I received an advance copy of what may be the most definitive report demonstrating the return law firms are seeing from their investment in blogs and other social media. ALM Legal Intelligence’s report, “FANS, FOLLOWERS AND CONNECTIONS: Social Media ROI for Law Firms,” reads in part:
After a slow start, the legal services industry is gaining confidence in the use of social media. The skepticism of a few years ago has given way to a growing appreciation for the ways that blogs and various other social media and networking tools can be deployed to help build the reputation of individual lawyers and practice groups—and enhance law firms’ marketing efforts. There is no question that it takes a significant investment of staff and lawyers’ time to develop a presence in the blogosphere, or on networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. But law firms that have taken the plunge are starting to see definite returns on their investment, in terms of greater visibility as well as attracting some new clients and matters. And their success has been causing many of the more skeptical firms to begin venturing into the world of social media.
Key findings of the report included:
- ALMOST 85 PERCENT of law firms who responded to our survey reported that their lawyers make use of social media and networking tools such as the professional networking site LinkedIn, as well as Facebook and Twitter. Also, 70 percent said that their firms now maintain one or more blogs.
- NEARLY 90 PERCENT of respondents said that they believe that the integration of social media into their firms’ marketing, business development, and recruiting efforts is an important priority.
- NEARLY HALF of respondents reported that blogging and social networking initiatives had helped produce leads for new matters or clients. And approximately 40 percent said that those efforts had helped them to land new work. (emphasis added)
- MORE THAN HALF of respondents said that their firms plan to increase their budget for social media initiatives (such as training staff and improving their Web sites) in 2012. Just over 20 percent said their firms already have a full-time social media specialist on staff, and only 2 percent planned to hire one in the coming year.
- MORE THAN 40 PERCENT of those surveyed said that blogs and social media networks have helped to increase the number of calls their firms receive from reporters in traditional and new media. Likewise, roughly the same number said their presence in the blogosphere and on social media networks had also increased the number of speaking invitations their lawyers receive.
Firms also appear increasingly intent on using blogs in order to generate attention for their attorneys and to try to distinguish themselves as experts in their practice areas: Seventy percent of respondents said their firms maintain blogs. Of that number, 23 percent reported having at least four to six blogs, while just over 10 percent have at least seven. Moreover, firms that host blogs appear to be committed to keeping content fresh, with 61 percent reporting that they update their blogs at least one or two times per week. Thirteen of the top 20 law firms in the U.S. maintain blogs.
Over eight years ago when I started blogging about why lawyers ought to blog for business development folks asked what I was smoking. No more. Armed with this report and other reports from corporate America on the benefits of blogging, you can expect lawyers and legal marketing professionals to have a much easier time making the case for blogging in their law firms.