Law firms would be well served to know which social media are most popular for our nation’s fastest growing businesses. After all, networking to build relationships and enhance your word of mouth reputation requires going where the people are.

Jon Xavier (@jxav) of the Silicon Valley Business Journal reports that LinkedIn is now the most popular, supplanting Facebook.

Here’s a summary of a study by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on which social media Inc. 500 companies are using.

  • LinkedIn – 81% of companies are using, up from 73% last year
  • Facebook – declined to 67% from 74% last year
  • Twitter – 64%, steady from 67% last year
  • YouTube – 45%, up from 30% last year
  • Foursquare – 28%, up from 13%
  • Pinterest – already at 18%

Why LinkedIn as the leader? Per Xavier:

The report comes as a validation for LinkedIn, which has been angling to become an essential tool for business with advanced products for recruiting, and which has reinvented itself as a content destination by beefing up its distribution tools with things like LinkedIn Today.

Law firms and lawyers have always viewed LinkedIn as the leader so the findings may come as no surprise.

Two items law firms ought to make note of though. One, the strategic use of content on LinkedIn. Whether it be via people sharing news and information to their connections or LinkedIn Today, LinkedIn provides a wonderful vehicle for engagement. I am seeing more and more likes and comments on items I share on LinkedIn — almost surpassing the engagement I experience on Facebook.

Two, don’t dismiss these other social media. Facebook is invaluable to a lawyer for nurturing relationships. Twitter as a learning, brand building, and relationship building tool is wonderful for a lawyer. YouTube, if used for teaching, is a cost effective use of our favorite type of media – visual. Foursquare and Pinterest I have not used as much, but I am sure if you enjoy them they can be relationship building tools for lawyers.

Bottom line is social media is now part of the fabric of corporate America. Sitting on the sidelines or being cautious in your approach out of unfounded fear is to going to hurt your business development efforts — significantly.