In the interest of transparency, I am enthusiastic about social Web tools and particularly Facebook. Continuing in my series of Facebook Fridays, today’s post will address: Should a law firm have a Fan Page and if so, what should it look like?
If you haven’t seen it action, you’ve probably at least heard about how Dell or Zappos, the poster children for companies using social media, are creating revenue and positively impacting their brand in Social Media. According to various reports, most other companies, retail or B2B, have barely gotten started; law firms are no exception.
An April 2009 article on Adweek.com confirms that law firms are not alone:
“Thousands of brands from large, medium and small companies… crossed that hurdle a few years ago of making a Web site. But they are not yet waking up to the fact that the Internet is not just about parking your information somewhere and hoping people stumble across it somehow. You have to be active for anyone to notice…. Companies obviously know Twitter and blogs and Facebook. They just don’t know how they fit in. ”
Most law firm marketers are slow to increase social media in their marketing mix. It’s looked upon as mostly experimental and they invest only as time and priorities permit.
What’s in a name? A lot.
At least on June 13th starting at 12:01 a.m. (EDT). You see Facebook is hosting a name claim extravaganza. That’s right, no more url addresses with Facebook.com and a random series of numbers and digits. You will be able to select a username at http://www.facebook.com/username for your Facebook account to easily direct friends, family, and coworkers to your profile.
Law firms and the companies they counsel who are interested in getting found on Facebook will also be able to stake a claim on http://www.facebook.com/yourcompanynamehere.
Companies can (and should) preemptively protect their rights to their trademarks and block cyber-squatting by registering their mark Facebook. All you need to do is visit here. Provide your company’s name, the trademark and the federal trademark registration number, and subject to their review, Facebook will reserve the trademark and not let anyone else use it.
According to Brian Fergemann, a partner and intellectual property attorney at Chicago’s Winston & Strawn, quoted today in the National Law Journal,
“This is really a way for someone who has a distinct or famous trademark to let Facebook know that others should not be allowed to register that page. They can just say, ‘Please don’t let anyone use my registered trademark.’ ”
I agree, and even if your law firm or company is not yet on Facebook you should register your mark, NOW. The good news is, if you find that someone’s username infringes your rights, you can fill out an automated IP infringement form.
Now for the fun stuff!
FACEBOOK Friday? What’s that?
Well, it’s kind of like a “jeans day.” Remember them? Well, this is no facebooking during regular business hours, except on Facebook Fridays which is once a month or once a week. You choose. Employees still have to do their work, but when they have a free minute, they’re free to play around on social sites –within the limits of company social media policy, of course.
Since it’s Friday, and I get this question quite often, I thought I’d share a quick lesson on how to set up lists on facebook and customize privacy settings accordingly. This allows you to give your business and personal contacts different access to your stuff.