Many attorneys already use Facebook, but that doesn't necessarily mean they all know how to maximize the benefit of Facebook for lawyers.
That's the idea behind the new book from the American Bar Association's Law Practice Management Section, entitled "Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers." Even if you're already a Facebook user, this book does an excellent job of showing ways of taking advantage of the social network that you may not have thought about before.
Still not sure if it's worth it? We've put together a list of tips gleaned from the book so you can see for yourself. For example:
Consider your audience. In some practice areas, your client base will include people who use Facebook. But if your clients are generally not tech-savvy or don't embrace this social tool, then you may not find many clients on Facebook. That doesn't mean you can't use it to your advantage, but it is good to consider your audience when making a page.
Create a personal page. Many attorneys rush to set up a page for their office and that's a good idea, but this book reminds readers that personal pages can be a powerful tool too. People are more likely to recommend attorneys they know and trust. That also means those people are more likely to come to you when a legal issue comes up. Connecting on Facebook gives you another way to show that you're that kind of trustworthy person.
Encourage interaction. Connect with people online and encourage them to keep the relationship going. Post questions or surveys on your profile and upload pictures when you have them. Photos that aren't law-related may seem like a strange fit, but they show that you are a real person. Just avoid the ones of you tossing back drinks at the bar or acting goofy at your best friend's bachelor party.
Check the fine print. There's a whole chapter on how to manage the privacy and security settings on Facebook, which highlights how important it is to read the fine print. Those policies change often and they can be hard to maneuver. Take the time to read them thoroughly so you know how your profile is used and shared.
Beware of ethical breaches. Facebook can seem like a small community if you carefully curate your friends list, but never forget that the Internet is a public space. Before you post anything, consider what kinds of legal advertising and interactions are permitted in your jurisdiction. Then make sure what you say online stays within the rules.
Once you have a Facebook page, you may also want to take advantage of Google+ and other social media as well. FindLaw's Lawyer Marketing experts can help you integrate all of these websites into your practice, especially if you're pressed for time.