3 Steps to Building Corporate Presence on Facebook

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Here’s an overview of the three-stepped, strategic approach I’ve been suggesting to marketing directors and lawyers who realize they’d “like to create our firm’s Facebook page” but ultimately don’t know how or why.

I find myself repeating this advice enough on the telephone (to good reception), thought it might deserve a post:

First: Just Do It, Build a Page>>

Translation: set yourself the single goal of creating a firm Facebook page. Get started here. Include basic information, images, a handful of requisite links to website, blog, etc. Don’t worry too much about what, exactly, you’re going to do once the page exists – just create it.

When you are done you’ll have something akin to a LinkedIn Company Profile: a page titled with the firm’s name that includes basic corporate messaging, contact information, and other elements typically available on your website.

Again, don’t worry about what you’re going to do with the page. Just create it.

Why: this first, easiest step has more value than you might think. For one thing, until you build your firm page on Facebook, you have no controlled presence on the platform. And by controlled presence, I mean: that well-crafted brand message you spent so much time developing simply does not exist on a platform used by 500 million and counting. What users find when they look for information about you will be in the hands of anyone but you.

However, more to the point: Facebook pages tend to show well in Google. And that’s why to start with this first, easiest of steps: now, when an interested party Googles your firm’s name, you’ll have one more listing on the first page of Search that has been crafted (is owned) by you. Reason enough to start a page.

Second: Turn Your Page Into a Broadcast Channel>>

Translation: Once you start a page, an audience will start growing around it, as measured by people who click to LIKE what you have created there. The more you promote your page (in newsletters, on your blog, via whatever method you see fit), the more likes/connections you’ll get. You might also see a fair amount of organic growth, as people find the page in Google, or as your network expands on Facebook when connections of connections come to investigate what is being LIKED.

Now, start delivering content to these connections.

For lawyers and law firms, that often means: start sharing your analysis, commentary, alerts, blog posts and other substantive publications. (We built an app to make this easy for you.) However, I’ve also seen lawyers (example: Elliot Alderman) who “curate” mainstream, third-party news related to their field of practice and in this way, via shared content, are establishing themselves as a daily source of interesting information. It’s all about visibility.

I’ve also seen larger firms share slightly more promotional content (versus the analysis and legal commentary) such as news of lawyer accomplishments, speaking events, conference info, and generally what falls under public relations material. Fine. Go for it. It’s your page. Keep in mind, though, that the best content strategy approaches matters from the point of view of your audience. What are their interests? Answer to that question should be the main driver of what you post on Facebook.

I suggest: mix it up. Share your own writings, interesting and relevant news, and the occasional promo. Done well, it should be well-received (just like a firm newsletter in years past; a mix of all).

Why broadcast: several reasons. Here are two to start with:

1) It’ll help you get a sense of who likes your page. Or, more to the point, it’ll help you get a sense of where your connections’ interests lie. As you share content on your page, you’ll be able to measure (through “likes” and other insights) whether or not the work resonates with your growing audience. In this way you can start fine-tuning both a sense of who on Facebook your audience appears to be and what type of content appeals most to them. Two great insights as your calibrate your social media marketing efforts. And…

2) Much has been written about Facebook as a major news source. I suspect the meteoric rise of this phenomenon has everything to do with what happens to news on the platform. In short: news travels quickly on Facebook. (Include in your definition of “news” anything of interest to someone.) Actions on Facebook are so amazingly transparent. “Like” a piece of legal analysis that covers a recent development in your industry and suddenly all of your friends know about it. And they tell two friends, and they tell two friends – and on and on. (I don’t really visit blogs any more; they tend to find me on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.)

When you turn your Facebook page into a broadcast channel, you’re increasing the odds of viral spread (ie, visibility) of your content. Indeed, at JD Supra we see, daily, that legal content shared on Facebook finds a good audience.

Third: Start Engaging with Your Connections>>

Translation: I recommend “engagement” as a third step because, generally, it is the most resource-intensive. And it seldoms makes sense to engage until 1) you’ve built an audience and 2) you know something about that audience.

The big picture here is that, as time passes, it might make sense to invest more resources to cultivate those people gathering around your Facebook corporate presence. You built a page, an audience grew (and continues to grow), and now it is time to build relationships.

How? There are a number of options. People usually first suggest: ask questions. Facebook developed a nifty “Questions” app, tied to every page, and by all indications page fans liked to be asked for their opinion(s).

Also ask questions directly as you share content – you’ll likely start to get more comments for each shared piece.

Scan the list of people who have “liked” your page and see if any of them should become personal connections on Facebook (either for you or other lawyers in the firm).

Engagement on Facebook can take many forms – and seldom works if it is forced. I also think there is a blurred line between this step and step two (broadcasting). Engagement may very well just be: sharing content with more resources spent on the follow-up, allowing readers to become friends.

Why: because relationships are everything!

Further reading:

3 Quick Ways to Spruce Up Your Law Firm Facebook Page
3 Apps for Your Law Firm’s Facebook Page
Facebook as News Source: You Stand to Benefit
– List yours in the Facebook Law Pages section of ThePageFinder