The Social Law Firm Index explores the success of law firms’ digital marketing efforts and includes reviews and rankings of all firms on the 2019 Am Law 200. When we published our first report in 2013, law firm digital marketing was still in its infancy, and digital marketing strategies weren’t a reality for many firms. Since then, the state of digital marketing and social media usage in our industry has significantly shifted and now, every Am Law 200 firm has a presence online. See below some of the ways in which America’s top 200 firms are evolving, the journey that digital marketing has taken and where it’s heading.
Client-centric content is king
Firms are creating more content than ever before. Law firms that “get it” focus on producing client-centric thought leadership content, as opposed to firm-centric promotional content. We define thought leadership content as being client-facing, educational and easily digestible online. It’s also important that content is easy to find on a firm’s website and is easily shareable.
Video is an essential tool for engagement
Video is cheaper than ever to produce and many firms are investing in videos as an effective and engaging medium to tell their stories. Video is a great tool for law firms because it enables them to visually explain complicated concepts or methods, while at the same time lends a bit of personality and authenticity to their content. The use of video will only continue to increase as more and more people use their mobile devices to access content.
Increased focus on measurement and ROI
I think this is the year of measurement and ROI. Most firms produce content and participate on social media, and they’re also looking for ways to measure the ROI of their digital marketing and content efforts. Legal marketers are facing increased pressure from leadership who want to know what real business results are being generated from their investment in digital marketing. I also think that the savviest of firms are beginning to think in terms of individual marketing campaigns instead of a firm wide marketing approach in order to properly measure results.
Reduced Facebook presence
There has been a significant decline in the use of Facebook by most Am Law 200 firms. That is partly due to all the negative publicity and privacy concerns that Facebook has experienced over the past year. The other reason for the decline is that Facebook keeps making it harder and harder for firms to connect with their target audience without paid promotion. As a result, firms that still consider Facebook an important network are using paid Facebook in order to connect and engage with their audience.
Rise in the usage of paid social
Paid social is something that more and more firms are adopting, especially on LinkedIn. In fact, we found that 30 percent of the Am Law firms use paid LinkedIn, which is a significant increase from only 10 percent just a year ago. LinkedIn data shows that nearly 80 percent of B2B marketers consider the platform to be an effective source for gaining leads, and 92 percent favor the business networking site over other social media outlets. Paid social gives firms that ability to expand their reach in an extremely targeted way. This will be the year of paid social, as more firms develop campaigns and increase their spend in order to up their game.
Rise of chatbots
More firms have added chatbots as part of their website experience to engage with any potential new lead and allow for 24/7 responses. Our “instant gratification” society has enabled people to expect responses right away, but technology has also allowed us to capture information through tailored questions in a chat session. The messaging has also been personalized, so the chatbots appear as human as possible. However, the number of firms embracing this technology is still relatively small when compared to corporations.
Since the first Social Law Firm Index publication in 2013, we continue to see law firms step up their game when it comes to social media and digital marketing. Firms know that in the current high-tech, internet-connected era, what worked last year may not work as well this year. The rapid progress doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
Download your copy of the 2019 Social Law Firm Index for more key findings, characteristics of worst performers, predictions for 2020, and complete firm rankings. Moreover, contact us today if you need help devising a social media strategy that gives your law firm a competitive edge and drives more business.