By John Zaher
In 2013, Facebook introduced Graph Search, a feature that combines characteristics of a search engine with an individual’s social network for personalized search results. With dual emphasis on online searching and social networking, Graph Search presents an opportunity for law firms to improve their social media strategies and better understand their target audience, while increasing visibility and attracting new clients.
Finding Your Clients
Unlike a regular search engine, Facebook Graph Search gives firms valuable insights into their target audience’s demographic information and interests. Facebook offers criteria to narrow down results from its one billion users to the specific audience your firm will target. For instance, a traffic lawyer in New York City can search specifically for “People in New York City who like cars,” or an immigration law firm can search for “People in Connecticut who are from Costa Rica.” The results can also reveal characteristics about a client base (Do more men or women like cars? Are most people in Connecticut who are from Costa Rica younger or older?), which your firm can use to tailor services and marketing strategies to a target market.
Furthermore, if your firm’s page has many comments and likes, you can search within your own network to find which clients have been most actively engaged with your services through social media. Such information can help your business determine how to best engage existing and potential clients through Facebook.
Let Your Clients Find You
Graph Search also enables potential clients learn more about you. When a business appears in Graph Search, the search entry offers a paragraph of information, which includes the user’s friends who “liked” the business. This feature increases awareness of your firm and can help you build trust with prospective clients by leveraging their friends as professional references.
Most importantly, Graph Search provides word-of-mouth marketing, augmenting Facebook’s importance as a marketing tool. If a client is searching for a personal injury law firm in New York City, he could type a general search into Google and find 59,900,000 results. But with Graph Search, he can use Facebook to search for “Personal Injury Law Firms in New York City my friends like” and receive a personalized list based on Facebook pages for law firms that his friends have “liked.” By increasing the search rankings and visibility of your company, Graph Search increases the value of each “like” your firm receives.
In mid-April, Facebook began testing ads in the results for Graph Search, and currently, only a limited number of companies have been given the opportunity to advertise with Sponsored Results ads. We expect Facebook will soon expand to allow more companies to advertise and shortly thereafter will introduce targeted ads related to specific search queries (similar to how Google Ads works).
By combining the convenience of a Google Search with the trust of friends’ recommendations, Graph Search has the potential to become a strong marketing tool for any law firm. To maximize the potential of Graph Search, you may need to rethink your current Facebook strategy (or create one). We recommend that you post new content often, have more conversations with your followers, and use the Search Results to better understand the effectiveness of your current strategies. Adapt your marketing strategies and products/services to entice your target clients, by utilizing the data that Facebook is now making available.
For help optimizing your current social media strategy, reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn— or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss setting up social media pages and creating an effective social media strategy that is tailored to your law firm.