Master Class: Facebook Marketing Tips: Advice for Law Firms During COVID-19

Elizabeth Lockwood

As many lawyers know, social media marketing is a great way to build your brand, network, and revenue. But with clients stuck at home and the presence of law firms on social media rising, it can be challenging to make your law firm stand out amongst the crowd. And firms are also struggling to address the issues clients are having connecting with law firms remotely. The fact is, during the current pandemic, marketing on Facebook and other social media platforms is an excellent way to generate more potential clients, build credibility in your community, and keep your firm profitable.

In a webinar recorded on April 29th, 2020, Maddy Martin of Smith.ai hosts Mark Homer, CEO of Get Noticed, Get Found (GNGF.com) to discuss Facebook marketing tips for lawyers looking to drive growth and build their brands on social media amid COVID-19 restrictions. Maddy and Mark discuss how to differentiate your business by demonstrating your originality and credibility and how to push past the restrictions of COVID to connect with clients. They also dive into the differences between successful and unsuccessful Facebook campaigns, as well as how you can begin targeting and tracking your ideal clients to earn more referrals and conversions that will outlast the pandemic.

To learn more about how you can utilize these Facebook marketing tactics to attract new leads, boost your conversions, and increase your overall revenue, read the full transcript of the video below, edited for readability. You can also watch the full webinar for free on YouTube by clicking the image below. To check out more videos like this one, with tons of free tips for soloprenuers, small business owners, and lawyers, subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Moderator

Maddy Martin

Head of Growth and 

Education at Smith.ai

Speaker

Mark Homer

CEO of Get Notice, Get Found

INTRODUCTION

MARK HOMER, CEO OF GET NOTICED, GET FOUND:

We’re seeing a lot of clients reach out to us and say, “Hey, we’re getting a lot of cases, and we’re diving into it.” And it’s people that we’re spending money on Facebook ads that are just getting more than they used to because there are more people on Facebook.

The dollar per impression is down as well.

You’re getting thousands of more impressions, so it’s costing less to get those impressions. So those are big trends we’re seeing and actual data that we had. 

MADDY MARTIN, HEAD OF GROWTH & EDUCATION AT SMITH.AI:

So are you thinking that— I mean, impressions are great, but we all know that conversions really matter. So how is the engagement?

Are people just totally distracted and bouncing around from thing to thing and just consuming and not actually acting? Or are you finding that people are taking the next steps to get in touch with the firm and to schedule a consultation if one is available now?

MARK:

So, I will say that, unfortunately, that the data’s not awesome for everybody at all. We have traffic to websites in certain categories is up.

But no matter whether your traffic is up or down, leads across the board are just down a little bit. I think people are visiting stuff, checking out the resources, utilizing all the stuff we’re telling people to do, but they aren’t converting as high as they used to.

And we’re still seeing 7% to 10% conversion rates on some of our best clients sites. We’d like to try to be able to get the 10% numbers, right? I like to try to get toward a 10% number, anything.

Once you kind of get over that, then I worry that we’re not sending enough traffic.

So it’s, kind of, but if you’re below 5% conversion rate on your website, there are some problems probably on your website

MADDY:

Can you define a conversion we’re still seeing? 

CONVERSIONS: WHAT ARE THEY & WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT?

MARK:

So somebody who comes and visits your website, that then takes the action that you want them to.

And for most law firms that we work with, that action is scheduling a consultation. Right?

And that usually comes in the form of a phone call, a chat, or just filling out a form online. All three of those can be tracked pretty well. And speaking of Maddy, you guys do that all the time, right? So you’re taking in intake via chat, right?

So that we see that all the time.

So, that’s a conversion, and in our minds, it’s like somebody who is the closest thing to becoming a client. And now it’s all on the law firm, right, from the marketer to like in a traditional thing.

It could be from marketing to sales. So that’s a conversion, and we want to see 7 to 10% of the people coming to your overall website. Some pages will be the higher conversion that’s different.

But overall, the website we want to see about 7 to 10% is a really good number to get to. As I said, once we start seeing it cross above 10%, I start worrying that we can send more traffic to this website.

Now we’re focusing on the wrong things, right?

MADDY:

Right. So that brings up a really good question.

When you are driving to a website, what Facebook is building now more than ever, and we’re seeing this actually on Google side, too. What Google added into their ads immediate sort of form-fill, and Facebook has added in form fills that pre-populate even with your Facebook information, like your name and email.

And there’s more activity that’s happening within Facebook.

Are you seeing, or are you using that with clients? Are those effective to capture that right there? Are there any downsides to doing that? 

MARK:

People want to stay on Facebook, and I mean, I think Facebook keeps giving options and that, by the way, they’ve brought that out and pulled it back. And brought it out, pulled, back, so that every time there’s like a big privacy concern, Facebook pulls all that stuff away, and then they slowly bring it back out because advertisers want it.

But it works. I mean, people don’t want to leave the platform there.

And especially if you’re on a mobile device, which a significant amount of people are on whether they’re on their iPad or on their phone cruising through Facebook, to leave, to go to another website and fill something in is, it’s almost invasive, it’s "Wait, you took me out of my stream stuff or the stuff I was looking at."

So we recommend using those.

