Facebook Foibles or The Facebook Chronicles Book One: The Rude Awakening

by Barb Cashman on April 25, 2012

I am trying to maintain a sense of humor about all this, so I thought of the “Lemony Snicket Series of Unfortunate Events” books one of my kids loved. As a Facebook newbie, I initially struggled with practical considerations like, “How do I set my Facebook business page as my default?”

“Struggle” may be putting it mildly …  let’s just say I’m glad I work with two screens, so I can watch the “how to” video or display the test on one screen and execute the instructions on the other [hey, wasn’t there a recent post about two screens?] Oh – never mind, that great video I found doesn’t apply anymore since Facebook business pages all use Timeline as of this month!

This stuff isn’t exactly simple, but there are guides out there. I’m an optimist but with more research I may find it is impossible to make your biz page your landing page on Facebook. I’m joking of course. That is difficult for me because the real reason I have finally gone to Facebook is for my biz page. . .  Drat!  This whole thing just brings out the stubbornness in me – so for now, if you ask I will stoically answer “Moi? Je persiste!” 

OK, enough drama already! Here’s my first disclaimer – I checked out a library book to help wade through the Facebook for business morass. Why is this so shocking? Because I’m actually looking at a “how to” book instead of just figuring it out as I go along! And, because it’s the first “Dummies” book I’ve ever read – how is it possible to feel good about reading a book for dummies (even if you only check it out from the library)?!

Before I get into the practical considerations about Facebook marketing, let’s explore some of the bigger picture issues.  The first is about some of the ethical constraints lawyers face in social media use.  I like using the term “use” because there are plenty of examples of the “use” of social media that do not fall into the “marketing” context.  I want to focus on marketing here, but I think it’s helpful to identify the fear out there about using social media.  I’m saying this so the next time we meet that fear we can introduce ourselves to it!

A recent article by Sharon Nelson and John Simek entitled “Mitigating the Legal Risks of Using Social Media,” is a godsend in this regard.  I’m already a fan of their writing (if they sound familiar, it may be from their long involvement with the ABA, most recently with TECHSHOW).  This is a great article that covers the gamut of considerations: avoiding adverse publicity (have a strategy regarding policy of use, also content); make sure there is no misleading advertising (FTC rules apply); informality should not mean unmonitored; determine who can speak for the law firm (remember “fake blogs?”); and lots of considerations about employees using social media and several excellent tips about how to keep control over social media efforts.

Not quite to the point of finding a medium to get guidance from my recently departed friend/colleague/collaborator Matt, but I could get more desperate!  On second thought, maybe I’ll just hire someone to help me.

So maybe you’re asking that question about whether attorneys should outsource their social media marketing efforts. A recent article by Stephen Fairley in the National Law Review answers that question by asking us to consider several questions:

  1. Can social media marketing drive your business growth? Look at your target markets to determine this to see whether you will be playing in the correct sandbox.
  2. How well is your social media working today? Are you using it to follow through and actually engage with potential clients, or is it a dreaded chore?
  3. Could outsourcing free up you time to focus on your business?  This is the familiar conundrum of where to devote your energy.
  4. How do you measure ROI?  Well, you first have to identify the goals to determine how they are being met.

He offers these criteria as requirements to consider when you interview a legal marketing company:

  • They can point to other attorneys they work with;
  • They have a written blueprint for how they intend to generate leads for your law firm;
  • They clearly integrate blogs and social media and see one as an extension of the other;
  • They charge a flat fee that’s reasonable based on results;
  • They have clearly identified strategies to track and measure actual results from your blog and social media.

Stay tuned for the ongoing saga; the next post should be much less dramatic. I hope.

Read more about Barb’s Facebook Chronicles here.


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