The Legal Chamber Newsletter • May 2011

Get the Most Out of Your Law Firm's Facebook Page

Now that we all have Facebook Pages for our businesses, a lot of folks have asked: what the heck to do with the darn thing? Most companies have been clued into the “internet fad” and can easily recognize the potential for such a direct connection with consumers. The frustration comes when you’ve set everything up and, for whatever reasons, still haven’t cultivated much of a following.

Below are a few seemingly obvious do’s and don’ts that I see on a daily basis that may be turning away potential clients:

DO: Be personal and connect. Social networking is all about the customer when it comes to business. Make customers who post on your wall feel heard, use personal replies, and be genuine.

DON’T: Post pictures of your cats. This also goes for your other animals, any weird themed parties, and chainmail cartoons among others. If the content doesn’t directly relate to your legal area or practice expertise, ask why customers would want to read it. “Because my Bootsy got a new outfit” is not an acceptable reason.

DO: Keep it interesting. Remember that you’re in constant competition when trying to keep users on your site. Having topical and relatable material helps to keep visitors engaged and interested in your site. It also gives you the chance to demonstrate your knowledge and give them a feel for you lawyer mentality.

DON’T: Go on soapbox rants. There are very few cases in which people should be allowed to post their inane rants on Facebook. Political or otherwise, most people will either be turned off or ignore your complaints. Provide a positive experience or spin.

DO: Share cool stuff. Sites like StumbleUpon and Tumblr are popular because they give you recommendations for cool sites that relate to your topic and search preferences. Similarly, visitors to your firm’s page are looking for all things legal. Be sure you’re sharing things that are new (like new local laws) as well as information about your firm’s efforts to stay on the cutting edge.

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Analyzing Your Online Legal Marketing Campaigns

Everyone is online these days, so naturally it’s one of the most popular ways to find a lawyer, or anything else you may want. If you’re sinking all kinds of dough into online marketing, then you probably want to know if it’s worth your time and money. Online marketing is tough because you often don’t see results immediately and there’s a lot of work involved.

Below are the top 5 ways to test your online legal marketing schemes to make sure you're getting the most bang for your buck:

  1. Google Analytics and Yahoo Web Analytics—These tools monitor your web traffic and give you the definitive statistics on your site. It tells you who is finding your site, which pages are most popular, how much time is spent on those pages, and how they found your website.

  2. Search Your Firm—On both Google and Yahoo/Bing, search for the following:
    • Your name (lawyer Joe Blow)
    • The name of your firm (Joe & Associates)
    • Your practice and location (personal injury lawyer Austin, TX)
    • Where do you show up? It’s important to remember that most people will not search past the first page of results, and your individual results may be skewed by your personal search history and login status.
  3. Survey Your Clients—Find out how your new or potential clients heard about your practice. If it’s been a long time (and a lot of money) since initiating your online campaign and you’re not getting the results you wanted, it may be time to pull the plug.

  4. Offers—We all like getting a deal or feeling like we’ve gotten one. Many companies are encouraging web traffic to their Facebook, Twitter, or company website by doing special offers and giveaways. Test your online presence by offering something free or drastically reduced in price to the first person to respond.

  5. Weighing Time and Cost—A legal practice of any size is still a business. That means you need to make sensible business choices with your spending. If your online campaign is a money-pit, shut it down and regroup. Set a time or cost limit for your campaign so you don’t keep putting it off and losing money.

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Lawyer Tip #15: Work on Being Just a Lawyer

When people hire a lawyer, they aren’t always in it just for the legal services.  Without any warning, they can convert their attorney into their psychiatrist, their priest, and even their doctor, and you can end up exhausted trying to juggle their “companionship” with your business. 

If you don’t want clients unloading more than just their legal problems, it’s important for you to make your role crystal clear—right from the beginning.

It is fine to let emotionally needy clients know that you have other, equally-important cases to attend to.  Don’t let one needy client waste your time.  Stand up to your clients and draw a line in the sand as soon as possible.  And if they cross it, let them know.

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Get Your Law Firm in Synch With The Seasons

Seasonal trends are a standard for most businesses.  Retail stores peak around winter holidays, chocolate shops are packed in February, and florists strain to fill orders for Mother’s Day and hundreds of senior proms.

Even law practices have a measurable ebb and flow.  These trends can depend on geographic location, your area of practice, or even on national news.  And understanding them is crucial when planning marketing budgets, knowing when to take on longer term cases, planning vacations, or even hiring new staff. 

If you don’t know what the trends for your field are, or if you’ve recently moved to a new location or area of practice, consider asking other attorneys in your area for advice.  They should be happy to share their insight.

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