And by the way, you can put call tracking numbers on your Facebook page. So to track that, Facebook forms, you can actually take the extra effort and embed something like a website form into that is like the Facebook forms, and then you’re tracking it as well.

So you get the tracking as well. That’s going to get into the weeds a little bit.

MADDY:

No, I mean, I think we should get into the weeds. I think that there are so many conversations— anyone can have some cookie-cutter conversation, like, the whole point of bringing you in, Mark, is to get into the weeds so that people can actually do things right.

I mean, you guys can give me feedback in the chat if you want us to just talk in generalities.

But I think what’s really interesting is what’s going on with grants, what’s going on with conversion within Facebook, because yeah, I agree with you, the more friction you create, the lower the conversion rate is going to be just by nature. 

SCHEDULING & TRACKING THROUGH GMB

MARK:

Yeah, Google’s the same way. You should be – like, your Google My Business page, you should be taking advantage of if they’re slowly rolling it out, but in some cities and some practice areas, you can actually have people schedule a consultation right from your Google My Business.

You should be taking advantage of that. You should be putting a tracking number on your Google— if you’re using tracking numbers, when I say the tracking number, it's something using a tool like CallRail or something.

We use CallRail internally for all our clients, but there are other tools out there because we use it because I’m saying.

MADDY:

CallRail is great because they also do form tracking.

CallRail form tracking

MARK:

And they tracked back to – they integrated analytics really well. They’re doing Google Analytics. We use it for form tracking as well as to double-check things. 

Yeah. That’s why we like it.

Also, if you do ads, Google Ads, you can track at a keyword level, which is really hard to do, so they’re pretty good.

As I said, but have a call tracking number in your Google My Business as well. You can have your— there’s a whole thing. People are going to say, if you’ve heard other people talk, they say, "Don’t use a tracking number, Google My Business because it’s going to affect your local search rankings and the directory listing connectivity and stuff."

Google My Business will actually allow you to have a few numbers now and make your top one, the tracking number, make your second one, your main name, address, phone number, your local phone number, and that’s a way you can track stuff from Google My Business.

Because people are very surprised how much actually comes direct dial from Google My Business. It never hits your website.

Like two years ago, I was shocked by the number. Now I'm just like used to it. But it was amazing how much Google My Business— because it’s not social media, but it’s something that I think so many people overlook as for supporting branded searches or PR people who already know you are supporting referrals.

So I just mentioned it as an aside there, but speaking of thinking back to Facebook. 

MADDY:

No, no. I think that you make a really good point.

So Facebook, as one example of one channel that you need to track, Google My Businesses is another.

And other any place where you have specific entry points for your business where you may be asking later down the line, “Oh, how did you hear about us?" or "Who referred you?" or "Where was your first sort of introduction to ABC law firm?” or whatever the business people’s memories are imperfect and flawed.

It is more complete to get the data right from the action point where someone’s not self-reporting, and it just comes through that phone number. 

So that makes a ton of sense to me.

One other thing that we’re seeing on Facebook is also the ability to directly book consultations.

From our perspective, we work with clients who want to get right to the consultation and want the transfer. And others who say, “Yeah, We need you to ask these questions first. We have a lot of unqualified leads.”

Maybe if you’re in a newer practice and you are more tolerant and less strict with the consultations that you’ll have or you charge for them. That’s another way of immediately tightening that funnel.

What do you have? Do you have any clients who are using the consultation and calendaring feature within Facebook? Is that useful to firms, as you’ve seen? 

SCHEDULING THROUGH FACEBOOK

MARK:

We’ve been driving people to their method on there, usually on their landing page.

So if they’re having a form and we’re taking advantage of the form inside of Facebook to capture the initial information, the next step would then be to drive them to their website, which I know is not what the user probably wanted to do.

That’s why they use the form inside of Facebook.

But we want to keep it inside of the scheduled consultation practice that we’ve made standard within their website. So I don’t have a good answer.

We haven’t actually used it. I think partly because of what you’re saying, and people want to control that step and not just have anybody suddenly take their calendar.

MADDY:

Yeah.

From what I’ve seen, there are not such robust options for asking questions. You can charge for it. I don’t know if it integrates with LawPay.

Frankly, the reason that we haven’t used it as much at Smith.ai is it doesn’t actually work with all the calendaring solutions.

So we have a very small set. I think it’s like five that are natively integrated into the Facebook calendaring. So, that’s something to keep an eye on and if you’re not already using it, you certainly could be, or the test to see if the quality of leads is as strong. 

Or, one hypothesis is that if people are recommending your firm and those are probably the most qualified leads, they're doing so on Facebook, either formally by asking for recommendations or just anecdotally or in conversations.

They’re going to, then, hopefully, click on the link to your Facebook profile page.

I was just having another conversation before this, that Google and Facebook are basically the portals into your business where they visit your online page first, and then they will call if they need to call it, all before scheduling an appointment.

So let’s talk about paid traffic. What is working? Do you go beyond the newsfeed? Do you go into the Marketplace and Messenger to advertise?

Are they advertising also through Instagram because the platform allows both? What is most effective? And where can we just sort of cut through the noise and get right to the channels that you’re seeing perform best?

PAID TRAFFIC: WHAT'S WORKING & WHAT'S NOT

MARK:

Yeah.

So, what’s working? There are a couple of sides to that. There’s targeted lead gen, and then there’s branding.

