In this episode of the Legal Marketing 2.0 podcast, we take a behind-the-scenes look at the 2017 Social Law Firm Index methodology with Good2bSocial’s Guy Alvarez and Tim Baran.
The Evolution of The Social Law Firm Index
The first Social Law Firm index was published in 2014 in partnership with Above the Law. The goal was to review and rank top law firms’ social media efforts. Through the years the report expanded from ranking the Am Law 50 firms to the Am Law 100 and the 2017 Social Law Firm Index expanded to include all AmLaw 200 firms for the first time.
Our annual report not only doubled in size this year, but also added an SEO category in addition to the social media and thought leadership rankings. Social media is just one of the channels where your clients can search and find your content, search engines are also a major source which is why this year’s report includes this category. As the digital marketing landscape is constantly evolving, so is The Social Law Firm Index. Each year the algorithm is adjusted to reflect changes in social media, marketing technologies, and overall best practices.
Upon reading the result of the report some firms wonder why their ranking fell from the previous year or why they didn’t rank well at all. In general, other firms are trying just as hard and a poor ranking doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong, other firms are just doing better. We collect data and measure analytics March through June which means this report is a snapshot rather than a full year analysis. A variety of measurement tools along with Good2bSocial’s proprietary algorithm generates the scores which we then rank.
You can’t have a successful social media or SEO strategy without content. In the Thought Leadership category we rank firms based on whether or not they are creating client-centric, engaging content on a consistent basis. Client-centric content is not self promotional, but instead anticipates what your target audience is interested in and provides relevant, educational insights. A lot of firms are already providing this in the form of blogs, but some are in PDF format or buried deep within their site. Other firms rely solely on client alerts to share their content, meaning it doesn’t reach potential clients. Firms that topped this category make a commitment to a variety of quality content that is easily consumed and accessed.
When looking at law firms’ LinkedIn profiles we measured the frequency of thought leadership content and use of best practices. We took the number of followers into consideration, but just as importantly, we looked at engaging visuals, curated content, and showcase pages to highlight firm practice areas.
In the Twitter category we measured ratios such as tweets to retweets, tweets to likes, and followers to following, We also looked for best practices like use of hashtags, content curation, and frequency of original tweets.
Facebook is the largest social network, but some firms don’t focus on it. For corporate firms the platform is best used as a recruiting tool or a channel to demonstrate corporate culture and community involvements. In The Social Law Firm Index we analyzed how firms were using Facebook and if they used features like groups and Facebook Live which can increase engagement.
SEO was a new category for the 2017 report. To rank law firms on their SEO efforts, we looked at off-page optimization and domain authority. In the future, The Social Law Firm Index aims to include a more in depth SEO analysis.
How Can a Firm Improve?
After downloading this year’s report, you may question how your law firm can improve their digital marketing efforts. A digital marketing audit can help firms evaluate their social media and SEO practices. Reviewing top firms digital marketing strategies can help you understand how they ranked and how you can implement similar best practices.