Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin: October 2012

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Frequently, Bar members ask about using social media effectively in law firms. 

Facebook has particularly ruled that arena with over 900 million users worldwide and the second most accessed website in the U.S., behind Google. And your firm can connect to that community entirely for free with Facebook’s Pages.

(Much of what I discuss can be found at www.facebook.com/about/pages.)

What is a Facebook Page?

Pages are basically a profile page for businesses, athletes, celebrities, products, and special groups that can be administered by multiple Facebook users. Facebook Pages offer a way for fans to interact without compromising personal security or overwhelming your own personal Facebook account with people you might not know. Facebook offers a simple way to market to a new group of people, or get the message out about your organization – it’s free and takes only minimal tech skills to complete.

If you don’t already have a Facebook account for yourself, you will need one to create a page, even if you have no personal desire to interact with people directly.  Once you have a personal account, you can create a page (www.facebook.com/pages/create.php).

Don’t forget to “like” the MSBA’s Facebook Page.  Also, search for the pages for MSBA Young Lawyers Section, the Maryland Pro Bono Resource Center, and the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service. And, to view how one MSBA member is using Facebook, check out
Drescher & Associate.

You will be asked to pick a type of page and a category, and then asked to name the page. Once you do, it’s time to set up your Facebook Page.

Facebook Pages are comprised of a cover image, profile picture, and any updates you can offer your followers, such as informative status updates, pictures, events, and notes. These are all displayed within the timeline, a vertical display organized by date.

To get started, choose a cover photo (the large one at the top) and a profile picture, which will be viewable throughout Facebook by all users. After you have picked your photos, click on the “About” link beneath your profile picture. Here you can enter information relevant to your group or firm, such as contact information, address, or website, if you have one. To get some of your first users, select the gear menu underneath your cover photo, to the right, and select “Share Page”. This will share it to the Facebook friends on your personal account.

Also make sure there’s a link to your Facebook Page from your website, if you have one. (And if you don’t, check out ESQSites123.com, an MSBA-endorsed vendor.)

Now you’re ready to begin making status updates for the Facebook users that have liked your page.

On your account page, you’ll see a link to the pages you manage on the left hand side of your news feed, under the heading “Pages”. Click on a page, and you can write a status update from that page. Facebook Pages let you choose the profile you use for that page, whether it’s your personal one, or the page profile. Click on the downward arrow next to the Home button for the profile menu.

The real benefit of a Facebook Page is the direct interaction with those that have liked your page.  The “Insights” panel, which will show just under your cover photo and isonly visible to administrators, will show you just how far your messages are reaching. With Insights, you can see what kinds of posts gather the most attention, and what your followers are interested in.

Some Tips on Status Updates

  • Post regularly! Consistency will help keep you within Facebook user’s news feed.
  • Photos and videos help engage the user, as well as hyperlinks to outside articles where necessary.
  • Keep it short and sweet, and to the point. Users on Facebook are quick to decide if a post is too long to investigate.
  • Don’t be repetitive and always offer something of interest to your followers relevant to your page topic.
  • Answer user’s requests on your page with poise, and screen or delete any obvious spam posts.
  • You can force an item to the top of your page for up to seven days by selecting the “pin” option in the upper-right hand corner of each timeline post.  This is a helpful option for things like time-sensitive events links, which you could use to spread the word about organization events, workshops, and the like.
  • The ‘highlight’ option within the same upper-right hand menu as the pin option will enlarge a status update to the whole width of the Facebook page. Use this occasionally to help break up the visual space and of course, highlight significant posts.
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Publications : Bar Bulletin : October 2012

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