Digital marketing is the future of law firm marketing. It gives attorneys the ability to target prospective clients on social media and broadcast content to a large audience. However, digital marketing remains a challenge for small firm attorneys with limited time and money. Gina Rubel will help you understand the digital marketing realm and implement a strategy that works for your firm.
Stephanie Phelan (Failin’) will conduct intro 4-5 minutes and will handle housekeeping and questions
Good day everyone. I am excited to share this time with you. As Stephanie said, we are going to cover digital marketing which is also known as content marketing. We are going to talk mostly about blogging, social media and video and how they can be integrated with your firm’s website strategically. So let’s talk numbers…
According to an ABA Legal Technology report from 2014, lawyers are using digital marketing but, for the most part, there is a lack of integration across the board.
As you can see by this chart, law firms are certainly using website (and I suspect this number has increased even more since this study was conducted), LinkedIn, outbound email marketing and electronic newsletters the most.
But – they are not integrating their tactics for maximum effectiveness.
2016 Social Media and Digital Marketing Survey Reveals Lack of Integration Posted on January 26, 2016 by John Healy Overwhelming Majority Enjoy Support From Their Firms http://www.thenationaltriallawyers.org/2016/01/2016-social-media-and-digital-marketing-survey-reveals-lack-of-integration/
A 2016 qualitative and quantitative survey conducted among attorneys nationwide revealed that their use of social media and digital marketing tools is not integrated, with one tool typically dominating all others depending upon an attorney’s experience and comfort level with social and digital. Survey findings were analyzed by age – ranging from 21 years to 60+ years – and by geographic location. While no strong variances in use exist by location, age is a factor in only one case: younger attorneys who report using Twitter more than any other age group. Most effective Social and digital tools examined in the survey included LinkedIn (396 million users worldwide), Facebook for Business (1.55 billion monthly active users), Twitter (320 million monthly active users), personal blogs, law firm websites, electronic newsletters and outbound email marketing. When asked to choose what tools were the most effective for business development, respondents indicated the following:John Keyes, a patent attorney at Chicago’s Blanchard & Associates, describes the collective use of social media platforms as his firm’s “shop window of the 21stcentury.” Surprisingly, the attorneys surveyed believe that “passive” tools – like a firm’s website – are more effective than electronic newsletters and outbound email marketing, which are typically considered “active” tools. Nearly three-quarters of the survey’s respondents said that their firm’s website is an effective communication tool among clients and prospects, while only a third of respondents indicate that outbound marketing tools are equally effective. Lack of integrated use The most striking finding of the survey was an overall lack of integrated use of social media tools. Those attorneys who favor personal blogs as a social media tool use LinkedIn less than all other attorneys; only 32 percent of bloggers are using LinkedIn. In fact, those in smaller firms use blogs two times more than others. If an attorney is predominantly using LinkedIn as a business development tool, then he or she is significantly less likely to use Facebook for Business or Twitter to generate business. Among those who find LinkedIn to be the most effective tool for business development (78% of all respondents), only 11% find Facebook for Business to be effective and 24% find blogs and Twitter to be effective. “I know in-house counsel are looking at my LinkedIn profile as part of their due diligence,” says Mark Williams, a litigation and trial partner at Sherman & Howard’s Denver office. “I actively use LinkedIn to endorse clients, prospects and referrals sources because helping them succeed strengthens the relationship, which is what social media is all about.” Jeff Lange, a solo practitioner in Chicago, says he uses LinkedIn for lead generation and partnering. “It’s a great way to research potential clients,” Lange says, “and I also use it to connect with potential partners who can help me build my business.” Some attorneys, like Jacob Zahniser of Jordan Ramis PC in Vancouver, WA, are less interested in using LinkedIn for sales purposes: “I think it helps me establish myself as a thought leader, someone who is educated and knowledgeable about specific areas of the law.” Twitter v. Facebook Attorneys who favor Twitter as an effective communications tool are less likely to use Facebook for Business. “Tweeting has been a very enjoyable way to track and share developments in the highly regulated area of employee benefits and executive compensation,” according to Sarah Roe Sise, a partner at Armstrong Teasdale in St. Louis. “It also has been an effective method to share ideas with other practitioners from around the country. Further, it has provided additional exposure and traffic to articles I’ve written on blogs.” Conversely, Bryan Jones of Meldon Law in Gainesville, FL, predominantly uses Facebook for Business because he believes it promotes a “more human connection. I can provide links (to our website), post photos of other attorneys and staff, and really get a dialogue going with my Facebook followers.” The ever-growing array of social media tools provides opportunities to reach diverse client bases beyond the most well-known tools. “Using Google+ has been an effective tool to share information directly with clients,” says David M. Serafin, a