When we founded LexBlog blog posts were delivered directly to readers via RSS feeds, email subscription, and users bookmarking blogs, in addition to Google searches.
Fast forward 11 years and Facebook, with Google, dominates media distribution. Readers are no longer receiving blogs directly. Blog posts are being distributed socially.
Many great news brands today see their direct traffic — that is readers accessing deliberately the URL of the site — fall well below 50%. And the younger the media company (pure players, high-performing click machines such as BuzzFeed), the lower the proportion of direct access is – to the benefit of Facebook and Google for the most part.
BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti, in this story in Marketing Land, claims Buzzfeed gets 75% of its traffic from social and to not paying much attention to Google anymore. Mashable is receiving upwards of 40% of its traffic from social, primarily Facebook.
What does this mean for law blog publishers? If you want to maintain readership levels for your blogs going forward, you better get them delivered socially, primarily via Facebook.
That’s a big problem for most lawyers and law firms who view Facebook as having little value except for trivial personal exchanges.
Law firm Facebook pages get little traction. Most law firm employees don’t even ‘like’ their own firm’s pages.
Unlike the general population, very few lawyers share blog posts and news stories on Facebook. Lawyers don’t befriend peers, thought leaders, bloggers, and traditional media professionals in their niche. Lawyers don’t like and comment on items shared on Facebook.
As a result, even if lawyers and law firms wanted to get their blog posts distributed on Facebook, they couldn’t do it. Posting blog posts to Facebook is not enough – distribution of your blog posts on Facebook requires first being social.
What’s the answer? A decentralized approach to Facebook. Rather than focusing energy on a law firm Facebook page, educate and empower your firm’s lawyers.
Encourage lawyers to use Facebook for networking and business development. Teach lawyers how to use Facebook in a way that increases the chances that their blog posts will be seen in the Newsfeed of their “Facebook friends.” Teach them how to get their posts shared, liked, and commented upon.
Facebook’s algorithms are as complicated as Google’s in getting your blog posts surfaced in Newsfeeds. Rather than SEO though, networking, being social, and friend selection are the keys.
Just like Google search results are not an overnight phenomenon, getting your content distributed and seen via Facebook takes time. Rather than wait, the time is now to get your law bloggers using Facebook.
Image courtesy of Flickr by Colby Cash