Attorneys don’t think they have anything interesting to say on Facebook.

Whatever the excuses, they pale in comparison to the marketing advantages you can gain if you learn how to use Facebook effectively in your attorney marketing (or any business marketing for that matter).

What Are the Advantages of Using Facebook in Attorney Marketing?

(1) It’s Free

How many of you have purchased what you believe to be a great marketing tool thinking it was going to be the end all and be all for growing your law firm. But in the end it turns out to be a dud or you never learn to use it because it’s too complicated?

One of the key aspects of Facebook, as well as other social media sites, is that you don’t have to pay for it. You simply have to invest some time and effort into understanding how to optimize and use it to your advantage and then commit to doing it.

I’ll be the first to admit that it takes time to use Facebook and other social media effectively, but if you use it, it works!

Worst case scenario – if you set up a Facebook page, but don’t end up using it, you won’t be out any money and you won’t be any worse off than you already are!

(2) “Everyone” Is Using Social Media

You’re probably hearing an echo of your mom or dad in your head saying “If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you?”

I know the importance of not always following the crowd because I emphasize this to my kids all the time. However, when it comes to using Facebook or other social media to promote your legal practice, the number of users on these social media sites is too enormous to ignore.

As an example, there are approximately 750 million people with a Facebook account, and the total number of users is growing every day.

More importantly, the demographics of these users are not made up of only high school or college kids. In fact, the fastest growing demographic of new Facebook users is baby boomers.

People often ask me whether their “typical client” is the type of person who uses social media. I can’t answer that question for every niche legal practice in this article. However, I can comfortably represent to you that with the number of Facebook users approaching one billion, I believe the odds are very high that there are people using Facebook who are clients of whatever type of law you practice.

And what have you got to lose?

If you never get any leads from social media, which I highly doubt based on my experience, then you still have an effective way to communicate with your clients and the public about what you do, what is happening in your area of legal expertise, and other topics that are of interest to you.

This brings me to the third advantage.

(3) Facebook is a Key Method to Communicate Who You Are

The internet has changed so much from a marketing standpoint over the past 5 years. It used to be sufficient for your law firm to have a website that was informative and static.

You know what I’m talking about – law firms would create a pretty website that showcased the firm’s logo, pictures of its beautiful offices and bios on each of its attorneys. The firm might also have a section entitled “News” or “Press” to communicate what was happening with the firm if they were progressive, but for the most part, websites (and the internet as a whole) was seen as a one-way street for law firms and businesses to market themselves to the world.

The environment has changed due to the prevalence of social media. Today, people have the ability to interact, provide immediate feedback, and get to know you or your law firm through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ Local and YouTube. This is why it’s that much more important for attorneys and law firms to understand and use these tools in their attorney marketing plans.

(4) Recommendations/Referrals from Others

Many attorneys tell me that their greatest source of business comes from word-of-mouth referrals from people they know. If this is the case, why not use the tools Facebook provides for you to build a community of people around your business who will be a source of referrals and recommendations for you?

If you’ve spent any time on Facebook, you probably know that much of the activity centers around “Friends” and “Likes”. In effect, these Facebook tools are equivalent to endorsements or referrals from people you know.

When someone friends you on Facebook, they are endorsing you or showing their own Facebook community that they’re willing to be associated with you. Similarly, when they “Like” your law firm or business page, they are explicitly endorsing your because when they take this action, Facebook will notify all their friends about the fact that they “Like” your firm.

In a nutshell, attorney marketing boils down to using the tools available to you to leverage media channels (i.e. TV, radio, newspapers or the Internet) to tell people about your law firm. For those attorneys who are relying only on a static website for their internet marketing, they are missing out on a key (and free) marketing channel that will continue to grow in popularity, and they are missing out on a key source of client leads for their firm.

Next year, my goal is to attend (and speak at) the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting, and when I ask the question “How many of you are using social media in your legal practice?”….

The entire room will raise their hands!

It’s the only correct response if you’re doing attorney marketing right.

Why Don’t Attorneys Use Facebook in Their Marketing Plan?

Be Sociable, Share!
Written by Richard Martindale - About the Author: Richard Martindale is a practicing attorney and the President/CEO of an internet marketing company in Austin called Clockwork Social Media. Richard also publishes the Attorney Marketing Profits Blog. Naturally this article is connected to Richard’s profile, Twitter, Facebook and to LinkedIn so check him out in all these places.
About Richard Martindale

Speak Your Mind