Denver-based bankruptcy attorney. “Several clients have also used Google+ to post reviews about my practice.” Firms support digital marketing An overwhelming majority of the survey’s respondents state that their firms provide support for digital and social media marketing efforts: 85 percent say that “support” comes in the form of dedicated marketing staff, while 40 percent are provided with “financial resources/budget.” Other, less predominant support includes the services of an outside public relations or marketing firm, an executive assistant, or “other support staff.” In examining the use of social and digital marketing tools by firm size, there exists few dramatic findings except among respondents in firms with 26-100 attorneys, 81 percent of whom favored LinkedIn over all other social and digital tools. Other similar findings revealed: Bloggers are more prevalent (55.6 percent) in firms with 6-25 attorneys, compared to 17.4 percent in firms with more than 100 attorneys. Facebook for Business is used by 42.5 percent of attorneys in firms with 1-5 attorneys versus 11 percent of those in firms with more than 100 attorneys. LinkedIn is most favored by attorneys in firms with 26-100 attorneys (81 percent), while only 17.4 of respondents in firms of 1-5 attorneys report using LinkedIn. Surprisingly, Twitter showed almost no variance by firm size. When asked about their personal use of social media tools in the future, 63.5 percent of respondents say that it will increase, 34.5 percent say that it will “stay the same,” and only two percent say that it will decrease. Chicago’s Jeff Lange elaborates, saying, “I intend to up my game in 2016, both creating original content and curating existing content. I need to do more than just connect with others and collect ‘Likes.’ So, I plan to be more disciplined about setting aside time every week to get engaged with others on LinkedIn.” Like most things in life, it appears that with social and digital marketing, the more time and effort you invest the greater the return
Here are some of the trends in digital marketing from last year.
Mobile – Is your website responsive? Social distribution – Are you sharing content on social media platforms used by your target audience?
In 2012 LexisNexis analyzed an Attorney Selection Research Study which found that more than 76% of adults looking to hire an attorney used online resources at some point in their search and selection process. This number continues to increase.
The study found that consumers still relied on friends and family for referral advice, but they were slightly more likely to conduct an Internet search instead. And I stress – CONSUMERS. ……
This minimal change in behavior in 2012 will become more pronounced with the continued rise in popularity and credibility of legal ratings and review sites such as AVVO.com (and with the continued “rise” in Google search results for these websites).
Now, more than ever, attorneys need to work really hard to own, manage and maintain their online positions in order to be found by these 76% of the public looking for legal services.
So what are the lawyers and law firms doing?
Go through stats…
Previous slide – lawyers spend 2.1 hours per week blogging. Now think about if those blogging lawyers were to share their blogs via social media regularly.
Your practice area and the audience you serve is important when considering where on social media you should actively engage.
You need to be asking –
What is my strategy Is my audience on social media What is relevant and timely What content will people read and engage with How can I get them to engage further
It goes without saying, be ethical, know your states’ rules of professional conduct
And what visuals can I use
Let’s talk about Facebook. Stats…
Share interesting photos and videos that will attract attention and are relevant to your audience, or engaging enough to be of value. Rich media will allow your messages to stand out from others.
Have conversations either via your individual profile or your firm’s Facebook page. Many law firms overlook the fact that when sharing content, they should also be prompting users to take action, ask for thoughts and feedback, and encourage ongoing discussion on a topic. The potential for negative comments makes many professionals shy away from this tactic, but in reality, those types of comments are a very small proportion of a social media experience.
Be a resource by taking time to craft original content and also providing exclusive content when appropriate. Schedule time to review and respond to other users on Facebook. Timely responses play a critical role in remaining relevant.
When posting a status update, include a link to your website in the post which attracts attention by feeding in an image from the site.
If establishing or building a company page, fully complete the Page Info section which includes options for a general description, business services, mission statement, awards, contact information and more.
Remember that the instantaneous nature of this platform makes Facebook a convenient option for communicating with the firm’s employees and clients in times of crisis. For example, when a natural disaster affects the region and the office is not able to open or is functioning in a limited capacity, let people know by posting information on the firm’s Facebook page.
Over the years, there has been a growing blend of personal use with professional use on Facebook. This mirrors the boom in technology which effectively blurred the division between our personal and professional lives by allowing us to work virtually, work at home after office hours, and be constantly available to others.
Because of the sheer volume of users on this platform, many lawyers and law firms have started to appreciate Facebook as a serious channel for marketing and public relations.
