Vol. 84, No. 7, July 2011
Many businesses, including law practices, are using Facebook in an attempt to move their business forward and stay connected to their customers and clients in this fast-paced world. Why are some businesses more successful at this than others? Content is the key to staying in touch with your clients and keeping them informed. The content, however, must be a rich mix of information, education, humor, and fun. Use the HICCUP approach to make your Facebook page more successful.
Humor allows your audience to come away with a warm fuzzy feeling and a friendly attachment to your message. It doesn’t have to be profession or practice-area specific, although it can be. You can search on YouTube and sites that plug social media. Always watch a video all the way through before posting it to your Facebook page because you don’t want it to include any profanity or other unmentionables. Remember, video is king. Written blogs are being trumped by the clever, colorful, and often fun video blogs.
Don’t be afraid to ask open-ended questions of your audience. For example, a financial advisor may want to ask, “What is your biggest concern with the down economy?” The purpose here is to begin the conversation. People posting their answers will create a community buzz. Letting the responses unfold naturally also gives you a marketing advantage. The financial advisor can track the concerns and create future training or webinars around his or her clients’ needs.
If you don’t provide a myriad of interesting topics, information, and current trends, current and future clients may simply go away. After “liking” something on Facebook, it is just as easy to click “Unlike.” Smart, clever, and challenging content will keep your audience waiting for more. With most businesses having a presence on Facebook, competition will become fierce and you have to stand out.
Genae Girard is a speaker, author, and entrepreneur. She is the founder of www.BeyondtheBoobieTrap.com, an online social media community of more than 20,200 breast cancer survivors, and regularly speaks on the topics of women in leadership, building a community, and social media. Contact her at Genae Girard or (512) 796-1618.
If you haven’t done so already, get plugged in to online media and trade publications online, such as Wisconsin Lawyer (www.wisbar.org/wl) and WisBar InsideTrackTM (www.wisbar.org/insidetrack). When something interesting pops up, pass it along for other people’s knowledge. For example, if something political occurs that affects your practice area, pass it along, but never express an opinion about the event. Let your community respond. Stay informed by using Google Alerts, which lets you program in key words and then notifies you of relevant events and news feeds. Use a program like Hootsuite, described as a social media dashboard, to consolidate and tweet events to all of your feeds and accounts at one time, including Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
Using Profession Facts
Keep your followers abreast of changes in your particular practice area and relate them to your own business. For example, if you are a tax advisor or estate planner and there are some tax changes around the corner, keep people aware by posting them on Facebook. If you represent a medical office, you may want to post information on when and where a flu vaccine is available. Helping clients keep abreast of practical matters like these will encourage them to continue relying on you.
Promos and Specials
Mention specials, promotions, new products, and services. You can be creative and provide a discount, promote a client’s event such as an open house or a professional association’s pro bono clinic, or create a contest. (See Facebook’s promotions guidelines at www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php.) Talk about new employees, business awards and other professional recognition, and articles written by your staff. You can drive traffic to your firm by using this concept. The one caution is that you shouldn’t overuse Facebook to market to your customer base. Your audience can grow tired of marketing and quickly choose “Unlike” on your page, causing you to lose a potential client.
To be successful, all categories should be represented on your frequent posts. If you personally don’t have time to create and post content, give this assignment to an employee or virtual assistant. Provide them with these rules for your profession and explain the process. Generally, individuals with creative, idea-generating minds are best suited for this task. If you follow this model for promoting your business on Facebook, consumers will stick around to see what you post next. As the Facebook community grows, so will competition for consumer attention.