Have you ever gotten an email solicitation from a marketing company promising to get you more engagement on your Facebook page? Depending on the industry you’re in, an offer like this could be extremely valuable – particularly if you’re selling some sort of product that people can potentially buy on impulse. If you’re a lawyer, however, selling your services on Facebook, or any other social media site for that matter, isn’t necessarily going to land you more clients.
Q: If I get more Facebook “likes” than I currently have, will that improve my SEO?
A: There is no definite correlation between the number of “likes” you receive and better search engine rankings. While more likes may result in more clicks to your website at times, there’s no guarantee that an increase in activity on Facebook will result in anything other than improved search placement on Facebook. If users are sharing your posts and links to your website on their own profiles, and that activity results in traffic back to your website from multiple referral sources and unique IP addresses, that activity will likely have some sort of positive impact on your search engine rankings over time. However, to simply state that more “likes” will improve SEO is disingenuous and inherently inaccurate.
Before we start talking about the specifics of marketing strategy, let’s take a look at the audience a law firm would potentially be appealing to on Facebook. A person scrolling through Facebook is typically not in “research” mode. They can be, but your average Facebook user doesn’t go to research a particular topic. Instead, they go to Facebook to interact with their friends, to watch entertaining videos, or to read articles posted by friends or pages they currently like. For a lawyer to assume that an individual in non-research/non-buy mode will pick up the phone and retain legal services straight from the Facebook newsfeed is misguided. The likelihood of someone being involved in a car accident or having a loved one arrested and then going to Facebook to seek out legal assistance is very low. However, that’s not to say that Facebook shouldn’t be a part of a law firm’s digital marketing strategy.
Facebook, and other social media sites, should be used as branding tools to help expand the law firm’s digital footprint online and shouldn’t be viewed as an alternative to sound SEO strategy that directly impacts placement on major search engines like Google. When it comes to researching a lawyer, the majority of people are more inclined to use search engines to conduct their research than they are to use social media sites. When someone “Googles” a query, that person is looking for specific results based on that query. For example, if someone were to search for “Car Accident Lawyer Near Me,” the intent is very clear – the person has likely been involved in, or knows someone who’s been involved in, a car accident and is likely in need of an attorney. Queries like this almost always happen on search engines sites, not social media sites.
So, does that mean lawyers shouldn’t use social media to help market themselves? Of course not! Setting up social media profiles is almost expected in today’s Internet (not to mention, it’s free). If your law firm doesn’t have a Facebook page, some users might actually consider that a red flag. In short, everyone is on Facebook, including your competitors, so it’s in your law firm’s best interest to maintain a presence there as well.
Q: If having a Facebook presence is important and “likes” are the social currency that some people (generally younger people) use to define their popularity, wouldn’t it make sense for a law firm to want to get more likes?
A: It depends on what the law firm is assuming those likes represent. If the law firm is posting content on social media websites to help brand itself as a trusted authority in its respective area of law, then the more likes they can get, the better (namely because it’s going to help expand the firm’s brand reach). However, if the law firm is operating under the assumption that more likes will equate to more leads, they’re misguided in their approach and have likely been sold on a faulty strategy they either already bought in to or read about while doing their own research. At the heart of all advertising is understanding your user’s intent. Facebook users do not typically intend to retain legal services while browsing Facebook. On the other hand, Google users do often intend to retain legal services when querying certain legal terms. So, while you may secure leads from social media, the expectation should always be that leads come from websites – in this case, search engines – where it is the intent of the user to retain legal services while on those specific sites.
So, what does this all mean when it comes to spammy email solicitations?
Buyer beware. If a company is trying to sell you a social media package that’s based on likes, or video views, or follower count, always approach the situation cautiously. Salespeople are aggressive, especially in the world of attorney marketing. They know exactly which buttons to press to get you to buy, and they will exploit anything they can to help sell you on their services.
To help combat spammy salespeople, we suggest you ask the following questions:
- How does this translate to LEADS for my law practice?
- Are you providing QUALIFIED leads, or simply selling attention on social media?
- How is this REALISTICALLY going to impact my ROI?
Remember, most salespeople are working under the impression that you’re not knowledgeable when it comes to digital marketing strategy, and they’ll throw around a lot of sales speak to get you to sign a contract. If you always bring the conversation back to what’s actually important – signed leads – you can easily ward off the majority of solicitors.
Q: How do I know which marketing companies I can trust?
A: When selecting a new Internet marketing partner, do your research. Check out their website, which will often list law firms they’re either currently partnering with or have worked with in the past. If a list of clients or examples of past work are not present on the agency’s website, feel free to ask them who they’ve worked with. While some digital marketing agencies have non-disclosure agreements in place for advertising purposes, that doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t refer you to at least one of their clients to get better insight into what it’s like to work with them. Remember, if the marketing agency is hesitant about putting you in contact with other law firms they’ve worked with, assume it might be because they don’t want you to find out more about the quality of service they typically provide.
So, if a marketing agency is unwilling to provide you with references, does that mean you shouldn’t work with them? Of course not! There are a variety of ways that you can learn about a marketing agency if you’re truly interested in partnering with them. Aside from interviewing them over the phone (or in person), take a look at their online reviews. If former clients have had positive experiences, they may have shared about that experience on Google My Business, Yelp, or even Facebook. More importantly, if a client has had a bad experience in the past, they also may have written about it, and you can gain additional insight from there as well.
If you really want to do a deep dive on a marketing agency, check out their social media profiles. A Facebook page can offer you a glimpse into what the company culture is like and give you a better idea of the type of people you’ll be working with. Coming back full circle, law firms can use their own social media profiles to help brand themselves however they so choose. If your office goes on a lot of outings together or participates in a charity event, post pictures on Facebook. If you properly build your brand using social media sites, you’re potentially helping someone – who might be on the fence about retaining your services – make a decision that could impact your bottom line (if they retain said services).
So, are Facebook “likes” something you should be paying money for because doing so will provide leads that will make you money in return? No. If you’re interested in expanding your brand image, consider paid Facebook boosts instead. But before you boost the post, make sure your captions and graphics are strategically paired together to deliver the best possible message for conversion in mind. Otherwise, you’re just throwing perfectly good money away promoting content that was never really built for conversion in the first place.
If you have questions about your social media strategy, SLS Consulting, Inc., can help. We’re well aware of the questionably vague tactics that are popping up in attorney inboxes, and we can help get you focused on what’s most important to your practice – bringing in quality leads that turn into profitable cases. For more information, please call us at (323) 254-1510.
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