Facebook law firmsSocial media is an excellent way for lawyers and law firms to engage with their target audience and enhance their reputation — if used effectively.

Facebook, though having taken a few hits with its IPO, remains the single biggest social network – for both younger and older Americans. As such, Facebook remains an untapped resource for lawyers and law firms. Facebook is widely misunderstood as well.

As I discussed in a recent post, many firms measure social media success on Facebook and other social networks by the number of followers or fans they have. Bad move. Law firms ought to focus on how they can boost engagement and conversation.

A recent study from Napkin Labs, a Facebook app developer that works with brands and agencies, demonstrates that brands which flaunt the number of fans they have on Facebook really have nothing to brag about. On average, just 6% of fans engage with a brand’s Facebook Page via likes, comments, polls and other means.

Seth Fiegerman (@sfiegerman), a Business Reporter at Mashable commenting on the study, suggests businesses may want to start directing their attention towards their core audience who actually engage with their Facebook page.

The researcher found that having more likes doesn’t necessarily mean having more engagement. In fact, the more Facebook fans a brand has, the lower the percentage of engaged fans tends to be. For example, brands with between 900,000 to 1 million fans had 60% less engagement than brands with 500,000-600,000 fans.

A core group of devoted fans is what really boosts the engagement of your law firm’s Facebook Page.

The study found that, on average, the engagement of each one of a brand’s 20 most engaged fans is equal to that of 75 average fans. Each month, the so-called superfan likes 10 posts, shares five pieces of content and comments once. What’s more, these fans tend to get significantly more likes and comments on their posts than average fans, which helps drive up engagement on the brand’s page even more.

Riley Gibson (@rileygibson), the co-founder and CEO of Napkin Labs insists that businesses need to stop focusing on their growing numbers.

Every business has to measure what they do and make sure that it is effective. Likes can be part of that measurement, but we need to start looking beyond that a bit, and start looking in more depth at what fans are actually doing.

Many people will argue that Facebook isn’t about reaching a few loyal fans but instead serves as a form of mass media to reach the greatest amount of people possible. However, the way Facebook works is that the higher the number of people you get to actually engage the greater the number of people who will see what you are posting. Gibson says,

If you can get fans involved, get them talking about the brand, the engagements of each of those fans gets pushed to their friends feeds. So you can actually build more presence in the news feed by engaging your core audience.

When coming up with a social media strategy, law firms must not obsess over gaining the greatest number of fans as quickly as possible. Focus on engagement, and with time your fan base will continue to grow. Publish content designed to provoke responses and actively find ways to encourage comments on posts by asking questions.

Build a community with your law firm’s Facebook Page.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Sean MacEntee.