Social media spending by is expected to double in the next year. This per a survey of Fortune 1000 and Forbes 200 marketing executives conducted by Duke University and the American Marketing Association.

Highlights from the survey include:

  • Internet marketing spending as a percent of budget is up 12.2%, while traditional advertising is expected to fall 2.5%.
  • Within one year social media spending is expected to be 10% of all marketing expenditures and nearly 18% in five years.
  • The biggest increase in current social media spending is among B2C Services companies (from 2.9% to 6.9%).
  • The largest increase in social media spending in the next year will come among B2B Services companies (from 6.5% to 11%).

No question law firms are paying attention to social media today. Social media is all the buzz at legal industry conferences. The ABA Annual Conference has no less than 12 sessions concerning social media. However, I’m not sure social media spending will be 10 or 11% of law firm marketing budgets in the next year.

Some small and solo law firms which look to word of mouth, networking, and relationship building as their principal means of business development may hit those numbers when factoring in a combination of lawyers’ time and consulting and social media solution expenses.

Large law firms may have a marketing budget of 3 to 5% of gross revenue. Assuming $750 million in revenue means a marketing budget of $22.5 to $37.5. I’d be surprised to hear of managing partners and chief marketing officers of large law firms planning to spend $3 to $4 million on social media. Such firms are apt to spend their Internet marketing dollars on websites, email newsletters, alerts, directories, and Internet public relations.

Law firms have more to gain from social media than other business. Social media is based upon on engagement, networking, reputation building, and relationships. The exact keys to business development success in the law.

Social media provides a golden opportunity for law firms to gain an edge on their competitors. It’ll be interesting to see what firms take advantage of the opportunity by keeping pace with their client companies when it comes to social media spending.

Hat tip to Brian Solis for turning me on to this survey.

  • …and, for Heaven’s sake, in many cases, just *start* spending on social media-period!
    Kevin, it will be interesting to watch how law firms trend in this area. Firms just need to find a way to become educated enough to get over the fear they are feeling. I spoke to a law firm representative this week who said he didn’t have time to do what he normally does in his job, much less worry about social media, so it wasn’t going to happen for a while. I reminded him there are ways to reach out and ask for help, and that he doesn’t do everything else in his marketing plan himself, and not to think of social media as being something he needs to master personally before dipping his firm’s toe in the water, or thinking about how to add social media to overall marketing strategy.

  • It does start with education Nancy. Most law firms, understandably, do not understand social media. The first $ I would spend on social media if I were a law firm is on education. What’s this all about? If we were to engage on social media, what would we do? What are other law firms like ours doing?
    The key is getting someone who can truly help educate you. Many law firms are being led on the social media front by in-house people and consultants who don’t understand social media. There are far too many marketing/pr professionals trying to re-create their careers on the back of social media being received by law firms and bar assocations as social media authorities.

  • I think all attorneys need to be concerned about social media, because the Bar association and all other law related organizations, like the “Commission on Judicial Performance,” are not doing anything to protect the public from criminally inclined attorneys and Judges.
    The media as a whole needs to dig deep in to what these professionals are doing, not so much in this genre, but definitely in family law where children are hurt for profit.

  • I think Law firms would have already participated in the Facebook’s latest Question and Answer area to get out public opinion. If not I would suggest they prefer social commerce to get know about them. What say?