Which Law 50 Firms Are Really Engaged With Their Clients?
The first part of the study, The Social Law Firm White Paper, was published in mid- December and detailed the overall findings, as well as briefly explained the methodology that was used to determine the rankings in the Social Law Firm Index.
Reach represented the total number of unique people who could have the law firm’s content. Reach includes the number of followers on Twitter, LinkedIn, Company page likes on Facebook, and followers or subscribers on other social media channels (for example: YouTube channel subscribers or Slideshare followers).
This study was conducted from June-October 2013 and the results showed that across all public social networks, DLA Piper had a significant advantage over all other law firms when it came to reach. DLA has large numbers of followers on Twitter and LinkedIn and also received bonus points for having a firm presence on YouTube, Pinterest and Slideshare. DLA also was the only firm to have a strong presence on Google+, a very important emerging social network. Hogan Lovells also had strong numbers when it came to reach, having the second highest number of likes on their Facebook firm page and placing in third place when it came to followers on LinkedIn.
“Social media is an important way for us to communicate with a range of different audiences wherever they are, including our clients, recruits and the media,” said Barbara Taylor, Chief Marketing Officer of DLA Piper, LLP (US). “The entrepreneurial spirit of our firm empowered us to be early adopters and we have expanded our channels as the firm has grown, making social media an increasingly vital part of our strategy.”
Other firms that distinguished themselves when it came to reach are White & Case and Skadden. Tom Kennedy, a Skadden Partner and Global Head of Knowledge Strategy said, “Our social media efforts are a core part of our thought leadership, recruiting, pro-bono, community engagement and marketing strategies. We take a practical approach to these efforts and aim to reach our audiences where and how they digest content, whether they are members of the legal and business communities, law students or other interested parties.”
One interesting firm that stood out is Baker McKenzie, which had the highest number of followers on LinkedIn but had virtually no presence on other social networks.
Engagement measured the actual interaction with the firm’s content via their own website and through social media. This includes comments on the firm’s website, comments and shares and likes (for status updates) on Facebook, Re-Tweets, mentions or or being favored on Twitter, likes and shares on LinkedIn and plus+1’s and shares on Google+.
Engagement is becoming increasingly important for rankings on the major search engines and is often a significant indicator of the overall success of a firm’s social media strategy.
Interestingly, many law firms are taking the time to develop interesting and useful content. However, the method by which they are publishing this content is often ineffective for consumption via social media. Most firms are publishing this content in PDF format which is not optimal for sharing and engagement. Other firms suffer from content that is too long and not easily read over social media channels.
A few firms that distinguish themselves with engagement include, once again, DLA which had the highest number of likes on Facebook and Re-Tweets and mentions on Twitter. Baker McKenzie had a very strong showing on LinkedIn, but virtually no engagement anywhere else, while White & Case has strong numbers on Facebook and LinkedIn but little to no engagement on Twitter. Jones Day is an example of quality over quantity, showing that although their reach is not as high as other firms, their overall engagement with their target audience is working, a sign of a good content strategy.
The rankings are an indication of the top performers in the social arena. However, as was revealed in the Social Law Firm White Paper, Guy Alvarez, a former lawyer, Co-Founder and Chief Engagement Officer of Good2bSocial states, “The large U.S. law firms are at the very early stages of use and deployment of social media practices. The opportunity to improve law firm business and client service through strategic social media and technology is enormous. The handful of firms who do this well are clearly going to increase their share of the pie”
The survey will continue in 2014 and expand to include the Am Law 100 and other firms that shine in their use of social technologies including visual and video. The results and rankings are not meant as a criticism of any law firm, but rather as a means of educating and providing a benchmark for those in the US legal industry and to provide suggestions as to what firm management can do to improve their social presence.