Thursday, June 6, 2013

Lawyers & Social Media - An Update

If you are a devoted reader of the ABA Journal that arrives in your mailbox every month--and who isn't--then you may catch their continued analysis of social media trends.

This month the team that puts the journal together excerpted from its annual "Legal Technology Survey Report."  The report, as the name implies, culls survey data from firms of different sizes regarding their social media use.  Helpfully, it includes comparisons of answers to the same questions over the last few years, allowing readers to see the trends.

Those trends are usually even more helpful than the raw figures as it allows readers to see what more of their colleagues (and competitors) are doing.  It is logical to extrapolate that those areas receiving more attention over the years are growing in popularity for one reason: they actually help to bring in clients.

So what does the data show this year?

You have to go to the ABA Store and purchase the full report, but the snippet in the Journal provides a few helpful insights.

For starters, legal blog writing is...wait for it....growing.  The survey asks firms if they have a blog.  The break-down over the years is:

2011 - 14.8% of firms had a blog
2012 - 21.5% of firms had a blog
2013 - 26.9% of firms had a blog

That trend is similar to what we would expect as lawyer-writers who work with attorneys on this work.  As those numbers bear out, even though attorneys continue to hear a lot of chatter about blogging, it is still a minority who have taken advantage of it.  This is actually an opportunity, because it represents a way to get in on a marketing strategy that is still "new", relatively speaking.

It is little surprise why blogging is steadily gaining adherents.  It works.  The ABA survey also asked firms about whether or not they know for sure that they have gotten clients via various social media channels.  The outcome:

Blogging - 39% receives clients directly, another 26% might have but were not sure if the client came directly from the blog

Facebook - 19% received clients directly, 21% were not sure, 59% did not

Twitter - 6% received clients directly; 18% were not sure, 75% did not.

This is not to say that Facebook and Twitter are necessarily less useful, but it is certainly a testament to the fact that blogging is far and away the central tool for sharing the firm's original perspective and crafting a brand when compared to the more short-form, snapshot social media channels.

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