On November 10th, we published the results of the 2020 Social Law Firm Index, our annual whitepaper that examines how America’s top 200 law firms (as ranked by The American Lawyer) adopt and apply digital marketing in terms of outreach, engagement and business development. The Social Law Firm Index analyzes each firm’s digital footprint and evaluates their use of social media to extend thought leadership messages and otherwise engage with clients and constituents. These factors are reduced to numerical measures, weighted and incorporated into an algorithm to develop each firm’s rank on the Index across 8 different channels.
The full report includes overall and individual channel rankings, along with feature stories on the top ranking firms in each category: LinkedIn, Twitter, SEO, Instagram, Thought Leadership, Facebook, YouTube, and Podcasting.
The state of digital marketing and social media usage in the legal industry has significantly shifted since we published our first report in 2013. Every Am Law 200 firm now has a presence online, and most have a presence on at least two social media channels. Online branding and social media marketing have developed into required components for law firm marketing – and some firms outshine the others.
Among the key findings in the 2020 Social Law Firm Index are:
Firms bulked up their digital marketing strategies during the pandemic
“The global pandemic had a significant impact on all aspects of our society, which included marketing at law firms,” said Guy Alvarez, CEO of Good2bSocial. “Firms had to pivot and shift their entire practice online and figure out how to still connect with and build their client base. We saw firms embrace webinars, write and promote content, increase their social media advertising budgets and launch podcasts. Digital marketing is here to stay and it’s great watching firms embrace it and learn from best practices and opportunities to grow.”
The year of webinars
When the global pandemic shuttered offices and sent employees home, law firms scrambled to find a way to continue marketing and providing valuable content to their clients and prospective clients. Enter the year of webinars. Webinars have always played an important role in increasing brand awareness and delivering content to an engaged audience, but none more so than in 2020. It became one of the most effective and innovative tools at a business’ disposal. From featuring relevant content to a very targeted audience or marketing a new attorney, webinars offered something for both the law firms and the clients.
Webinars have been an effective digital marketing tool for lawyers and law firms for quite some time, but in the current landscape they are a necessity. If you’ve had trouble hitting your attendee goals, follow these 13 webinar promotion tips to guarantee nobody misses your law firm’s next webinar.
Rise of podcasts
This year, we noticed a massive uptick in podcast development as firms looked for ways to cut through the glut of written content and reach constituents in new and more convenient ways.
In fact, 38% of Am Law 200 firms are producing podcasts and we only expect that percentage to increase in 2021.
Law firms can tell their story at any time and demonstrate expertise and subject-matter authority in their industry, building advocates along the way. Top law firms around the world have become more active and creating more podcasts. Starting one allows firms to build relationships with not just your existing client base, but potentially reach a brand-new audience.
If your firm isn’t already producing a podcast, it’s time to start. But how? Check out our past blog post: How to Launch a Law Firm Podcast in 6 Steps.
Increased interest in SEO
Google’s 2019 BERT update forced SEO professionals to put the focus more on optimizing content based on search intent instead of keywords. Websites that publish content that matches what users are searching for now could be given higher priority in searches. Now firms need to focus on the intention behind the search, not how often a specific keyword is used in content. To benefit from this shift, law firms that excel in SEO emphasize their efforts on creating the most useful, relevant and targeted content. For more tips and tricks on SEO, download our free eBook: SEO for Law Firm Websites.
Paid LinkedIn goes mainstream
B2B marketers report that 80 percent of their social media leads come from LinkedIn and it’s 277 percent more effective than Facebook in generating leads. The platform’s major selling point for marketers is its ability to target an audience by their industry, job title and work experience and more, not just their demographics. LinkedIn is a platform where people expect and seek out work-related content. The site is also considered more trustworthy than other social platforms.
Are you looking for practical advice to accelerate your firm’s LinkedIn advertising campaigns? Check out our past post on LinkedIn Ads here.
The 2020 Social Law Firm Index Best Performing Firms:
The Overall Top Five Firms demonstrated the greatest comprehensive adoption, integration and use of digital marketing, social media and thought leadership content to market and grow their practice. The firms topping the list are:
Baker McKenzie ranked first for its use of various social media platforms in areas such as recruitment, client outreach and general firm marketing. Baker McKenzie has an approach that revolves around clients and prospective clients. The firm sees their role on social media as providing content that adds value; is relevant, interesting, and timely; and generates engagement. “We watch our engagement closely,” said Leah Schloss, Baker McKenzie’s associate director for North American communications. “We want our content to resonate with people. We don’t want to put out content that people aren’t engaging with; [we want content] that’s proved to be a winning strategy for us.” The firm had been claimed 4th place in our 2019 study.
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, DLA Piper, White & Case and Norton Rose Fulbright rounded out the top five. Those firms also occupied the top five spots in 2019, although in a different order.
Check out our free eBook, The Law Firm Guide to Content Marketing, to learn the basics that make content marketing work and the best practices that will set you apart from the competition.
The 2020 Social Law Firm Index rankings are based on a proprietary methodology developed to assess the effectiveness of each firm’s use of social media and digital marketing. Our analysis is further informed by the depth of our experience working with law firms, our familiarity with current trends and conditions in the marketplace, and best practices used across digital marketing channels. For more insights, best practices, and full rankings, you can download a copy of the 2020 Social Law Firm Index here.
If you need help with your social media strategy or if you’re looking for ideas on how to improve your firm’s performance on social media, contact us for help today.