In 2019, digital marketing has become an essential component of business development and overall success in a law firm. The Social Law Firm Index is an annual report which monitors the internet presence of law firms’ on the ‘2018 AM Law 200’, and is a beneficial source used to decipher their achievements for strategies on social media. It relies on algorithms, which determine if the digital marketing techniques firms adopt are effective in terms of outreach, engagement, and business development.
In the United States, there are many law firms employing calculated online marketing techniques and have subsequently reaped benefits. However, other firms have not managed to fully grasp successful tactics and have consequently failed to expand their businesses.
The characteristics of both the best and worst performance on social media will be outlined below.
Characteristics of Best Performers
(1) Visual Clues
Every day, in every situation, we are bombarded with new information, which is hard to digest and fully comprehend. It has been proven that visual information is easier to absorb, and is more appealing than plain text formatting. Due to this, many law firms are incorporating videos in their marketing strategies.
A video is an innovative approach to attract clients’ attention; either for their potential business or to update them on specific issues. 2018 saw a significant rise in companies employing this strategy; this was probably due to LinkedIn’s debut of video advertising.
This year (2019), 36% of law firms are using video as a part of their digital marketing plan. This is a significant increase than in previous years. Videos are proven to increase engagement and captivate clients instead of repelling them with overwhelming amounts of content that is hard to grip.
(2) Engaging Material
Another successful approach is to incorporate interactive content with social media posts. Many law firms determine their overall success on social media through the interaction they receive. Engaging content is a key marketing strategy for both the client and the company. It grants clients opportunities to be heard, as well as allows law firms to get feedback and constructive criticism, which they could use to improve their services.
Interaction online can be done in the form of polls or surveys. Social media grants firms the ability to use these tools in order to facilitate engagement in an easy and effective manner. This innovative and revolutionary strategy is vital in transforming a business.
Thinking like a client has proven to be an invaluable approach when determining digital marketing policies. Law firms are incorporating a more client-centric tactic in order to truly understand their needs as consumers.
It is advisable that companies utilize engagement strategies, such as polls and surveys, in order to find out what clients desire. Even Google is altering its algorithms in order to prioritize customers’ main objectives.
In order to stay relevant and meet the needs of their clients, law firms need to involve them and alter their business models in order to meet these expectations.
(4) Quality over Quantity
Law firms need to be conscious of the fact that if the content itself is mediocre, it is redundant to publish it in huge quantities. They need to emphasize posting original and interesting content, which relates to the client. Flooding clients’ newsfeeds with self-promotional posts are not only pointless but also off-putting.
Clients want to see a firm’s work in the legal field and how they can contribute to the client’s business. The Social Law Firm Index’s algorithms don’t just analyze the number of posts a company has, but also the quality of said posts, and if they are client-centric.
(5) Changing Social-Network Platforms
Until recently, Facebook used to be the primary social network for advertising and job recruitment. Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal – all of this changed. Millions of profiles were accessed, and private information was breached. Consequently, trust in the platform was compromised and people turned to a new network; Instagram.
Instagram is also the new social media trend among millennials. This is where young talent is located. Companies should also invest their efforts in places like Twitter and LinkedIn. It is therefore wise for law firms to discover where their clients are situated and direct their efforts on those social platforms.
(6) Paying Social Media Platforms
The Social Law Firm Index reported that around 30% of the law firms in their surveys use paid social in order to target different audiences. Both Facebook and LinkedIn are providers of paid social. Sponsored content on different social networks is a cost-effective method for online marketing.
Characteristics of Worst Performers
(1) Discarded Profiles
It is important for law firms to consistently update their profiles in order to show strong brand awareness. However, it appears that some law firms completely abandon their digital presence. When clients observe months between firms’ social media posts, they immediately assume there’s a correlation between the digital inactivity and their actual business. They assume that they have ‘dropped the ball’ on their legal services, which affects the firm’s reputation.
This is often the case for newly merged firms; they struggle to update their digital presence and find a unified marketing approach.
(2) Neglecting a Broader Audience
In 2019, we live in an age where there are multiple social networking platforms. In order to fully employ the benefits of each platform, law firms should post on all that are relevant. They should also post at different times and on different days. These strategies allow them to reach a greater audience and target market.
Similarly, it was found that many companies do not take advantage of employee advocacy tools within their businesses. By not using employee’s social networking profiles, they are wasting resources that could prove to be invaluable.
Likewise, firms that merely post updates and content on their platforms, failing to interact with any other accounts, are self-hindering. The more engaging a firm is, by liking, retweeting and using hashtags; the more exposure they receive.
These strategies show the value of digital marketing, and how, when used correctly, it can greatly improve businesses development. It is clear that when employed properly, an online presence is key, and certain strategies can achieve optimum opportunities and engagement.