How is Social Media Affecting Law Firms

January 21, 2013 — Leave a comment

how is social media affecting law firmsHow is social media affecting law firms in 2013? Ten years ago, we were asking how these pesky things called websites would affect law firm marketing and business development.  Some thought websites were a passing fad and stuck with the yellow pages while others saw a glimmer of things to come.  Today, most potential clients wouldn’t hire you if your law firm didn’t have a website. Does the same go for not having a social media presence?

How is social media is affecting law firms

1. Content Marketing

One of the largest ways social media is affecting law firms is content marketing.  More and more law firms are publishing attorney-authored blogs.  Don’t believe me? Check out the ABA’s Blawg Directory or the Canadian law blog list for proof.  Content is being published in a broader fashion via blogs, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  Print articles and advertisements are being replaced by online newsletters, blog posts and other content syndication sites. Content marketing enables attorneys to demonstrate their expertise to a broader pool of potential clients via social media.

2. Humanizing the Law Firm

My favorite social network for lawyers is Twitter (LinkedIn is a close second).  In 140 characters or less, lawyers are posting and reading content, talking to potential clients, interacting with colleagues and keeping up-to-date on the news.  Lawyers have a reputation of being removed from the public. How often can you call a law office and start chatting about your morning coffee with a lawyer? Not often and that’s not always the case on Twitter either, however, Twitter allows lawyers to interact much more than other forms of networking.  This puts a human face on law firms.  Potential clients can read lawyer Twitter feeds and get a feel for the character of that person.  This means it’s important for lawyers to show a little bit of their personality when tweeting or interacting on social networks.  Don’t just post links to your own content.

3. Optimizing Offline Events

Many lawyers moan and grown about attending conferences, networking events and CLE educational classes. I know this first hand from working in a business development department in a national law firm. And who can blame the lawyers, there are many other important billable activities that take precedence over pounding the pavement at a conference.  Prior to social media, lawyers pulled out their email lists or business cards from the year before and began arranging meetings for upcoming events.  Landing a new client can take years by conference attendance alone.  Lawyers build their reputation by attending the same conference year after year.  Many times you didn’t even know who was attending beforehand.  Today, many of the major national conferences create Twitter and Facebook pages and encourage attendees to network prior to the event.  INTA is a good example of this. Next time you have an event to attend, do some research online and see what social media platforms they are using.  Target the attendees you want to meet and make a plan to take the conversation offline.

How is social media affecting law firms? There are many answers to this questions and I could go on and on (I’m known to do this!).  Instead, I’ve shared three common ways including content marketing, humanizing the law firm and optimizing offline events.  Do you have any other ways to add? Please feel free to share them in the comments below.

Email me today at samantha@shiftdigitalmedia.com to learn more about how your law firm can use social media for business development.  I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Samantha Collier

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Samantha Collier supports lawyers, law firms and legal industry consultants in their social media marketing efforts. Her blog, Social Media for Law Firms, won the 2011 Canadian Law Blog Awards in the Best Practice Management Category and she was recently recognized as part of "The 24: Canada's Top Legal Social Media Influencers" from The Counsel Network.