March 20, 2014
Midsized Law firms are increasingly securing the types clients that traditionally used only the largest law firms. While cost reduction likely plays a large role, midsized firms are making the most of the current climate by effectively using social media to bolster their brand and cater to their clients.
First, Large Law firms: According to the February report “The Social Law Firm,” Large Law firms use social media “ineffectively.” For them, social media is mostly a broadcasting opportunity, apparently with sporadic market or competitor research. Many have presences on major platforms, like LinkedIn and Twitter, but use them intermittently. The result is “low levels of reach and engagement relative to the resources available and the market opportunity.”
Now, on to Midsized Firms: A recent study from LinkedIn (so, note the source and take the results with a grain of salt), found that medium-sized businesses rely on social media for building relationships, marketing and business development. To a lesser extent, they also use social media to learn industry practices, seek expert opinion and advice and educate themselves. The businesses in this study use social media more frequently than Large Law firms do. So, a reasonable conclusion might be that Midsized Laws firm uses social media more frequently and to fulfill a greater variety of goals than Large Law firms do.
Now, this is all connecting the dots a bit, and there are many exceptions. “The Social Law Firm” was about Large Law firms exclusively, but LinkedIn’s study is not about Midsized Law firms specifically. Even so, what interests me about comparing this apple to that orange is that Large Law firms, as a group, evidently are not paying as much attention to social media as Midsized Law firms are.
Why might this be the case?
- Since Midsized Firms generally face more pressure than Large Law firms do to have a higher volume of clients, social media also serves a client-recruitment function.
- In Midsized Firms, individual attorneys are often responsible for their own marketing, whereas Large Law firms often have marketing departments – marketing departments that might be committed to other things and do not have the capacity for social media.
- Large Law firms are not typically described as “nimble” or “responsive.” Social media might still be a new concept. Midsized Law firms, however, tend to be more responsive. That could account for their greater degree of social media participation.
While every law firm has its own approach to online engagement, law firms of every size would benefit from fully understanding the potential value of social media as a source of business development and insights.