So we do both. If you, just say right now, If you do any type of advertising, like a commercial, like TV advertising, and you’ve spent a decent chunk of money to do that. I highly recommend you spend not even a hundred bucks to reach even a bigger audience than your TVs going to reach a target by putting the video on Facebook.

So you put the video on Facebook and then put dollars behind it super-targeted more than just this DMA at this time with this show. But you can be really targeted if you already have that commercial, you have that asset, you paid a lot of money for it, put it up there.

We’re getting, like, the view and like 30 seconds commercials. Right?

So, Facebook has a view and versus a view, through a play through metric, three seconds is their views. So don’t ever use that one.

Don’t ever use that views metric because it’s somebody who’s on their phone and they swipe, and they scroll from the bottom of the top, slowly as they’re skimming, they’ve like three seconds.

MADDY:

They’re false-positive, basically.

MARK:

Yeah.

So, the other one, that gets 15 seconds. And the amount of— and then they’ll even show you like your average playtime. But we’re seeing people watching like 20 to 30 seconds of these commercials. And for like a hundred bucks a month or something, 150 bucks a month, which is costing the same firm, I don’t know, a hundred thousand dollars that month on the TV.

So that’s just an easy, easy win. And it helps really increase the branding, and you can be really targeting exactly who you want to see that. The awesome thing if somebody watches 20 to 30 seconds of that commercial on Facebook, you then can pay more money for an ad that targets those people who watch it for so many seconds.

So that’s a way to take an asset you already have, utilized your branding by hitting a large reach for very cheap dollars and the people who do interact with your ad, then you can spend the money on them to be more targeted with a message, with a call to action kind of message.

So that’s something we’ve done for a lot of personal injury firms that have a lot of investing in a lot of stuff already.

So that’s one quick thing.

The other thing that’s working is just really, honestly, thinking through the targeting— taking advantage of more than just demographics.

First of all, it definitely takes advantage of the demographics because the basic demographics are like where they live. We’ve taken over campaigns. It drives me crazy if we take over campaigns and people have not had even really set the geolocation.

So they’re just running Facebook everywhere. Their ads are just anywhere, and they only budgeted so much. So it added so quickly.

MADDY:

So it burned through the budget so quickly. 

MARK:

Yeah.

The money was done in like a week and, so you can target, but it can be smart about that, not just say your city, maybe it’s certain areas in your city where you really want to target.

Then maybe there are age ranges. So if it doesn’t make sense to ever have somebody who’s under 28 years old see your ad, then cut those out of your thing. Or if it doesn’t make sense for anybody over 50 to see your ad as you can quickly do that.

So that’s just basic demographics. That’s like—

MADDY:

Is it like ever see your ad or ever hire you? Or do you ever just say, "You know what, we’re going to really dial into those clients who we most often work with, not who are possible to work with,"?

But I often wonder, even for Smith.ai, just as a marketer myself, how much can I dial into that really narrow zone? How narrow do I go?

TARGETING

MARK:

Yeah. So that gets into an interest in behavior.

So, demographics, it was just one thing. Right?

And I recommend, like, during your demographics, because you don’t want too wide of an audience, because there’s too much money in, it’s hard to track what’s working, because if you can narrow the audience down, then maybe you can change your ads.

Defining your audience on Facebook

Don’t forget, this is like a visual medium. So you can change your imagery so if you can target an ad for people from like 20 to 35. Or maybe even 20 to 30 like the tranches of demographics from a visual perspective.

You can change who’s in the picture that you’re putting in there if they have the same demographics. Make them look like them.

Okay. So that’s very common. You could even target male versus female that way. Right. And change your imagery. 

MADDY:

What’s your tactic there then? So do you show women, women and men, men, or do you show them men, women, and men, women?

MARK:

Traditionally, I’ll give you what the general marketing data says from years ago, and I don’t have any updates on this.

It’s men like to look at women, and women like to look at women. So men are always screwed. Right? Because like— but that was the traditional marketing thing. That’s why you just— women were all over TV. Right?

Because it was, "Oh," and this is like being very flippant and joking a little bit, but it was, the men are like, “Oh, check that out.” And women are like, “Look at their shoes.”

I don’t think that probably holds up anymore, but I haven’t seen any studies recently. We don’t typically tend to go sex. We tend to try to get more into the next step, which is like interest in behavior. Right?

So you can actually target somebody who’s like a motorcycle enthusiast, and then you can talk about your motorcycle accidents or your motorcycle law issues or things like that. Right? And I have a picture of a motorcycle in there.

You can target people who, let’s say you’re trying to do a community awareness thing, which is a great thing to do on Facebook, to drive awareness and even some traffic to your page, maybe some follows, and then get some additional ability to tag them.

Do something, if you’re doing community awareness, things like the things you’re already probably doing in your community, right?

Like lawyers are great about supporting different whether they’re scholarships or giveaways or certain things that they’re a big sponsor of. 

You can utilize Facebook and you can talk about that, maybe if you’re even trying to just fundraise and you can target people who are known to be big donors or known to be charitable so that there are things like that.

So we’ll target people like that for like scholarship campaigns that we run for clients. Right?

So, there’s a way to target somebody who that. We’ve got a client that’s doing that. Right. Well, I think there’s something else they were doing, like the 3m earplugs, were in the military we have, right. 

