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Social media spending continues to accelerate. Will law firms keep up?

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.