In today’s online world, more law firms are using social media, such as LinkedIn, to avoid being left out. Although law firm communications and marketing professionals are still using traditional methods of communication, such as trade publications and newsletters, they are recognizing that social media allows for more agility in reaching current and potential clients than the more customary methods. It allows them to reach their audience more directly, making it easier to build relationships, and can also be more cost-effective than traditional methods.
What social media tools are the most popular? In a 2015 report by the online magazine Social Media Examiner, that surveyed thousands of marketing professionals throughout various industries, Facebook and LinkedIn were the top two networking platforms of choice. Twitter held a top spot when it came to plans for future marketing activities, as did LinkedIn, which is often cited as the top social media networking and communication tool for law firms and attorneys.
Websites are, of course, standard these days among law firms of all sizes, from sole proprietors to big law. Just about everybody has one. However, the way the websites are used varies widely. While some law firms’ websites give just the basics: information about the firm’s history, practice areas, attorney bios, notable cases and contact information, other firms of all sizes are utilizing their websites to deliver valuable content to their current and prospective clients, positioning themselves as experts in their practice or specialty areas. Blogs, microsites and videos are increasingly being used by law firms for this purpose.
Marketing and communications professionals are typically the ones implementing and using social media in larger law firms; however, sole proprietors and attorneys in smaller firms without dedicated marketing, PR and communications staff are also increasingly using it, sometimes perhaps more so than larger firms that are more constricted by systems and processes already in place. Smaller firms’ budgets are also not as well suited to more traditional advertising and marketing outlets. The American Bar Association’s social media resources page advises attorneys from both large and small firms that taking control of their online presence is a necessity and that there are few better ways to do it than on social media, if used correctly.
Whether firms are using social media effectively is the question. Here are some points to consider for social media use:
While trade publications and newsletters are still effective marketing tools for law firms, social media is a growing trend that should not be ignored. Follow the points above to establish a strong social media presence that will allow you to reach current and prospective clients with greater ease and effectiveness.