MADDY:

Yeah, we saw those campaigns, too.

MARK:

Yeah.

So the 3m earplugs, and you’re able to target somebody who was in the military. Right.

And then we send it a landing page, and we can ask again, "What years were you in the military?" And then quickly, “Oh, if you were in the military during these years," we can let them know, a nice landing page.

"Oh, I’m sorry. You actually don’t qualify”, whatever, but if they do, then we can get them scheduled on.

So now we’re actually cutting down the traffic of somebody dealing on the phone with somebody who isn’t qualified.

So we’ve already used the Facebook ad to already target a certain group on the landing page and helped dwindle that down a little bit. 

MADDY:

So that’s interesting.

One of the things that came up on a Zoom call last night with a group of like women in the legal tech was that someone, who will remain unnamed, had been running Facebook ads through, not your company, another company, and they never installed the Facebook Pixel for her.

So, I wasn’t tracking and unable to retarget any of the traffic that was coming through. 

Because what goes through my mind, in addition to obviously that being a gross negligent way of operating a campaign, are those people who maybe weren’t in that right year range for the military.

Maybe they are still a relevant audience or could be in the future, or you’ll have the opportunity to retarget them or maybe they have family and friends who were in the military that you may want to build a lookalike audience around.

Can you talk a little bit about the technical, like Pixel and building audiences, like those that are converting? 

AUDIENCE BUILDING

MARK:

Yeah.

So two things. One, I’m a big fan of email lists. So, in addition to everything else we’re talking about, always have a way to get somebody on an email list that you start building for your firm.

So all of these things, if somebody is like opting in and puts them on your email list, you can do the upstanding thing and ask, “I’ll give them a check box to check to be on your email list.”

But in America, we’re still not required to do that, so you can take your choice. 

But the reason I say that is because you can also upload over time. You can upload your email list to Facebook and build lookalike audiences there, too. That’s why I was mentioning that important thing. 

MADDY:

Yeah. And if you use MailChimp, actually, you can connect to it, I think immediately, right away.

MARK:

Yeah, and few other benefits of the vendors do that. The thing about audiences.

So, one thing I mentioned, I was talking about this area, this demographic of age or type, and these behaviors. You can actually save that as one audience so that you want to build different audiences and then have different ads to those audiences.

Okay. So that’s an audience. The other type of audience is who are people that look like this type of person. And when I say person, it’s not somebody that you’ve got a scalpel out and narrow down and built your own audience, like the custom audience.

Here is a group of people. “Hey, Facebook, figure out what you think similar to them and go market to that.” And then you can say within this lookalike audience, but only within this region or this area.

So you can still do some demographics within a lookalike. And the reason for lookalike is when I talked about doing those branded ads. Right. 

So let’s say you have a video, or you just want to do your own video. It doesn’t have to be because you had a commercial. You do a video. You just do some, maybe whatever you did, a billboard or a print ad, take that same ad and just spend some simple money, reaching a wide group of people.

And then the people who engage with that ad maybe go to your Facebook page or click on something.

Then Facebook says, “Oh, they engage with you.”

However, you define engagement, there are different ways to engage.

So you can say they engage with you. Then you can say all the people who engage with me from January through March build an audience that’s very similar and that’s like the lookalike audience.

MADDY:

Everyone who signs up for my email list or everyone who clicks to book a consultation or whatever.

MARK:

You can do it on your website. If you put your Pixel on your website, or you could just do it with how they engage within the Facebook ad platform so, you’re on your page, too. You get to anybody who likes my page, but it looked like an audience form.

So you can do a whole bunch of, and again, you can think about that lookalike audience and say, “Well, what would be a really good thing to send them?”

If it’s a lookalike audience that looks just like my big email list, then, maybe that’s a higher up in the funnel type of brand ad, or just here’s a helpful guide or checklist for things that are important to people that you know who is on your email list.

So it’s not like, “Hey, schedule a consultation with that group.” Right?

But for people who— so if look like audiences tends to be slightly higher in the funnel, and then you can use that behavior to work them down. So if they watch your ad, great, let’s move them down a level. If they downloaded your guide or your checklist, let’s move them down a level.

And the next thing we need to say is, “Hey, I’m here to help. Here’s how you get ahold of me,” whether it’s phone consultation, whatever. So work them down, too.

Don’t lead with, “Hi, we’re here to help book a consultation,” right? Yeah. I mean, it’s still social media. You wouldn’t walk into a networking event.

That’s why I always try to say, "Think of Facebook as just a big networking event."

It’s also one of the reasons I say don’t just take your blog content and throw it on Facebook. And say, “I check the social media box.”

Because you wouldn’t walk into a networking event with your PDFs in hand and say, “Hey, look at my new blog. Hey, look at my new blog here. Look at my new blog.” Right.

So it’s engagement first like talking about the weather, talk about what they’re interested in like. So you could if you’re doing something in your town and sports are really big on that right now. Right. 

But if sports were big about something, you can run an ad, talking about how you supported this charity associated with the sports team or something that’s getting a little bit of an interest in something that they care about and work your way down. Right.

It’s similar to us starting out by saying, “Hey, you know, how'd the reds do yesterday?" in a networking event.

