Our law firm clients are enjoying success in connecting with new people now that the algorithms on Facebook allow for greater outreach using the “boost post” feature. We should all be mindful, however, that there are distinct differences between Facebook marketing and advertising. The way we boost our posts can attract new people (positive engagement) or be blocked through the viewer telling Facebook they do not wish to see your ads (negative engagement). Paying attention to consumer psychology and showing you care about how the public might react to your content is a key to legal marketing success.

Marketing and advertising are mutually exclusive concepts, online and offline.

When Facebook went public, the social media marketing and advertising world quickly paid attention. We used to earn the same Facebook newsfeed traffic on our business pages, as we do with our personal pages. Today, it is harder to get noticed without positive engagement and boosted posts.

The buy-in to boost, paying cost-effective dollar amounts to convert your post to an advertisement, is easy when one can reach a targeted audience of hundreds or thousands for the price most lawyers pay for a business lunch. The challenge is learning what content to boost, and when to do so. Facebook makes it easy, allowing you to target your boosted content to specific ages and demographics.

The key is remembering that a boosted post, paid by money, shows up as a sponsored advertisement. Write your titles and structure your boosted content so that it appears as an advertisement, not your daily Facebook post which is structured as marketing and public relations material. Being straightforward with your message, so people understand it is an advertisement, is a best practice.

Earn positive engagements through honest advertising; it is all in the title.

Boosted content can be a post advertising the firm to attract more “Likes,” it could also be a podcast or blog article to which you want to call attention and encourage clicks to access the content on your website. The difference is all in the title and frame of the content.

We were taught to write catchy headlines, encouraging people to click on the content appearing in their newsfeed. This is a perfect example of law firm marketing, offering useful information and resources to the public and the friends and colleagues who generate referrals. Continue in this practice for your marketing, but not your advertising. Remember, the moment you monetize those posts, they become ads. Go ahead and boost an advertisement to earn more Likes and you have a better chance of more people engaging with your unpaid posts to reach a greater audience.

Keep in mind your state bar rules on law firm advertising and marketing. For example, here in the State of Texas, sponsored material may be characterized as advertising, which may trigger a duty to file the same with the state. When this is the case, some might chose a sponsored advertisement for the purpose of increasing the number of likes on the page so more people engage with you and find your traditional marketing (or information/resources) content. Be aware of the rules in your jurisdiction.

People love to buy but they hate people selling to them, boost accordingly.

Nobody likes being tricked in his or her search engine results or on their social media feeds. When you expect to see content from people you know, like and trust, a sponsored message can be seen as intrusive and annoying. This makes it even more important to write your content and titles clearly, so people see them as advertising. Being open and honest about what you are doing online is easy and important.

Being subtle and respectful in your content marketing and advertising is well received by social media users. While we do not get the opportunity to jump inside the minds of the people in our marketing and advertising spectrum; we all have likely seen and evaluated social media content, as positive or negative, in a split second. When in doubt, ask if anyone out there is going to like or care about what you are posting. Does it add value to others? Is it something they can benefit others by sharing or liking it on their page? Too boost or not to boost is a compelling subject that requires some skill and practice.

By Nick Augustine, J.D.

PR & Marketing Director

About Us: Lone Star Content Marketing manages law firm advertising, marketing and public relations. Call us at (940) 498-2863 or email nick@lonestarcontentmarketing.com for more information. We have plenty of articles and resources on our website and you can follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.