As a digital advertiser for law firms, I’ve spoken with many lawyers who don’t see the value of advertising on Facebook. After reviewing the activity on some of these attorneys’ Facebook Pages, I doubt whether they’ve attracted a single client. Their posts only have a handful of “likes” (usually from friends and family) and little to no comments or shares. In other words, rigor mortis has set in on their Facebook feed. Fortunately, if you’re reading this article, I will explain to you exactly how to breathe life and vigor into your Facebook Page and to use Facebook ads effectively to market your law firm.
I’m sure that many of you have read other posts about how you can use Facebook to attract more clients to your law firm. I’ve read these articles too, and most of them read the same – “blah blah social media this and that.” This is NOT that kind of article. Instead, this article is a real-world example of effectively using Facebook to draw in big cases and more clients. Before I detail how Facebook ads can really work wonders for your firm, let’s look at why Facebook advertising makes sense.
Facebook Advertising for Law Firms Makes Sense
Facebook makes perfect sense as an advertising medium. Why? Facebook is undoubtedly the largest social media network in the world. Here are a few recent statistics that demonstrate the reach of Facebook:
- As of July 2016, there are 1.71 billion monthly active users.
- There are 83 billion daily active users.
- Facebook adds 500,000 new users every day; 6 new profiles every second.
- 72% of all US online adults visit Facebook at least once a month.
- Facebook takes up 22% of the internet time Americans spend on mobile devices, compared with 11% on Google search and YouTube combined.
- Users spend an average of 50 minutes per day on Facebook.
The point of sharing these statistics is to show that if you aren’t advertising on Facebook, you are missing out on the potential to create “brand” awareness of your firm and to target specific types of cases and clients.
Law Firms Have Ignored the Benefits of Advertising on Facebook
Although there are 50 million active small business Pages, only 2.5 million of those businesses pay to be “active advertisers.” What this means is that many businesses, including law firms, have yet to discover the benefits of paid advertising on Facebook via “boosting” posts or running text or video ads. Therein lies a huge potential for your marketing voice to be heard online as opposed to trying to be heard (at great expense) over the din of all the law firm ads saturating local TV stations. Additionally, advertising on Facebook has its advantages over advertising on local television:
- Rapid ad placement: If you’ve ever run an ad on TV, you know that from start to finish it can take days or weeks to prepare your ad and book your run times. If you are “boosting a post” or running a graphic/text ad, Facebook only takes minutes to set up. Even if you are shooting a video for your Facebook ad (note – video ads typically perform better than other ads), Facebook is still much quicker than television.
- Control of your budget: On average, I’ve found that the CPM (cost per thousand) on Facebook is higher than the CPM of advertising on a local television station. However, unlike TV ad campaigns that require a few months of commitment, you can exercise much more control over your Facebook ad budget. Basically, you can spend as little or as much as you want and you can turn your ads off and on as often as you like.
- Control of ad targeting: Compared to television advertising, Facebook gives you much greater control of your ad’s target. Here are some of the ways you can target your ads:
- Age, Gender, and Language: You can select the basic demographics of the audience you want to reach.
- Location: You have the option to target your audience based on location including countries, states, provinces, cities, congressional districts, zip codes, or any combination of locations.
- Education: You can select your audience based on education level, fields of study, schools and undergrad years.
- Interests: You can choose specific interests (such as law, divorce, criminal justice, etc.) that are important to your audience.
- Behaviors: You can select people based on purchase behaviors or intents, device usage and more.
- Connections: You can select your audience based on whether they’re connected to your Page. Anyone who has a friend connected to what you’re advertising will see their friend included in your ad.
Real World Examples of How Advertising on Facebook Can Pay Off for Law Firms
To illustrate how effective Facebook advertising can be for attorneys, I’ve broken down my examples into 3 primary goals that your Facebook ads should focus on: (1) brand awareness; (2) promoting practice areas; and (3) targeting specific cases/clients. These examples are from campaigns I run for my own law firm, Futeral & Nelson LLC.
Example 1 – Building Brand Awareness
To build the public’s awareness of your law firm, I recommend using a 15 to 30-second video to promote your firm such as mine shown in the screenshot below. Overall, video ads get more attention and interaction from Facebook users than static, image and text-based ads.