MADDY:

Participate, don’t just self-promote, right?

I mean, I think that’s one of the things that we see.

Also, you’ll be most, just top of mind when you participate in those conversations.

So I wanted to ask you also when people are making recommendations, and obviously, businesses get recommended all the time, when you’re doing your targeting, are you ever also targeting your network to your referral sources, too? 

If I’m a personal injury attorney, am I building content and even paying for ads to reach the chiropractic who are in my network or medical providers or anyone who I’m building or have built relationships with? How do you approach that to sort of, say, top of mind with that audience outside of maybe a Facebook group? 

REFERRALS

MARK:

Yeah. So that would be, to me, the organic side of things.

You could do paid ads. I just think you can get so much more by being real, just like in the thing is this does take effort, right?

So it takes actually trying to build a relationship to ask for a referral, just like it should, to be honest, right. It shouldn’t be, ”Hey, you saw my ad. Now send traffic to me. Send your dear, close, guarded clients to me because you saw a Facebook ad, right?” 

You still need to, I think, build that relationship.

Now you can get some brand awareness and start the conversation by, did they download my, like there’s a really good checklist type thing that would be perfect for a certain audience. They said like the chiropractor, like maybe marriage counselors, or it’s like there’s a bunch of areas where you could provide something.

Maybe you could run an ad about that and then know that “Hey, these the ad is really targeted more to like my page,” and then you can engage people that way. But I’m big on organic, and there are two big ways to do it.

One is get involved in groups, and one of the faults I see a lot, and me included, because Maddy, we’re in a bunch of these groups where we tend to hang out with people who are like us, not who are like my clients or like my referral partners. Right?

So, on Facebook, if you still do that because you’re there for that reason too, but look for people that are like your referral partners, or it may be not like your clients.

I think this is really well for the referral partners. You look for people who are like your referral partners, and spend some time in their groups, spend some time engaging.

LinkedIn’s a great place for this in terms of looking for those people and engaging one-on-one. And just saying, “Hey, want to connect? Here’s what I like. Here’s what I’d like to do here, what I’d like to do," to help to build that kind of structure and foundation allows you to kind of build the credibility.

So that somebody thinks of you when they have that client that fits, just like you would build a referral in a face-to-face setting.

I haven’t for clients built, like checklists and targeted referral partners. We’ve been very organic about it.

We’ve just coached and consulted with our clients and say, this is what we think you need to be doing. 

The other side of it is the other thing that works really well is being an interviewer.

So just like you, Maddy brings me on here. There are some people that are possibly it looks like people are law firms, I work at law firms. She’s like, “Hey, let me interview you in front of this group. I love it.” So I’m like, Maddy just elevated in my mind.

Right. It’s, “Oh, I’m going to think of chat,” and I’m going to say, “Oh, they should use like Maddy’s company.” She invited my interview and put me in front of a group of people that I thought would be valuable. Right?

I mean, I also love to get in front of people and talk all day.

BUILDING YOUR NETWORK & ORGANIC CREDIBILITY

MADDY:

So that helps me talk about this stuff anyway. 

MARK:

But we’ve had a lot of clients who are very successful at just interviewing people around town about all kinds of things and not just about something that’s specific to legal, but just about the community.

So if you open your balance outside of like legal, then people start to get to know you as a person in the town who does legal and then maybe you can slowly work into like this type of law.

But it’s not a bad thing to have a referral come to you and say, “Hey, do you help with these types of people?” No, but I know somebody who does, and now you got benefit for sending her. All right. 

MADDY:

There’s only one way to learn, and that builds your network, too.

MARK:

So, I don’t know if I told you this, Maddy, it was like the best advice I ever got from a client who was, if you do these interviews and you can just do Facebook lives, right? You do Facebook lives, record them and save them and put them up there.

And they’re just like once a week, once every other week just have somebody from the community, but he had the weatherman on, he interviewed the weatherman on Facebook live.

You don’t think about it, but who in your town probably has the most followers on Facebook and Twitter, and Instagram. Everybody follows the weatherman. Right?

They want to know what’s going on in the weather. And if there’s ever a storm or some crazy thing that everybody goes and starts following the weatherman.

So they just keep growing. But nobody ever interviews the weatherman. 

MADDY:

I mean, that could actually be potentially relevant, too.

MARK:

Yeah. But nobody ever interviews them.

So I’m going to be the weatherman, the weatherman, so excited or the weather. And they’re so excited and they, tweet out or send out on their Facebook, “I’m so excited. I got interviewed by Christopher Good here on his Facebook live show. If you ever need legal help, you should go check them out.”

Example of a Facebook Live from Mark Homer's page

Like, you didn’t ask for that. They just are so excited.

Interview restaurant owners, interview teachers, or sports coaches have like a team that like does well in high school, whatever. Because everybody’s always around high school, you’re hitting a whole bunch of parents that way, people share that stuff.

And now you’re building organic credibility, so if you build some organic credibility on Facebook. By just doing, as I said, interviews with people around town.

Then right now, when you do an organic post, that’s about, “Hey, I have this checklist, or I have this new blog post,” or whatever that gets us significantly more amount of visibility than when all you were doing ever was posting, which is fine.

MADDY:

You’re training people to pay attention to you as someone who provides interesting content. And then when you have something that’s promotional, then they’re still paying attention to you.

