Smart social media marketing strategies that pay off for lawyers
Since the launch of Facebook Ads in 2010 we have learned a lot about the effectiveness of social media marketing for law firms. Over the last 6 years we have monitored how the world’s largest social media network has impacted the advertising space and how attorneys can compete successfully in this powerful, dynamic channel.
One of the best ways to learn is to watch the mistakes other companies, both in and out of the legal marketplace, have made during the initial trial-and-error phase. Law firms using social media need to know how many eggs to put in the social basket. And while that number might continue to change, it’s worthwhile to know what’s working right now in advertising on Facebook.
A Facebook page continues to be one the most valuable assets for law firms and service businesses around the world. Just as the massive social platform has allowed companies to communicate on a greater scale and in a more targeted way than ever before, there is no denying that Facebook Ads is another powerful marketing tool to help social-savvy attorneys reach hundreds, thousands, even millions, of leads in a matter of seconds.
It’s no wonder understanding how to leverage Facebook Ads is now a huge priority for law firms that want to stay competitive. There are, however, a number of best practices that are important to follow so you don’t fall into the same traps as early adopters have in the past. These include things like common mistakes when developing a Facebook ad, how to monitor a Facebook campaign, signs that your campaign needs to be tweaked and how metrics can help you going forward.
1| Targeting your followers
One of the greatest benefits of Facebook is that it allows marketers to target like never before. So unlike a TV advertising campaign for your law firm, where your marketing message reaches far and wide, a Facebook Ad campaign should be structured for the opposite: narrow and “follower” focused. Why? Because the gift that Facebook Ads gives law firms is the ability to re-market to people who already value an attorney’s practice, reputation, work, etc.
Think of it as a new avenue for capitalizing on targeted leads. Your Facebook followers represent the core of your online community, and your Facebook ads are messages you deliver to loyalists. Just take a look at the data that supports this approach:
Webtrends has shown that when you target ads on Facebook directly to your followers or “fans,” you get 700% more click-throughs, as well as 400% more conversions on these highly targeted ads, according to research by TGB Digital.
This makes sense and supports what we already know about digital content: The more relevant content is to a user, the more likely that user is to take action. If a Facebook advertising message is too general, aimed at too broad of an audience, a follower is more apt to ignore it because it doesn’t immediately relate.
2| Images that inspire
Just as the reputation of your law firm is all about presenting the right brand image in your community or practice sector, Facebook advertising needs to look the part as well. Think of a typical Facebook post by a friend. What probably pops into your head is a happy image of someone on a beach vacation, with their kids or doing something clever that they want to display, visually, for all to see. Well, the same goes for the structure of Facebook ads—images are critical, because they are typically the first thing a follower’s eyes will settle on.
That said, there seems to be no golden ticket for which ad image will actually work best in social media marketing for attorneys. Webtrends proved this point on a larger scale by surveying an audience about which of 12 different images they thought would perform best in a Facebook ad. It turns out that the winner wasn’t an iconic shot that most people associate with traditional advertising, such as a smiling person; it was a festive yet unexpected photo of decorations that stole the stage.
The point is you do need engaging photos to ensure your Facebook ad produces measurable clicks, but your law firm may not know what image content will truly do the trick. And for that you must experiment by split testing your assumptions about the viability of certain images and acting on performance metrics. Secretly surveying your audience by running a few different image options will quickly show which visual elements perform better. Not only will this tactic help you create more clicks, but it can save money over the long haul, because we know Facebook Ads is not going away anytime soon.
3| Testing is essential
Just as we’ve shown that split testing images can give you greater accuracy in targeting which visual content your followers will react to, so too will testing other aspects of your Facebook Ad campaign. With so many metrics available to digital advertisers these days it would be silly not to use that data to sharpen each and every advertising message, including your social media marketing efforts.
Marketers no longer assume an ad will be effective. We literally perform experiments until we know what’s effective. Facebook Ads give lawyers the ability to test every aspect of a campaign, including images, titles, landing pages, post text, demographic targeting, and more.
For example, maybe you know more of your followers are men, so you build an ad specifically designed to talk to this demographic. But what if these fans are not really actually converting as much as your female fans. If you split test for that you would know that even when you change up content your male audience will never clicks on an ad as much as the women devoted to your law firm. The beauty of testing all aspects of a Facebook ad is you’ve got nothing to lose but a little bit of time up front. But we’d argue that research and development is always a worthy endeavor.
4| Acting with immediacy
Law firms that already using social media know that it changes all the time. Facebook will continue to introduce new ad features, types and algorithms. All of these dynamic elements play with and against each other, creating a constantly moving target. This is both the magic of social media marketing for lawyers—and the frustration.
So when we think of smart strategies for Facebook Ads, the key is to test to see what’s working first and then to seize that opportunity fast to maximize the magic, because it could change next year—or next week. The best way to do that is to run tests to see which ads are converting and generating the greatest ROI at the time, then double down immediately in this area.
Additionally as more people uncover the power of Facebook Ads to target audiences, prices will inevitably rise, and this, too, could impact your buying power. So in many ways advertising through Facebook is a time-sensitive endeavor. Don’t hesitate to seize the opportunity to capitalize on what’s working right now.
5| Metrical flexibility
While it’s important to act quickly on what’s working in Facebook advertising, metrics give law firms the power to change quickly with shifting trends. Knowing that an ad strategy on Facebook ultimately requires a mindset of impermanence and flexibility, waning digital ad performance doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom.
There will come a time when your Facebook Ad campaign will begin to underperform, and there are a variety of causes for this. Perhaps followers develop a “blindness” to banner advertising. Maybe you’ve saturated a particular audience. But if you can look to metrics reports as the key to learning how to adapt and change your ads with the times, your social media marketing strategy will remain empowered.
The key here is finding the right balance. You might consider investing 80% in campaigns that are still delivering results today while you spend 20% testing new designs, content and target audiences that could pay off in the future. The goal is to have some future-thinking tricks up your sleeve so they’re ready and waiting when the old Facebook ads start to go south.
The legal marketing experts at Network Affiliates would be happy to share some of the best law firm social media policies and strategies with you. Wondering where your practice could be improving? Let our social media professionals dig in and find out! Call us today: (888) 461-1016