By Gina F. Rubel
Special to the Legal
On the legal marketing and public relations side of social media, the industry is abuzz with trying to determine how to measure the value of engagement. There are a ridiculous number of articles, blogs, conversations and metrics surfacing -- all trying to tell us how to measure the return on investment (ROI) as it relates to an attorney's time spent online networking.
So let's do the math. Attorney A works in the area of business transactions. She writes a blog called BizLawTrends (a fictitious and available URL at the time I drafted this post). The marketing department helps her market the blog. The blog is cross-linked to the firm website and vice versa.
Attorney A blogs about the legal issues facing businesses today. She then shares those posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, JD Supra, Google Reader, etc. There are links added in the firm's electronic newsletter sending traffic to the firm’s blog.
Attorney A receives comments and queries to which she responds. Journalists call for interviews because she appears to be a subject matter expert. Eventually, all this lands two new clients who, when asked how they heard about Attorney A state that they read her blog but have no idea how they got there.
Now, in the first year of the engagements, those two clients are worth $80,000 in billable hours to the firm collectively. How does one go back and measure the ROI? What are all of the touch points and how much time and money was invested to land those two clients? Suffice it to say that we don’t know exactly how they heard about the blog to begin with. Sometimes this can be discerned, sometimes it cannot.
In this scenario, the ROI is virtually impossible to measure, but Attorney A landed two new clients worth substantial revenue in the first year. Those clients then become referral sources because they are so satisfied with the legal services provided. More new clients come in the door. Are you still trying to measure the ROI?
Think of it this way: every time you attend a networking function, do you track every minute of time spent, along with the cost to attend? To some extent you should -- but the question is, do you? Then do you compare that to every person you spoke with and everything that happened as a result of every single conversation? If you answer yes to these questions, you are absolutely in the minority. Again, I'm not saying lawyers shouldn’t track. I'm saying that many don't and many won't.
Ask the following questions. As a result of our social media efforts:
- Are we getting more hits to our website (i.e. where is the traffic coming from)?
- Does our website rank higher (this can be measured)?
- Are the lawyers in our firm being invited to speak at more events?
- Are our lawyers being asked to share their opinions with the media?
- Are others sharing our content via social media (re-Tweeting, sharing, commenting, etc.)?
- Have new relationships formed?
- Do our attorneys’ names come up when typed into a search engine query in places other than our website (I truly hope they come up on your website -- if not, you have even more work to do)?
If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then your firm's time is well spent in social media engagement.
Gina F. Rubel is the owner of Furia Rubel Communications Inc., a public elations nd marketing agency with a niche in legal communications. A former Philadelphia trial attorney and public relations expert, Rubel is the author of "Everyday Public Relations for Lawyers." Rubel and her agency have won numerous awards for legal communications, public relations, media relations, strategic planning, corporate philanthropy and leadership. She maintains a blog at www.ThePRLawyer.com and is a regular contributor to The Legal Intelligencer blog. You can find her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/ginafuriarubel or follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ginarubel. For more information, go to www.FuriaRubel.com.