You’ve been posting on Facebook regularly. You’ve been creating interesting, engaging content for your law firm. You’ve been sharing and promoting that content while being increasingly more active in your community—liking and sharing with non-profits you support. You’ve even hired social media experts to guide you. You admired your growing list of Facebook followers and thought, “We’ve got this social media thing!”
Then suddenly something went wrong. Your posts are losing impact. You’ve stopped getting engagements from your followers. Your reach on Facebook is declining. What the heck is going on?
Don’t worry. It’s not you. It’s Facebook. The social media network recently made an update on how it determines which articles show in a user’s news feed. The change is meant to give more weight to high-quality content that comes from news sites and other sites outside of Facebook.
Facebook Changes The Game
You can read Facebook’s own blog entry about it. Facebook said of the change, “Our surveys show that on average people prefer links to high quality articles about current events, their favorite sports team or shared interests….we’ll be doing a better job of distinguishing between a high quality article on a website versus a meme photo…this means that high quality articles you or others read may show up a bit more prominently in your News Feed, and meme photos may show up a bit less prominently.”
So why is that a big deal? It means the reach and frequency of your branding on Facebook just got a lot smaller. Status updates, photos and other personalized updates will appear less frequently in the news feed. It’s now harder to reach consumers through organic posts.
This isn’t just a theory about what will happen. It’s already happening. According to an article in Ad Age, Facebook sent out a sales deck in December that plainly stated “expect organic distribution of an individual page’s post to decline.”
The decline is already being documented. Ignite Social Media surveyed almost 700 posts across 20+ brand pages and documented a decrease of 45% on average of organic reach from those posts. One page had a decline of 88%.
That’s a major drop in organic reach and has huge implications on how law firms incorporate Facebook in their marketing mix.
You’ve invested a lot of time, energy, effort and money into establishing your firm’s presence on Facebook. You were gaining followers, increasing your reach and feeling good about your social media strategy.
Suddenly though, it feels like Facebook is sticking it to you. You’re not sure you like what’s happening or if you want to spend money on Facebook. But you also don’t’ want your competitors to leave you in the dust. What do you do?
First, pull up Facebook on your computer screen. Second, really focus on that Facebook logo. Third, yell and scream at the top of your lungs, “THIS ISN”T FAIR!!!!!!!!”
Once that’s out of the way, we can get down to the serious business of making sure you still utilize this valuable marketing channel.
Abandoning Facebook is not the answer. Social media should be an integral part of your marketing mix and Facebook remains one of the pillars of social media marketing.
Don’t Throw In The Towel (You’re Competitors Won’t)
Facebook currently has over 1 billion (that’s BILLION) active users. Your target audience is using Facebook. You need a presence there. The ability to interact with and build a relationship with potential clients is huge. Your competitor’s know that. They’re secretly hoping these changes make you abandon your social media strategy so they can gain market share.
An effective social media strategy takes effort and commitment. Increasingly, it also takes money. But it’s worth the investment.
Try Something New
The expert social media team at cj Advertising live and breathe Facebook marketing exclusively for law firms. They stay up-to-date with the latest developments on social media platforms so they can better advise clients. It only took a little arm-twisting (and the promise of countless new business leads generated from this blog post) to get them to offer up some concrete tips to counteract the recent Facebook changes.
Facebook posts with photos gain more traction. To counteract the loss of organic reach, you’re going to have to work even harder at creating compelling content. Follow these tips for better fan engagement:
Tip 1: Include multiple photos in your posts. Facebook only recently announced that business pages can add multiple images in a post. More photos mean more engagement from followers. That means your organic posts will still be seen.
Tip 2: Story Bumping. Say what? Facebook made a change last summer that let’s older stories resurface in user’s newsfeeds if the story is still active and being talked about. This gives you the opportunity to go back and reply to older posts. You can also link back to a post from a new post.
Tip 3: Lay off the meme posts and strong/excessive calls to action. A recent article on the Moz website notes that posts with strong or excessive calls to action saw significant decrease in their organic reach. That means Facebook was showing those posts or updates less. Sites with compelling original content that rarely asked for engagement saw increased reach.
Win By Utilizing Facebook’s Ad Platform
Yep. It always comes back to the $$$. Facebook’s changes are geared at pushing businesses to an ad platform in order to effectively engage with and convert with prospective consumers/clients. Just as paid search supports organic search efforts, paid social media ads should supplement your organic social media strategy.
By utilizing paid social campaigns and effectively optimizing your organic posts, you’ll be able to fully realize the enormous potential Facebook offers you to engage with your clients in a meaningful way. When you do that, guess who they’ll be calling the next time the need a lawyer?
Start Small, Grow Big
We recommend starting with a budget between $5-$17 per day. On the low end that’s about $150 per month and on the high-end that’s right around $500 per month. Start on the lower end and then increase your daily spend amount as you identify better performing ads. Reach out if you need help setting up your campaign.*
The great thing about social ads is they can be changed quickly. You can increase or decrease budget based on results. A paid social option gives you control and predictability on your branding and messaging. Facebook offers a growing number of solutions, from ads to promoted posts/pages, that can help you grow your business online.
We’ve seen tremendous success with well-thought out, strategic use of Facebook ads. They can be optimized for branding or conversion. The engagement and affordability factors are really compelling with Facebook advertising, especially in comparison to traditional media (like television or radio).
Reach out to your Interactive Account Services Manager or your CJ Social Media contact if you have any questions about these recent Facebook changes. It’s time to start leveraging Facebook’s ad platform to stay competitive in the social media arena.
Interested in social media for lawyers? Make sure to read: A Series of Social Lies: Part One.
*cj Advertising specializes in marketing for personal injury lawyers, including social media strategy and campaign management. If you’d like help with your social media needs contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.