The Social Law Firm Index is our annual report of how large law firms are using social media and other digital marketing techniques. In this year’s report we added new categories including Instagram. In this podcast, we will discuss the methodology behind our this year’s index and provide insights into how our ranking algorithm has changed.
The first step in our ranking process is evaluating a law firm’s home page on their website. We focus on looking for client-centric components. If you look at most law firm websites, you’ll typically find a lawyer directory and a list of practice areas. However, we look for case studies, thought leadership content, blogs, videos, and podcasts which allow clients to immediately identify information that they’re looking for. Many firms have great content, but it’s not easily navigable. As a result, we rank them lower in this category.
Not every firm has a blog, so we also measure client alerts or insights. We’re looking for original, valuable content that it’s not promotional of the firm. Clients and prospects are looking for analysis, not just a regurgitation of the news. In this category, we measure the quality of the content, the frequency, and the consistency. We also take points off for content hidden in PDFs or content that is not easily digestible for readers. It’s also important for law firms to include relevant visuals, social sharing buttons, and the ability for readers to comment. All of these factors make a law firm’s content more engaging for clients.
By far we see the most activity by law firms on LinkedIn because most of your clients and prospects are active on this network. When it comes to evaluating a firm’s presence on LinkedIn we look at the number of followers. We also look at the number of updates a firm posts per month and further, how many of those posts are original and client centric and non-promotional. Another factor in our LinkedIn ranking is whether or not a firm curates content. In order to be a true thought leader, you must be aware and knowledgeable about what others are saying in your industry. By sharing content from other credible thought leaders, your firm’s credibility and perceived expertise increases. On LinkedIn we also look at use of engaging visuals including video. We give more points to firms that utilize LinkedIn functionalities like showcase pages and groups.
Twitter is a very different network than LinkedIn, so we look at different factors. For example, if a firm has multiple twitter handles for different purposes this shows a dedication to providing specific content that your multiple audiences will find useful from potential employees to prospects interested in a specific practice area. In addition, we look at data like followers, number of tweets, the ratio of likes and retweets to tweets, and the ratio of promotional vs. non-promotional tweets. On Twitter we look at use of hashtags. Firms that understand best practices when it comes to hashtags are ranked higher in the Twitter category. Similar to LinkedIn we also look for third-party curation and the use of engaging visuals.
This year there was a definite downward trend when it came to Facebook activity. Several firms either abandoned their accounts or clearly reduced the time invested on the platform. This is most likely due to the privacy scandals surrounding Facebook that emerged earlier this year and the fact that it’s more difficult for law firms to organically reach the right audience. On Facebook we rank firms based on number of followers, level of engagement, use of visuals, and by the “People Talking About This” score. We also look for best practices. For example, we don’t see Facebook as the right platform for thought leadership content, but rather a network meant for expressing firm culture.
Instagram & YouTube
This year we added an Instagram category to our as more law firms are joining the platform in an effort to recruit millennial talent as well as to show firm culture. This year we focused on providing a few examples of which law firm’s are utilizing Instagram well. However, in the next Social Law Firm Index we will expand on this category with more complete rankings as more firms are active on the network. YouTube is a similar category where we give extra points to law firms who have an account and are posting videos.
In the SEO category we looked at the number juice-passing backlinks that a law firm’s site has as well as domain authority, trust flow, and citation flow. We measure not only the quality of backlinks your firm’s website has, but also the quality of those links. The SEO category is another that will be expanded next year with more in-depth insights and metrics.
In this year’s Social Law Firm Index we saw great quality across the board. More firms than ever our enhancing their digital presence which lead to major shifts in rankings. For complete firm rankings, download the 2018 Social Law Firm Index here or if you have additional questions about your ranking, feel free to reach out for a consultation.