Here is a screenshot in Ads Manager showing some of the numbers and costs associated with this ad:
As for the CPM for this campaign, it is about double the CPM for a television ad in my local (Charleston, SC) market. Having said that, the cost-per-click (CPC) is low at 22 cents and the click-through-rate (CTR) is high at 11.01%. This ad has generated 19 new intakes for a cost-per-acquisition (CPA) of $30.58. Overall, this ad’s CPC, CTR, and CPA are MUCH better compared to most Google Adwords campaigns for law firms. Plus, my firm continues to build awareness through impressions on Facebook.
Example 2 – Promoting Practice Areas
To market practice areas, I typically don’t create an ad such as “we do family law” or “we’ll help you when you’ve been injured” because Facebook users don’t interact or engage very much with these ads. There is a much better approach that I call “soft sell/hot topic.” Here’s what I mean by that. First, I find a hot topic in the local news that fits into the practice area I want to promote. In this example, I am promoting animal law. Albeit animal law is far from a lucrative area of practice, my wife (who is also a lawyer) and I enjoy helping pet owners. Anyway, I saw that local news was covering a story about a homeowner’s association that was threatening to take away an elderly woman’s dog because it was a “pit mix.” On the day the story broke, I created a post on my firm’s Facebook page linking to the news coverage. Then, I boosted the post with a budget of several hundred dollars to run for just a few days because interest in the story would fade after about 72 hours or so. Below is a screenshot of the results that shows over 2,500 engagements, over 500 comments, and a reach of 30,265 persons:
All that is well and good, but what about driving traffic to my law firm’s website? Standing alone, it appears that all I did was drive traffic to the news station’s website. That’s where the “soft sell” comes in using a service such as Sniply, Linkis, or others to add a call-to-action to the links you share. As you can see from the screenshot below of the link I shared on Facebook, I used Sniply to create a call-to-action to download my law firm’s free eBook “Animal Laws in South Carolina – Piecing It All Together.”
When Facebook users clicked on the Sniply call-t0-action, they were directed to the download page on my firm’s website as shown in the next screenshot:
In addition to creating brand awareness for my firm via several hundred post engagements (shares, likes, and comments), Sniply stats showed that the call-to-action was clicked 1440 times, my analytics showed that our book was downloaded 107 times, and my firm took in two new cases that week regarding equestrian veterinary malpractice. Remember that for the soft sell/hot topic approach to work, you must move quickly to capitalize on whatever is currently trending in the news that may fit within your practice area.
Example 3 -Targeting Specific Cases or Clients
Targeting a specific case or client is identical to soft sell/hot topic approach with a slight twist. In this scenario, you know that there is a certain case or client you want to sign up but you haven’t the means to contact the potential client directly due to ethical prohibitions, lack of information as to how to reach the potential client, or you don’t know the exact identity of the potential client. In this example, my firm was trying to reach the family members of an assisted living resident who died tragically after wandered off from the facility. As it so happened, my firm was representing the family of another assisted living resident who also died tragically after wandered off from a different facility 3 months before. Here is a screenshot of the post and the results:
Here is a screenshot of the call-to-action on the link:
And here is my firm’s web page that was tied into the call-to-action:
Although my firm did not get a lead regarding the second assisted living facility resident, the link to our firm’s page was clicked over 100 times and my firm did receive 3 leads regarding unrelated assisted living facility abuse and neglect claims.
Final Thoughts on Effective Facebook Ads for Lawyers
Please bear in mind that there are other factors that can influence the effectiveness of your Facebook ads such as the text of the ad or post, the graphics or video you use for ads, the ad placements (desktop vs. mobile, etc.), and your choice in demographics such as location and other factors. Also, just because your ad is effective using the budget you started with doesn’t mean your ad will be more effective by increasing your budget. Over time, Facebook uses internal algorithms to make adjustments to “optimize” the display of your ad depending on your budget. When you jack up your budget more than 5% to 10% of your original budget, you throw the “optimization” out of whack and, typically, see a poorer performance. I recommend increasing your budget in small increments and waiting 24 hours to see how the ad is performing before making any adjustments. The same principles are true if you start changing other attributes of your ad such as geo-targeting and demographic adjustments.
Lastly, before you start running ads, you need to make sure your law firm’s Facebook page is optimized (completely decked out). To double-check whether you have taken advantage of all of Facebook’s features, just read my step-by-step article on optimizing your business’s Facebook Page.
If you need help creating and managing Facebook advertising campaigns for your law firm, please contact us to find out how JustLegal Marketing can help you.