Lawyers and social media: it hasn’t always been the best of partnerships. When social media first emerged on the scene nearly a decade ago, many lawyers discounted it as a passing fad. But, over time, as social media has impacted all aspects of our lives, from how we communicate to how we do business, lawyers have begun to see the light.
That’s why in 2017, more lawyers and law firms are using social media than ever before. In fact, according to the American Bar Association’s most recent Legal Technology Survey Report, 74% of law firms now maintain a presence on a social network and 76% of lawyers report that they personally use one or more social media networks for professional purposes. Lawyer use social media for a number of reasons, including career development/networking (73%), client development (51%), education/current awareness (35%), and case investigation (21%).
25% of lawyers have had a client retain them because of their social media interactions, compared with 24% in 2015, 23% in 2014, and 19% in 2013. Solo attorneys were the most likely to report this (34%), while attorneys from large firms (100 or more lawyers) were the least likely at 16%.
This begs the question: which platforms are the most popular for legal marketing? And which ones do lawyers prefer to use for professional networking? Let’s do a deep dive into the results of the survey and find out!
Lawyers and blogging
Some lawyers have been blogging for over a decade now, but most lawyers didn’t even know what a blog was at the turn of the century. But times have changed and many lawyers find that blogging is an effective way to showcase expertise and interact online. However, the percentage of law firms that maintain a blog has remained consistent for the past four years, at 26%. Large law firms with of 100 or more attorneys were the most likely to maintain a blog in 2016, at 56% (compared with 54% in 2015, 53% in 2014, and 46% in 2013). Next up were firms with 10-49 attorneys at 26%, followed by 20% of firms 2-9 attorneys, and 12% of solo lawyers. When it comes to practice areas, the following types of firms were the most likely to have a blog: personal injury (35%), litigation (31%), and employment and labor (27%).
If you’re interested in starting a law blog for your firm but aren’t sure where to start, make sure to read our post about blogging tips for lawyers for advice on blogging effectively.
Lawyers and LinkedIn
Of all the social media networks, LinkedIn is the most popular with lawyers and law firms, and for good reason: it’s the “professional” social network. Because its focus is professional rather than social, lawyers are understandably more comfortable with it.
That’s why 91% of firms of 100 or more attorneys have a presence in LinkedIn, followed by 85% of solos, 76% of mid-sized firms with 10-49 lawyers, and 63% of smaller firms with 2-9 lawyers. Nearly 80% of all individual lawyers have a profile on Linkedin as well. Solos and lawyers from mid-sized firms lead the way, with 99% of lawyers from firms with 10-49 lawyers using LinkedIn and 91% of solos. In third place were lawyers from firms of 2-9 lawyers at 85%.
To learn more about using LinkedIn effectively, read our post “LinkedIn 101 for Lawyers.”
Lawyers on Facebook and Twitter
Although Facebook has a reputation as being purely social, it has a lot to offer lawyers, both in terms of professional networking and maintaining an effective online presence. Because it’s such a social network, many lawyers begin to interact on Facebook for social reasons, but eventually recognize its potential for professional purposes as well.
Lawyers use Facebook for a number of reasons, with some reporting that they use if only for personal reasons, including 89% of solos, 89% of lawyers from small firms, 82% of attorneys from mid-sized firms, and 80% from large firms of 100 or more. The most active lawyers on Facebook for professional purposes are solos at 48%, followed by 41% of lawyers from small firms (2-9 attorneys). Mid-sized firms with 10-49 lawyers were next at 22%, with lawyers at firms with 100 or more lawyers coming in last at 16%.
Twitter is the least popular major social network, although lawyers do use it. Lawyers from mid-sized firms lead the way with 26% maintaining a Twitter account, followed by 25% of solos, 25% of large firm lawyers, and 24% of small firm lawyers.
Lawyers and websites
Websites, while not technically a form of social media, are a very effective way for lawyers to provide a virtual “front door” for clients and highlight their firm’s focus and their lawyers’ areas of expertise. So it’s not surprising that the vast majority of law firms (85%) have a website in 2017. Large and mid-sized law firms lead the way at 99% each, followed by 87% of small firm lawyers and 62% of solos.
You can learn more about the essentials for law firm websites in this blog post. And, don’t forget to check out how MyCase Websites can take your law firm’s online presence to the next level.
So now that you’ve learned how other lawyers are using social media in 2017, how do you compare? Are you using social media effectively or is it time to make some changes? What steps can you take to get more value out of your online interactions and make the upcoming year the best it can be for your law firm?