Facebook is losing out to other social media platforms for law firms, according to a new report.
Consultancy Good2bSocial’s annual report card, the Social Law Firm Index includes more firms than ever since commencing its reports in 2013, measuring social media reach, performance, engagement on both firm websites and social media platforms.
DLA Piper came out on top for its digital marketing efforts.
And the report shows that while Facebook is losing popularity, LinkedIn and Instagram are growing in popularity in terms of how firms direct their marketing efforts.
The latest rankings, released Tuesday, place DLA Piper at No. 1, followed by White & Case, Norton Rose Fulbright, Baker McKenzie and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.
Norton Rose Fullbright, which topped the overall rankings last year, came in first in 2019 when it came to “thought leadership,” while Baker McKenzie led the group in SEO optimization.
Ranked by their reach and engagement on individual platforms, Squire Patton Boggs was No. 1 for Twitter, Quarles & Brady for Facebook, Baker McKenzie for LinkedIn, Jones Day for YouTube and DLA Piper for Instagram.
More Social Media Savvy
Law firms are becoming more social media savvy the report shows.
Guy Alvarez, Good2bSocial’s founder and CEO, said that more firms are taking advantage of automated marketing systems such as Hubspot or Pardot to help develop their leads and messaging.
They are also ‘digging deep’ into performance metrics to ascertain their return on investment.
“Law firms are actively doing things on social media, but very few know how to measure ROI and how to use [social media] as a marketing campaign to get the results they want,” Alvarez said in an interview. “Before you figure out what your ROI is, you need to know what your business purposes are.”
He said firms typically use social media for one or more of four reasons: to build brand awareness, to generate more leads, to provide more value to clients through cross-selling practice areas and to help differentiate themselves from their competition.
Each of those goals can require a different strategy and a different platform depending upon what the firm is seeking to achieve.
But More to Do, Too
However law firms also lag behind other professional services like the Big Four accounting practices. Many will put up promotional content only when they should be engaging more with their audience.
“A lot of firms are still using social media as sort of a one-way content marketing tool,” he said. “The ones that struggle are just putting up promotional content. Social media is meant to engage and be social.”
Alvarez said the firms that struggle the most tend to have a couple of things in common. First, they usually make decisions that are not based on data. They miss out on opportunities to course-correct or change strategies if a campaign doesn’t bear fruit. If you don’t check the data, he said, how will you know if it is working?
Another common pitfall is a basic lack of content—whether on a firm’s website, within lawyer biographies or on social platforms. Having content that is robust, useful to clients and search-friendly can go a long way in driving traffic to a firm’s site, he said.
While social media can be a marketing blessing, Alvarez also said there are also elements that can make it dangerous.
“If some bad news about your firm is out there, it will get around quick,” he said. “Getting on top of that can be difficult.” He also said that firms can be concerned about what their attorneys might write that could come back to haunt them .
Alvarez said more and more firms are putting social media training into their professional development programs and hiring consultants to work with attorneys to maximize their marketing advantage and avoid social media peril.
While many of the latest trends aren’t new there are some that Alvarez said he did not see coming.
He said he was surprised at how many firms had “jumped on the Instagram bandwagon.” Firms such as DLA Piper and White & Case have done a good job, he said, of telling stories on the platform and even using it as a recruiting tool.
On the flip side, “I was surprised at how much and how quickly firm usage of Facebook has declined,” Alvarez said. “Cambridge Analytica and privacy issues helped move that along. We saw some decline last year, but this year was a huge drop. Some firms have given up on Facebook completely.”
Download the social media index report here