Guardian (UK) Article Says Most Law Firms Have Little Idea About Social Media As A Commercial Tool

Nothing new in that…. worth a read though

Here’s the piece by Nicola Laver – you can find the article at

Lawyers struggle to take commercial advantage of social media

“There isn’t a right or a wrong way” for public sector leaders to use new technology like Twitter. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Law firms should not underestimate the immeasurable marketing potential of social media technologies. A recent study from Lexis Nexis shows that more than three-quarters of people looking for a lawyer in the US did so online and Facebook was the most popular resource used by consumers in their searches.

The report concludes that social media, blogging and online legal forums are playing an increasingly significant role in the search for legal services. Are firms taking full advantage of social media? “The vast majority of law firms do not understand social media and those that do typically are failing to use it in an effective way or have unrealistic expectations of how social media fits within the marketing mix,” says consultant Mark Tillison.

Manchester firm Pannone is one of the few that places a significant value on social media. “Off-page is very important,” says Digital marketing director Steve Simpson. “Getting quality links back to the site for our chosen terms,blogging on our website, articles and really important press releases, and all these then get pushed via social, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google plus and, where suitable, YouTube.”

The rewards are tangible according to Simpson, because over 30 per cent of the firm’s business is generated from the firm’s website. Pannone may, however, be an exception. Tillison says: “There are a number of sites I’ve seen which are contemporary, easy to navigate, compelling and engage the user, but these are few and far between. Those that have positioned themselves in this way are almost certainly gaining business over their competitors.”

Though many law firms are missing a trick by largely ignoring the online world, some are starting to cotton on to the value of blogs which can be easily shared through social media. “The benefits of blogs are two-fold: they help clients find you, and they reassure those near to making a purchase that your firm will be able to help them, says Mike Bean of Isaac Parker Communications. “If you were a divorce lawyer you might give your right arm to be ranked highly for the term ‘divorce lawyer’ in Google, but actually, clients close to purchase tend to use longer, multi-word search terms like ‘how to file for a divorce’. Blogs help you get found for these searches and the posts you write give clients-to-be the reassurance that you will deliver a great service.”

Thomas Eggar launched a new website last month and social media has, says marketing executive Yasemin Kaynakci, played a huge part in planning, developing and monitoring its effectiveness: “Law is a fast moving, newsworthy topic and the old ways of providing updates just don’t appeal to our target audiences as much as they used to.”

The firm uses social media icons on its site to encourage users to share content and Twitter feed is a home page feature. Kaynakci says: “We want to build communities around topics of interest by providing industry comment, events, blogs or news items that benefit existing and potential clients and other target audiences. We also believe it’s vital to offer a mix of communication mediums that cater for different preferences.”

Thomas Eggar also uses video on its site, a feature that is under-utilised by law firms . Kaynakci explains: “We want to take advantage of what technology can offer, and videos enable us to captivate our audience in a creative and unique way. Bite sized video feeds meet the needs of people today.”

Bond Pearce’s site uses audio and video to communicate in a “bespoke manner and with personality,” says Emma Price, the firm’s business development director. “These features provide us with a different way to engage with our clients and contacts on a more personal level,” she says. “The new dynamic is that today, access to information is instantaneous and if you aren’t providing it, then your clients will get it from a competitor.”