Yeah. That’s really interesting just in terms of building trust around you, not just having self-promotional content.

But I think there’s also to get back to COVID for a moment where we are right now, there is just minimal bandwidth, right? So when people are going online and looking for something light and entertaining, on something maybe to take their mind off of things. It’s not always like they’re hunting for an attorney. 

How do you capture some of that attention, but in a professional way?

I’ve been seeing a lot of questions around or actually a lot of advice from others who advise attorneys to say, “Oh, be really real and share your personal stories and be like, anybody else, just a human. You happen to also have a law firm, and people are familiar with you.”

To what extent do you advise your clients to be that informal? Is there value in that? I mean, we think about the opportunity cost of time. Is that something that you advise people to spend their time doing?  And if yes or no, why? 

MARK:

Yeah.

So I think, right now, there’s a whole of people kind of like bring their head up. I saw somebody who was in criminal and DUI defense. Right. So that’s one of the areas that’s been just decimated in terms of traffic and lead flow in our statistics.

So, I mean, hopefully, Steve, you’re not hitting it harder, some of our clients, but it’s tough, right?

MADDY:

Yeah. Terrible. 

MARK:

Right.

And so people won’t like, “Hey, what do I do right now to get the phones ringing?” Well, if people aren’t, I mean— was it Miami, Florida, or something said they had seven straight days of like no crime, no murders or something like that? It was something weird.

It’s like the first time ever like there’s literally, literally, crime is significantly down.

MADDY:

Then we’re all walking into banks with masks on our faces. 

MARK:

So that is really funny. I will use that in the future. Thank you.

So, yeah, there’s nothing there. So I’m telling people, "Use this time now to build a foundation that you can leverage later."

So if you have some time, spend time billings network, spend time maybe, “Hey, can I pull you on to talk about this type of like do a Facebook live interview or something like that.” And yes, people hire people.

I’m a big believer that people don’t care about your Facebook law firm page. They care about your Facebook profile. People don’t care about your attorney or your law firm website. They care about your attorney profile page. 

Your homepage is always the most traffic most visited thing because that’s where everybody sends people.

The second most visited page on every law firm website, if it’s done right, is your attorney profile. People want, and people hire people. That’s where they want to know. LinkedIn company pages are crap, right?

Everybody connects to LinkedIn profiles. 

MADDY:

So, what are the questions also?

So LinkedIn and Facebook, we see one is like a business, and obviously, there are people on Facebook who run businesses.

So if you’re a B2B attorney, right, if you’re doing trademark employment, like in any sort of GC, or IP, whatever the case may be contracts, which are definitely being reviewed right now for any force majority and things like that. How do you reach businesses on Facebook sort of systematically? 

Because I think that’s one of the areas where I was told a couple of years ago by someone who was pretty high up in the Facebook ads program, that the B2B data that is pulled into the business data, assigning, and even the emails alone.

If you have an email list of business emails, they may actually not match up to their Facebook email. So there may be a lot of gaps in missing data there. How do the B2B attorneys reach their target audience on Facebook outside of LinkedIn? 

PROMOTING YOUR LAW FIRM ONLINE

MARK:

Yeah. So, good question.

I agree that it’s the people who hire people still. So if you lead with, “Here’s who I am as a person. Here’s what I do in the community. Here’s what, and by the way, I happened to be a lawyer.” You’re going to pick up people, right?

So if you coach little league, guess what? There’s a bunch of other business owners or executives who’ve to make decisions who probably coach little league. Right.

I’m also a big believer that pick one platform and start with it.

Don’t try to be everywhere.

It is like don’t look at people like Mark, me and Maddy, and stuff and say, “Oh, I need to be there everywhere. I need to be everywhere.” I spend way too much time there, but I also have some people who’ve probably helped me do that. Right.

So like, “Oh, I really focus on this.” But then, when I post stuff, some people take that in, they’ll put it on Twitter, or they’ll put it in other places. Right. 

MADDY:

So what did you find people that do that, by the way? How do you find people? Do you know?

Like, so you’re doing that. And that’s rolled into your services.

So let’s say that someone is like really lower budgets right now. They’ve reduced their budgets to accommodate the maybe lower business flow, if you want to keep your social media going. You’re homeschooling your kids, and you’re taking care of an elderly parent.

Like how do you possibly have time to get work done and do Facebook? Like, are there any really like, sort of, outsource sideline resources?

You go to Upwork. If you were going to advise a client and you’re saying, “Look, if you have this much money, you should be spending this with GNG after your Google ads. And like, I’m going to give you this other resource to do something with your Facebook.” I mean, what would you recommend?

OUTSOURCED HELP

MARK:

Right. So, again, I think it’s picking one that you’re going to be heavily engaging on.  

And start there, like, you can get to the point where you’re kind of like you got some stuff feeling good. You can get in and out of Facebook pretty well, or whatever you have maybe started LinkedIn, and then you can pick up another one.

But in terms of engagement, then yeah, you can. And then you’re actual, like posts that you are planning out and like saying, “Okay, I want this post to be about my firm. I want this post to be about this community thing.”

We also plan those out for the month and then review those each week.

Do you guys do something similar? Right.

So like think of your editorial calendar. And then that’s where if I’m building the editorial calendar and looking through that with mine.