Excellent content that is relevant to your audience will almost always garner attention.
In addition, when necessary:
- Rich media will allow your messages to stand out from others - When sharing content, prompt users to take action, ask for thoughts and feedback and encourage ongoing discussion on a topic - Be a resource by taking time to craft original content - Schedule time to review and respond to other users on Facebook - Link back to website - Complete full company profile - Post status in crisis situations
And let’s look at Twitter Review statistics
In 2013, 59% of Journalists worldwide were using Twitter http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/journalists-twitter/486900
And according to Poynter, a global leader in journalism, in 2015 Journalists were the largest most active verified group on Twitter Last year, journalists made up nearly 25% of all verified accounts on Twitter. I suspect that the number of journalists on Twitter will continue to grow.
Promote your Twitter handle everywhere. Add it to your email signature, include it in articles and columns, add it to the footer of PowerPoint presentations, and put it on your business cards.
Employ the use of hashtags (#) to collate content by topic.
Just like we have a hashtag for today’s presentation: #MarketingforLawyers
Tweet resourceful and creative content and images and engage in trending, timely topics. Always attribute links to other peoples’ articles, blog posts, images, etc. when tweeting or retweeting.
Pose questions to fellow members of Twitter.
Develop relationships with members of the media.
Use a productivity tool (such as HootSuite or CoSchedule) to schedule a series of tweets about the content you are presenting for a CLE or other presentation. Since the content has been written in advance of the event, short snippets of relevant information can be scheduled that include your custom hashtag for the program. Be sure to monitor scheduled tweets to ensure they remain appropriate for the times; avoid sending pre-programmed tweets when Twitter is focused on a breaking news event or major crisis.
Twitter is not for everyone. Both individuals and firms can set up a Twitter account to post tweets – the exchange of small pieces of text that can include links to photos, videos, websites, and blogs.
The methodology and strategy for use will depend on the objectives of the firm. One goal might be to promote the specific knowledge of an individual attorney at the firm – perhaps focusing on a niche within a larger practice group. Another goal may be to attract attention to the firm’s collective knowledge by creating a firm account. Establishing objectives for Twitter use, just like any other social media platform, must be a priority before engagement.
- Promote your Twitter handle everywhere - Employ the use of hashtags (#) to collate content by topic - Be a resource, engage in topical discussions - Always attribute - Use a productivity tool
In to LinkedIn
For lawyers with corporate practices, LinkedIn should be the social media platform of choice.
Add a showcase page to highlight specific practice areas. Note that you will need photographs or illustrations for this section and the firm’s logo in custom sizes. These showcase pages are valuable search tools that target specific audiences.
Alert employees that they are able to select the firm’s name from the company dropdown list on their LinkedIn profile. This will associate their position with the firm’s official page.
Post updates that are brief, authentic (not sales-oriented), and relevant for the firm’s audiences.
Look for content that speaks to a wide segment of audience – business, career, employees, motivation
Post your own content as publications on LinkedIn Pulse and share that with others
LinkedIn – if you’re a working professional and I’m going to make the safe assumption that you are, you need to be on LinkedIn. We’re not even going to talk about LinkedIn because it is so fundamental to working professionals growing and maintaining a relationship network in today’s business environment.
People are verifying you on social media – this is professional attorney-to-attorney referrals too, not just the public. There is no reason not to be here.
- Network naturally - Include keywords - Complete profile - Headshot, professional, not social - Share articles of interest and original content, post questions, and answer questions. - Groups
- Search LinkedIn for your company name to see whether a rudimentary company profile already exists in the database
- Complete profile
- Add a showcase page to highlight specific practice areas. Note that you will need photographs or illustrations for this section and the firm’s logo in custom sizes. These showcase pages are valuable search tools that target specific audiences.
- Alert employees that they are able to select the firm’s name from the company dropdown list on their LinkedIn profile. This will associate their position with the company’s official page.
- Post company updates that are brief, authentic (not sales-oriented), and relevant for the firm’s audiences.
Recap the benefits of social media
Branding Business Development Client / Referral Relations Community Relations Crisis Management Discovery Information / Event Sharing Internal Communications Issue Advocacy
Marketing / Public Relations Media Relations Message Management Networking Publicity Reputation Management Research Social Responsibility Thought Leadership
Note – SlideShare is Owned by LinkedIn
The largest firms are still the most likely to have a legal blog; 62% of respondents from firms of 500 or more lawyers and 47.1% of respondents from firms with 100-499 lawyers reported their firm having a legal blog. The largest growth in blogging is in the largest firms; in 2013, 47% of the 500+ lawyer firms had blogs—a 15% jump in blogs for firms of that size.
