You might think that social media doesn’t have a lot to offer when it comes to dealing with law firms. On the contrary social media can be a tremendous source of conversions for law firms. Social media is a customer facing portal that allows people to find your brand without necessarily finding your webpage. How many people do you know who have a Facebook page? How many people do you know who talk about their experiences on their social media page? Have they reviewed restaurants? Have they recommended a physician? Have they opened up about their triumphs, or about their worries and frustrations?
Facebook, the 800 pound gorilla of social media, has 1.59 billion users as of the fourth quarter of 2015, and 50 million small businesses have Facebook pages. LinkedIn boasts 414 million users with 3.7 billion page views in the fourth quarter of 2015. Other social media venues such as Tumblr, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, YouTube, Yelp, and Vine reach millions of people every day. How you use these tools can increase your brand recognition, or make you just another face on the Internet.
Law firms using social media isn’t new, in fact the American Bar Association covered law firms using social media back in 2012. At the time the journal noted that management often does not understand the tools, or appreciate their potential, instead seeing the dangers and pitfalls, instead of the advantages. It’s estimated that as recently as last year, 74 percent of in-house counsel used social media in listening mode only. While it’s true that larger firms such as DLA Piper or Latham tend to have more of a social media presence, there is a disjunct between the size of the firm and engagement, in which smaller firms outperform the larger.
Engaging with other counsel and potential clients should be the primary goal of any law firm using social media. It is not enough to have a Facebook page, or a profile on LinkedIn, or a Twitter account – you have to make use of it in order to draw people to your website. While I recognize that law firm management is by its very nature conservative and cautious, law firms nonetheless have a treasure trove of articulate and engaged staff members whose presence on social media is worth its weight in gold. Leveraging that talent as an asset can bring you to social media with something put on the table and engage your visitors with meaningful, relevant, and timely content.
There are, of course, ethical concerns that must be addressed when a law firm or individual practitioner dips their toe into social media marketing. However, there are ways to market your firm and your expertise without trespassing into ethical gray areas or blowing rule 4–7.2 completely out of the pool. Talk with an experienced marketing professional about your firm and social media, and you could be pleasantly surprised by how much you have to gain.