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65% of online adults use social networking sites : Time for lawyers to wake up

Those are the fundings of the Pew Research Center’s social media survey released last Friday.

The New York Times’ Somini Sengupta jumped on the fundings to proclaim another milestone being crossed with over one half of all Americans using social networks.

That’s 50 percent of all Americans, not just those who say they are online. Six years ago, when Pew first conducted a similar survey, only 5 percent of all adults said they used social sites, like Facebook, LinkedIn or MySpace.

It is a sign of how deeply and widely social networking companies have penetrated the lives of ordinary people and in turn, transformed the ways in which people communicate, authorities govern and companies sell things.

For those adults online, which includes virtually anyone who would be hiring a lawyer, the rates of participation are higher at 65 percent.

Sure social networks attract more people in the 18-29 age group (63%), but 51 percent of those in the 50-64 age group are using social networks. The core group of clients, prospective clients, and referral sources for lawyers.

Per the survey, neither income nor education seemed to have any statistically significant bearing on the use of social networking sites. No matter the demographic group of clients you represent, there’s a far greater chance they are using social networking than not.

Your clients and prospective clients do not look at social networking as a waste of time. From Pew Research:

…[W]hen social networking users were asked for one word to describe their experiences using social networking sites, “good” was the most common response (as seen in this word cloud). Overall, positive responses far outweighed the negative and neutral words that were associated with social networking sites (more than half of the respondents used positive terms). Users repeatedly described their experiences as “fun,” “great,” “interesting” and “convenient.” Less common were superlatives such as “astounding,” “necessity,” and “empowering.”

It’s funny how good lawyers and legal marketing professionals continue to debate the merits of social networking. They’re ignoring reality.

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  • http://www.lawfirmmarketingpodcast.com Dan Toombs

    Couldn’t agree more, the sharing of useful content is where its at and will be the defining factor in separating your law firm from others in the space. With the low entry fee for a website these days, there is no excuse for a firm not to have an effective web presence, but from our experience, the generation and smart syndication across social media channels of good content is the struggle for most firms. It’s those who are up for the struggle who will dominate the market in more ways than one.