In 2014, lawyers who reported having individual (as opposed to firm) blogs for professional purposes remained small; 91.9% of respondents do not have their own blog that they use for professional purposes, remaining steady from the 2013 Survey. Solos and lawyers in firms of 100-499 lawyers (9.9% and 10.2%, respectively) were the most likely to have a personal blog for professional purposes, while less than 7% of respondents from firms in each of the other categories reported maintaining a personal blog for professional purposes. For those who do maintain a personal blog for professional purposes, an average of 2.1 hours per week is spent on the blog. Firms with between 50-99 and 100-499 lawyers spent the most time per week on their blogs, reporting 5.5 hours and 3.8 hours respectively, but in all categories, those who blog spend at least 1.7 hours weekly on blogging activities.
Benefits of Blogging Increased exposure Increased traffic to your blog and/or website Provides industry focused insight Develops loyalty Generates leads Improves search engine rankings Reduces marketing expenses (in some cases)
Your long-term business goals should be considered when deciding if you should blog. For instance, if you handled government and municipal work, and yet you know that your business strictly comes in through relationships and referrals, then you may not want to spend a ton of time blogging.
An evergreen topic in family law would be I am getting divorced. Do I need an attorney? Or How do courts determine who gets custody of children in a divorce?
A timely family law topic would be, for example, one that is responsive to a Supreme Court ruling such as the rights for LGBT couples to marry, or issues in a celebrity divorce case – Angolina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s divorce will spark all sorts of family law blogs.
The rise of online videoOnline video is a much more viable format now than it was a few years ago because of the changes in online user behavior, online technology advances and reduced costs. Here are a few other factors that have contributed to the growth of video: Popularity. According to a recent Pew Internet study, “Generations 2010,” 66% of Internet traffic was video! Sociability. If you use Facebook and/or YouTube, you’ve likely seen video emerging as a primary social medium that is regularly viewed, shared and commented on. Discoverability. Videos are indexed, tagged and fed into the blogosphere and aggregated on websites at an astounding rate, especially when integrated with written summaries of their content. Accessibility. More people can make reasonable quality videos more inexpensively than ever before.
Video: keep it short, feature VIPs, highlight key takeaways DON’T: air live broadcasts mid-afternoon, obsess over mobile, relay on executives to make videos go viral
Making videos aimed at decision makers – need to understand executive consumption habits – Source Alpha Grid – a media company owned by the Financial Times and Unruly (a video tech firm) surveyed senior business and government leaders and when, why and how they watch online videos.
Address websites, thought leadership, PR and syndicates
These too should be considered in your strategic digital marketing plan
but there is not enough time in a one-hour program to speak to each directly.
And while I can personally corroborate these statistics based on analytics data we analyze at Furia Rubel on behalf of our clients, I wish to add that BLOGS have been coming up second to attorney profiles for websites that incorporate blogs in their content.
With that, I turn the mic over to Stephanie Phalan.
(Webinar Slides) Digital Marketing for Lawyers
Digital Marketing for Law Firms
About our presenter
Gina F. Rubel, Esq.
‣ CEO of Furia Rubel Communications, Inc. since 2002
‣ Represents mid-size to Am Law 200 Law Firms
‣ Practiced law before returning to her proactive
‣ Is active on social media (Twitter: @ginarubel)
‣ Lives on a farm outside of Philadelphia, Pa., but grew
up in the City of Brotherly Love
What is most effective for business development
according to lawyers?
Lack of integration
“The most striking finding of the survey was
an overall lack of integrated use of social
media and other electronic tools.”
Source: National Trial Lawyers;
January 26, 2016
33% of lawyers and 52% of law firms
maintain a Facebook presence.
10% of lawyers and 19% of law firms
maintain a Twitter presence.
Source: American Bar Association; MyCase
96% of lawyers and 90% of law firms
maintain a LinkedIn profile.
62% of law firms maintain social networks.
78% of lawyers maintain one or more social
media for professional purposes.
Lawyers spend 1.7 hours per week using
social networking sites for professional purposes.
Poll Slide #1
How do you manage your social media profiles?
• I manage them myself.
• Someone other than me manages them for me.
• I don’t use social media.
Poll Slide #2
If you use social media for your law practice, for
what predominant purpose do you use it?
• Career development and/or networking
• Education and/or awareness
• Client development
• Case investigation
Source: American Bar Association; MyCase
The most common reasons
lawyers maintain social networks
Source: American Bar Association; MyCase
Lawyers in the following practice areas
PERSONALLY maintain social networks