I’m a VA. Right. So I didn’t even like I could hire I could bring somebody full time and staff as a marketer to help me with that. I don’t need that. I just need this kind of stuff about Mark and GandJeff.

And so I use the VA, and they’re actually in the Philippines, so the right time to get there, but it’s still on me to do some of that upfront planning, and then they’re on execution.

And then if somebody is like starts engaging pretty heavy, and I don’t see it, they’ll kind of let me know. 

MADDY:

Right. Okay.

Yeah. That’s nice to have that just put out all your fires because maybe not their fires, but let’s say that someone’s heard of becomes a troll or something like that you’re alerted.

You’re not totally hands-off, and you’re also not just throwing them into the deep end.

There’s some training that’s required for anyone who is representing your firm. Right.

So really quickly, we did promise to talk about Facebook grants. Obviously, Google is also doing grants, but the parameters around them are not always as appealing as someone may hope.

I know with Google, for example, that it’s on future ads banned and it has a limit and when it can be used. And you have to the history of paying Google for ads. Can you talk a little bit about Facebook and what they’re doing with their ads?

Are you having any clients who are using them?

FACEBOOK GRANTS

MARK:

There was a page, and I wish I might’ve been able to find it before we’re done.

So there’s a page that you can go and you can put in your zip code and then, or maybe it’s just a drop-down now. I think it’s actually limited down to a drop-down, and you look, once you’re in, say you’re in the US, it’ll say, “Here are the cities where you qualify.”

MADDY:

But ten cities are on there. It’s not much. But Buffalo is not on there, and I immediately put it off.

MARK:

It’s based on, I think, something about like your Facebook ad offices is something.

I don’t know if there’s a range, but because I don’t think I try to map it. I don’t think it’s mapped to like hard-hit cities or anything weird.

MADDY:

They have Atlanta.

MARK:

We’re Tennessee or something like that. 

MADDY:

Yeah. It’s quite random.

MARK:

So, our account managers are reaching out to clients and saying, "Hey, if we’ve got—" I think there were two cities where we had three clients, and so they’re reaching out to them and saying. “Hey, do you want us to try this?”

But it was an application early on, and then they switched it to this like list of cities. So, that quickly reduced the ability to go after it. Right?

So we’ve only got so many clients in those cities. So if you’re not one of those cities, I think Chicago is one, by the way.

MADDY:

I think Chicago is, but Buffalo is not. I remember seeing that.

MARK:

I think I saw— I was at Steven that was in Chicago. Somebody was in Chicago right here. And sort of in Chicago, so it’s near and dear to my heart. I love Chicago. 

MADDY:

Alright. So I just posted the link in the chat. 

MARK:

I don’t have enough experience to say we did this for a client in it, Maddy.

Unfortunately, I think it’s still too new, but if, as soon as I do, I’ll let you know. 

MADDY:

So are there any sort of ethical considerations just on Facebook, and then we’ll start wrapping up, where maybe it’s relevant to COVID or maybe just relevant generally around what you can do or what the bar associations are?

I mean, because obviously a different state in many cases, but would the general provisions are for considering Facebook compared to other channels or your website and testimonials and all those things that go into building a good presence on social?

ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS IN CHOOSING A PLATFORM

MARK:

So ethics first. On that, so of course, the first disclaimer, right, it depends on your state, so check with your state bar.

But in general, what I tell people is, if you are on the organic side and engaging as a person and not as a law firm and not out there, just like broadcasting all your success in this, like positioning yourself as look at this case, "I won. Look at that case I won," and end up, you cross into like maybe details of stuff, if you’re just out there as a person and engaging, "I happened to be a law firm owner in our community, and here’s what I do in the community. And here’s who I am as a person," there are no ethical issues.

Right? Because there’s nothing to really go over.

It’s when you start advertising— when you advertise, then depending on your state. It essentially follows the advertising rules. Right? So, depending on your state, most states it’s kind of following the ad rules as they treat it like a website, like your Facebook page, like a website.

If you’re advertising to your Facebook page, if your state requires you to keep copies of your ad, then I always recommend a screenshot, when you run an ad and have it off the side, I don’t think many bars require you to send ads in anymore.   

MADDY:

Fewer revisions have to be approved, and that’s actually a revenue source for them.

MARK:

Texas still requires approvals of websites all the time, and they cash those checks.

But, I know a lot of our people, I think they’re not overly funded either, so they probably need those checks.

MADDY:

Right. It’s just what counts as a revision. 

MARK:

It’s a blog post. Is that a revision? So, the ads follow the ad rules. So, you can’t— the big things, right?

So there are rules, there are specific professional ethics rules out there. And I speak on them all the time because I have to do that at bar associations, but the big picture, my hand wave is, these are marketing advertising rules, and unless you misrepresent something to an underserved population, to a population, that’s at risk.

The most you’re going to get like a, “Hey, don’t do it that way next time.”

Right? If you misrepresent and that actually like, taking advantage of somebody who doesn’t understand something or maybe get my money that’s most people aren’t going to do that. Right.

I mean, people who are going to do that don’t care what I’m saying right now, anyway. So like the ethics rules, if you mess in a trust fund and that kind of stuff, I mean, that’s where you mess with people’s money and cost them money.

That’s when you get that marketing rules. Yes. Like, follow them.

