20130211-145350.jpg I’ve been spending time on Facebook of late. Not to build a brand for LexBlog or I, but to learn how those who have achieved success on Facebook have done so.

After all, Facebook is the largest social network in the world and LexBlog is helping empower over 8,000 lawyers world-wide network through the Internet.

What I found out is that I agree wholeheartedly with journalist and publicist, Mitch Joel (@mitchjoel), that “Facebook is going to be brutally hard and ineffective for the brands who think they can simply take the creative they’re using in-market and adapt it for Facebook.”

Sure, the Internet enables things to happen fast, but to truly connect, to build trust, and to establish credibility takes a long time. It also takes time to first learn how to use the Internet effectively to accomplish these three things.

Joel, in a post last Friday, asks “Are you really and truly willing to put the time in on Facebook?”

Although it’s easy to buy attention on Facebook (through fan acquisition and pushing your messaging out via paying for more access to the social graph), the brands that are able to capitalize on the paid strategies are the ones who are putting in the time to actually do something with their content that fits the way that people connect and communicate on Facebook. Again, this may seem simplistic, but we still live in a day and age where the vast majority of brands are pumping out a stock photo with a message akin to : “like this if you like sunshine,” or some other kind of bland drivel. To counter that, successful brands on Facebook are really diving in deep to think about what they’re going to do in a world where people are more likely on Facebook to connect with family, friends and colleagues than they are to connect with brand. In short, brands have to be personable and interesting. Again, this takes time.

Facebook is no doubt the most far reaching social network in the world. Facebook may also prove to be most effective social network for lawyers and law firms looking to connect, build prestige, and grow their networks for business development purposes.

But how Facebook works and how it will work for your firm is something that you need to spend time studying. You cannot hire a young ‘social media expert’ or lean on associate lawyers to tell you how your firm should use Facebook. These folks have never been charged to develop and execute a high profile strategic business development initiative.

Many law firm marketing budgets are being cut. Here’s an opportunity to accomplish more with less. Most law firms will not take the time to understand Facebook, they’ll be too busy sponsoring an event, publishing an ad, or re-doing a website.

While those firms are chasing the past, sit down with your team and study Facebook. What do you like? Which brands (non-law) are connecting with their audience in a real authentic way? How could you leverage some of these successes in the legal professional?

Bottom line, will you spend the time?

Image courtesy of Flickr by Kai Nicolas Shaper.