By Gina F. Rubel
Special to the Legal
Like it or not, social media and electronic communications are here to stay and they are tools that cannot be overlooked in the legal marketing strategy by law firms and lawyers. Here are 10 statistics that should not be ignored.
Social media matters. Business-to-business marketers believe social media is critical to organic search success. Marketers rate social media as the second-most important factor (64 percent) in search, behind only strong content (82 percent). While many law firms have focused on content for their websites, they are still slow to the mound when it comes to social media engagement. It’s time to shoot for a base hit at the very least. (B2B Magazine.)
It starts at the top. Company executives, including law firm partners, management and CMOs, need to be involved in social media. Seventy-seven percent of buyers say they are more likely to buy from a company whose CEO uses social media. Ninety-four percent said C-suite social media participation enhances a brand image. And 82 percent of employees say they trust a company more when the CEO and leadership team communicate via social media. However, as is the case with law firms, partners, associates, staff and legal marketers still have to be aware of the ethical and practical implications of social media engagement. Therefore, engage with a policy and strategy in place. (Emarketer.)
Less is more. Audiences engage less on social media the more you post per day. When a brand posts twice a day, those posts only receive 57 percent of the likes and 78 percent of the comments per post. Law firms and lawyers need to be that much more strategic. (Track Social.)
Purpose trumps ego. A recent email trends and benchmarks report shows a steady increase in open rates over both Q4 2011 and Q1 2012. Open rates for triggered messages (a.k.a., those emails that were “triggered” in response to an event or to share information about something of value to the target audience) were 75 percent higher than "business as usual" (BAU) emails in Q1 2012, dropping from 101 percent in Q1 2011. In fact, triggered messages continued to perform well with significantly stronger click rates (119 percent higher) than BAU. This means that law firm electronic alerts about important information for their target audiences are going to be opened more than the "look at us" emails. (Epsilon & DMA.)
Mobile is on the move. In June 2012, Litmus released email marketing statistics outlining subscriber behaviors. Among their findings was an 80 percent increase in smartphone and tablet use to open emails since December 2011. Law firms must provide email messages that fit the platforms used to open them. (Litmus.)
Facebook fans are quiet. In a given week, less than 0.5 percent of Facebook fans engage with the brand they are fans of. So while it is important for a law firm to own its profile on Facebook and to share relevant, worthwhile content, it is certainly not where the firm should spend the majority of its social media engagement time. (Admap.)
Adults use social media. Ninety-one percent of today’s online adults use social media regularly. That means decision-makers for the hiring of lawyers are online. It doesn’t matter if you are providing business litigation, personal injury, domestic law, estate and tax, labor and employment, intellectual property or any other type of legal service – your clients and prospective clients use social media. (Experian.)
Fortune 100s embrace Twitter. With more than 340 million tweets per day, Twitter is driving the online conversation as it relates to Fortune 100 companies. Twitter is also the platform of choice among global companies. Corporate lawyers need to know what is being said about their clients by monitoring the online chatter. (Burson-Marsteller.)
Organic trumps pay-to-play. Google gets 3 billion-plus searches per day and 75 percent of all clicks go to SEO (organic) links as opposed to paid Google ads. That means a law firm’s website content, blog content, online press releases, directory listings, media quotes, articles, calendar listings and other content all matter as to how a law firm and its lawyers are found online. In fact, the most valuable forms of marketing content are blog posts, social media, articles and guides and press releases. (SEOMOZ and Hubspot.)
Social media affects litigation. By now, we have all heard stories about how tweets, texts, Facebook postings, Flickr posts, blogs and all other forms of social media updates have been the focus of discovery requests and court rulings – yet, some courts and counsel have not embraced the need to instruct and monitor jurors on the use of social media. A number of states and the Federal Court are adopting new model jury instructions for just that reason. It’s important that litigators and judges are educated on the need for same to be effective at trial. (U.S. Courts.)
Gina F. Rubel is the owner of Furia Rubel Communications, a strategic marketing and public relations agency with a niche in legal marketing. A former trial attorney, she is the author of Everyday Public Relations for Lawyers. Rubel and her agency have won many awards for legal communications, PR, media relations, website and graphic design, strategic planning, corporate philanthropy and leadership. She maintains a blog, is a contributor to National Law Review, The Legal Intelligencer Blog, AVVO Lawyernomics and The Huffington Post. You can find her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter. For more information, go to www.FuriaRubel.com.