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Law firm social media : Objectives and measurement of effectiveness misaligned?

The State of Social Media Marketing Report (pdf) from Awareness finds there’s quite a misalignment by marketers between their social media business objectives and the way they are measuring the effectiveness of their use of social media.

Although marketers agree that they need to drive higher customer engagement and revenues with social marketing, only 47% of them actually measure what they do and invest in what matters. The majority of social marketers (66%) are still spending time and effort to grow social fans and followers or create and publish content, while only 39% are thinking about how to integrate social marketing with the rest of the organization.

It’s anecdotal, but I don’t think those findings are far off for law firms. Most law firms are looking for traffic and followers from social media. We may not even have 39% of firms thinking about how they are going to integrate social media with the rest of their marketing and business development.

What are marketers’ objectives for social media? The report’s findings of customer (client) engagement, revenue generation, and increased thought leadership are much in line with most law firm’s objectives in using social media.

Top business objectives for social media

Note that better customer engagement is higher than revenue. Businesses are realizing customer engagement via social media will lead to increased revenue when social media is used correctly.

The misalignment between goals for social media and results is that businesses are still stuck on measuring effectiveness by the number of followers and the traffic to a website. A lot of followers and website traffic do not measure customer engagement, businesses leading objective in using social media.

But there’s hope per the report. Per Steve Olinski, who turned me onto the report, businesses are starting to measure sentiment, share of voice, share of social conversations, and social influence. All measures of customer engagement. Lawyer and law firms would be wise to look at this reports findings. The leading way that lawyers and law firms retain clients and land new clients is word of mouth reputation and relationships. Social media accelerates relationships and the word of mouth reputation of good lawyers.

Look at client/prospective client engagement and engagement with their influencers and amplifiers (bloggers, trade/mass media, association leaders, conference coordinators) as an objective for social media. Also include influence, thought leadership, and growing your network of relationships. Revenue will follow if you are using social media correctly.

Lawyers and law firms ought not measure the effectiveness of their use of social media with followers/fans or traffic to the firm’s website. Measure engagement by looking at social influence, share of voice, share of social conversations, and social influence.

Such measurements may be subjective, but they are every bit as real as to how a lawyer and law firm would measure engagement offline. We just don’t have web stats and follower lists when we’re growing relationships and our word of mouth reputation offline.

Just because it’s social media, use your common sense in setting objectives and measuring the effectiveness of your efforts.