But a lot of times, it’s just, “Hey, don’t like to advertise that you do something that you don’t.”  The rules are pretty basic.

Like when I put them up there, it’s always like, "Okay, this is obvious, but don’t pay for reviews, really. Why do I pay for reviews?"

Some people will give like a gift card in order for review, and that’s actually a monetary exchange. And like, there’s a lot of marketing blogs that say do that. So don’t do that.

But for the most part, Facebook ad rules are pretty straightforward.

I always say like on the organic side, don’t be scared of social media. Just be yourself. And there are no ethics issues at all. 

MADDY:

Yeah, no, that’s really great advice, and all your advice is great, Mark.

CONCLUSION

Thank you so much for joining us today.

I also wanted to emphasize that, obviously, both of our companies are fully operational right now and operating remotely.

I’m really so grateful that Smith.ai was a remote-first company. All of our receptionists and our chat agents, and people who were answering Facebook messages are working safely from home. There was a half.

So that has positioned us really well to just not have to worry about our internal operations. And to be on the front lines for firms who are getting traffic and who are actually engaging with leads that were doing that on their behalf on Facebook.

We know that’s really important is that these text-based channels, obviously, in addition to the phone. It’s really important to be responsive.

But I think underlying this conversation around Facebook is just the importance of understanding responsiveness is not just a function of speed, but also have content and channel. And I talk about this really often.

You can be very responsive on the phone, but if someone is trying hard to text, or send a Facebook message, or chat on your website, or reach you, it’s important that you understand that their experience, and maybe that’s the only channel that they’re comfortable with or able to silently message you.

Because they could be, especially now in these times, at home with someone who they don’t want to hear about contacting a law firm, it could be a private sensitive matter that the kids or parents or spouse, like should not overhear, or they’re not comfortable with that.

So that is something that I think is really an important factor here as we see things shift in the screen time increase in proximity shrink.

It’s really important that we offer those channels that someone who knows to call or has the ability to call and is comfortable calling and speaking rather than sort of typing, which a lot of people will divulge more information, which then allows you to better qualify them.

That’s really where we see the trend going. So if you’re running these campaigns, it is essential that you tie up the end of that funnel with a fast response and an informed response

If Mark is sending for his clients’ traffic to a website to increase conversions that you have people who can answer the questions who have the ability to screen leads before a consult is scheduled.

When you are giving up time with your family or time spent on other work, or just run ragged because your days are so long, that if you have a consultation, it’s a meaningful, valuable use of your time.

That’s really what we’re focused on right now. So if we can be of service, and you’re not an existing client. Then we do have the offer SmithCOVID-19, which will give you another 20 calls and 20 chats free with your first month.

We’re doing free CRM integrations with every paid plan now. We didn’t use to, and that’s something that we’ve added in addition to obviously the 24/7 chatbot

Now, if you’re a current client, because I know some of you are, we have the $25 a month, regular account credit and we also have a $200 Amazon gift card in gratitude for any referrals that you send. They’ll also obviously be able to take advantage of that offer.

So, now is the time to reach out to people who may need help and not know where to find it. You can contact me directly.

You can set up a free consultation through our website. You can just go on Calendly and direct people there and tell them that you sent them. And they can mention that offer, and they can also mention your name, so you get credit for it too. 

So, Mark, I think that you wanted to share how to get access to your book. Obviously, you put it in chat. What’s in there and, how can they get a free copy? 

MARK:

It’s almost like I’m grabbing off the virtual bookshelf back here. 

MADDY:

Yeah, something like that. 

MARK:

So yeah, it’s 300 pages of awesome information, full color. So a lot of pretty pictures.

We start from general marketing strategy and then get down to specific tactics, between protect your referrals and growing leads, tracking. And it tends to be strategy and tactics.

And then, the specific “How-tos.” We either have some guides that we linked to because, strangely enough, Facebook changes their way to do things every once in a while, or Google does.

So, we bought 300 books, and they’re giving them away during the COVID crisis to anybody that thinks they can help and has a little time to get through it. I’m so happy to send that your way. 

MADDY:

Wonderful.

Well, thank you all for joining us today. We do have a couple of minutes for questions if you have them, otherwise, we will give you a couple of minutes back in your day. Go stretch, take a walk, stretch your legs, stand up. Do whatever keeps you healthy right now.

And, I know I’m going to go get a breath of fresh air because I’ve been trapped inside all day. And then I’m going to go work on painting cabinets at my house.

So Mark, thank you for joining us. 

MARK:

Good seeing you. Thanks, everybody. 

MADDY:

Wonderful. Thanks, everyone. Take care.

Questions? Contact Us.

Have any questions about Smith.ai's virtual receptionists services or anything else mentioned in this webinar? Call us at (650) 727-6484 or email us at support@smith.ai.

If you’d like to learn more about how Smith.ai’s virtual receptionists can help your business, sign up for a free consultation with our team or get started risk-free with our 14-day money-back guarantee!

To watch more webinars like this one, check out our YouTube channel or access articles, guest blog posts, and other resources on the Smith.ai blog.

Elizabeth Lockwood

Elizabeth Lockwood is the content marketing associate at Smith.ai. She focuses specifically on writing and editing engaging articles, blog posts, and other forms of publication.

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