A recent survey by ALM Legal Intelligence entitled “Fans, Followers and Connections: Social Media ROI for Law Firms” has disclosed that law firms are finally reaping dividends from their use of social media. Over 40% of the American law firms surveyed reported that participating in social networks and blogging led to new clients or business leads.
About 180 law firm partners, marketers and administrators took part in the survey. Of the 180 participants, about 90 were lawyers. A little more than half of the participants worked at large law firms, i.e. firms with a minimum of five hundred lawyers.
Today’s picture is far different from what it was over a decade ago. Back then, U.S. law firms were reluctant to use social media as part of their overall business development strategy. That initial reluctance has given way to an increased confidence in the use of social media. Now firms appreciate the way blogging, networking and other social media can be used to grow the repuation of individual lawyers, specific practice groups and the overall law firm.
The survey also found that:
•Virtually 85% of the law firms participating in the survey currently use social media and networking tools like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Approximately 60%-70% of the participating firms maintain at least one blog.
•Almost 90% of those surveyed believe that implementing social media as part of their firms’ marketing, business development and recruiting strategy should be an important priority. 40% contend that the use of social media is very important for the growth of firm business.
• Over 50% of these firms plan to increase their budget to allow for more social media initiatives in 2012. However, only about 20% of the firms already have a full-time social media specialist on staff, and only 2% revealed that their firms intended to hire a social media specialist in 2012.
•About 50% of those surveyed said that blogging and social networking initiatives helped produce leads for new matters or clients. Approximately 40% indicated that their social networking actually led to new work.
• More than 40% of the firms agreed that blogging and participating in social media networks has resulted in more exposure to journalists in traditional and new media who seek out the firms for information. Approximately 40% also revealed that blogging and using social media networks increased the number of invitations their lawyers received to speak on relevant topics.
In short, using social media networks has increased firms’ exposure to new and existing clients, traditional and new journalists and others in the media, thereby increasing the firms’ profile and enhancing their standing in the legal community.