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Pros and Cons of Facebook Live Video for Law Firms

By Michael Mogill

Does Facebook Live video provide value for law firms, or is it just another opportunity to lose time that could be better spent elsewhere? It depends.

If harnessed correctly, Facebook Live offers a valuable platform to connect with your audience, giving an extra touch that can help convert prospects into clients. It doesn’t fit every audience, and it doesn’t fit every law firm.

As with any marketing strategy, live video’s effectiveness will hinge on how you use it and who you’re trying to reach. Here’s what you need to know.

The Facebook Video Platform

Facebook Live allows you to live stream video from mobile devices that run the Facebook Mobile app (both iOS and Android). It’s easy to set up and easy to broadcast.

Live streams can last up to 90 minutes, after which they’ll reside on your law firm’s Facebook page as valuable content for those interested in your services. If you want them to be single-serving live events, you can remove them from your Facebook page once the live stream concludes.

The Pros

Facebook Live’s benefits lie in its ease of social distribution. It’s easy to catch your target audience where they already hang out online: Facebook. According to Livestream, 80 percent of audiences would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog post. So, Facebook Live video lets you reach viewers via their preferred avenue.

Followers who regularly engage with your law firm’s Facebook page will receive a notification when you go live, alerting them to your broadcast. Followers can also subscribe to your firm’s live videos by following your page’s live events.

To boost visibility, Facebook has given preferential treatment to live video since its rollout, ranking it higher in the news feed when videos are live. As a result, you can have higher engagement via Facebook Live broadcasts than with traditional social posts. Facebook Live is also easy to use for viewers. All it takes is a tap on someone’s mobile device and they can immediately engage, comment and ask questions within the live feed.

The platform is best leveraged as a tool to interact with your target audience in real-time. “Ask A Lawyer” sessions can be a great way to engage viewers, establish expertise, and reinforce thought leadership while giving advice on topics related to your practice area.

For practice areas subject to influence by news-type events, Facebook Live provides a quick avenue for discussion. Immigration law, veterans law and similar practice areas can benefit from this strategy.

Ease of use is another pro for the platform. While live broadcasting used to require technical skill and thousands of dollars of equipment, it’s now available on a smartphone.

After live streams conclude, you can use Facebook’s video analytics to dissect and analyze your content to learn about your viewers’ interests. You’ll receive performance metrics analyzing peak viewing times, drop-off times and more, to help discover which topics your audience cares about and which they don’t.

While you can’t boost live streams (when they’re live) to reach new audiences, you can boost them to new audiences once the recordings are finished. This allows you to reach new eyes and ears with your content.

Pro Tip: Generate new leads by turning live stream viewers into a retargeting audience so that you can serve new content to them. Gauge viewer interests by the content they engage with and serve similar content to nudge them toward contacting and hiring your firm.

The Cons

Facebook Live’s biggest drawback is in the audience reach mentioned above. You can’t boost a video post live to new audiences; you have to wait until the recording is finished, reducing engagement with that form of content by one-third. Unless it’s shared by your viewers and followers, your Facebook Live audience is only that: your current viewers and followers. For many firms, social media followings comprise a small number of individuals, so this is something to consider about creating a Facebook Live strategy.

Also to consider: Viewers spend 300 percent longer watching live video when it is live than when it is served to them as prerecorded content, so the “magic” wears off quickly once the broadcast concludes. Correspondingly, Facebook’s algorithm places greater emphasis on live video, ranking it higher during broadcast than when it is completed.

In addition, Facebook Live Video can only be used via the mobile app, and production quality can be a hindrance. If you’re looking to create long-term, premium branded content, Facebook Live is not the best platform to achieve your goals. Professionally produced videos continue to engage at high rates over longer time periods.

Five Facebook Live Video Tips

Here are a few helpful tips to consider when planning Facebook Live videos:

  1. Practice “going live” before you do your first one. To do this, adjust your privacy settings to “Only Me” before you tap the “Go Live” button.
  2. Engage viewers before the broadcast by asking them which topics they would like covered. This helps involve potential clients before your broadcast even starts.
  3. Always broadcast from Wi-Fi. Don’t leave it up to chance with your phone’s data signal.
  4. Treat Facebook Live as an avenue for discussion rather than a presentation medium. Have content ready, but be prepared to intentionally engage your audience, interact with them, and ask questions.
  5. Include a call to action at the end of your broadcast. Whether that’s an invitation to reach out with questions, details on how to contact your office, instructions to subscribe to your live notifications, or information on your next broadcast, always do a call to action.

Just remember to speak with potential clients, not to them. Facebook Live, like legal FAQ videos, can be an outstanding platform to provide value and establish trust with potential clients, providing insight into why viewers should look into a firm like yours to handle their case.

And be sure to share broadcast details from all of your firm’s social media platforms — not just Facebook — in the days leading up to your live session. Include a link to your Facebook page, and include the time of broadcast to encourage higher attendance.

Facebook Live may not be the best fit for all law firms, but for many, it can be an effective way to engage and connect with potential clients. And you can get ahead of the competition by using an emerging technology they’ve only begun to recognize.

Learn More at Lawyernomics 2017

Michael Mogill is a featured speaker at Avvo’s Lawyernomics 2017 Lawyer Marketing and Business Conference in Las Vegas on April 20-22. Early-bird pricing ends Feb. 24. Attorney at Work is a Media Sponsor. 

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Michael Mogill

Michael Mogill is the President of Crisp Video Group, a national legal video marketing company that produces high-quality legal videos for attorneys all over the country. His company is consistently recognized for creating engaging videos that help attorneys increase case values and revenue. He has been featured in Forbes, Avvo, The Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal, and in ABA and PILMMA publications. Follow Michael @mmogill.

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