Social media gets lawyers hired

According to a new survey from Findlaw, 54 percent of consumers say they would likely hire an attorney who is active on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. This is particularly true for younger Americans – 69 percent between the ages of 18 and 44 would hire attorneys who are active on social media.

This is hardly surprising given the amount of time people spend online, with most of their time on social media sharing personal items, news, information and commentary.

The FindLaw survey found that 84 percent of American adults use at least one form of social media, with Facebook being the most popular (73 percent), followed by Instagram (28 percent), Twitter (27 percent), Pinterest (24 percent), LinkedIn (21 percent) and SnapChat (16 percent).

Given these exchanges on social media, consumers are increasingly relying on social media when making purchasing decisions. The FindLaw survey found that 34 percent of consumers have already used social media to help them select a service provider, such a lawyer, plumber or doctor. Nearly half – 48 percent of consumers 18-to-34 have used social media this way.

People hire service providers, especially lawyers, based on trust and word of mouth. Social media enables lawyers to establish trust and a strong word of mouth reputation, whether a lawyer is discussing a legally related matter or something else.

From Mark Jacobsen, senior director of Strategic Development and Thought Leadership at FindLaw:

Consumers are increasingly using [social media] to inform their decisions on hiring service providers such as attorneys. Having a strong social media presence helps professionals to show that they are actively looking to engage prospective clients, and to demonstrate their expertise, knowledge and experience. Social media, in its many forms, has become an important part of the fabric of our daily lives, and attorneys need to make it an integral part of their marketing efforts.

Most lawyers and law firms look at Internet marketing as a passive sport. Hire someone to build a website, do some SEO to gain attention and get a marketing person “to create” a social media presence for you.

Lawyers will find, as this survey indicates, that such marketing will become increasingly less effective. Real authentic engagement by you as a lawyer, whether blogging, or being active on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will be needed to establish trust, a reputation and relationships.