CNBC’s Uptin Saiidi (@uptinreports that social media influence marketing is eleven times more effective than online advertising pursuant to a new study by TapInfluence.

As a result, marketers are moving advertising dollars from print, television and online ads to social media.

Liz Dunn, CEO of Talmadge Advisors, told CNBC:

Consumers trust the opinions of those in their social media group, including friends, bloggers and celebrities, more than messages they are getting directly from brands. As a result, retailers and brands are trying to cultivate relationships with influencers to gain consumer attention.

Here’s how marketing professionals Saiidi spoke with view the move from advertising to social media.

  • From Lee Hurley, the marketing director for Aloha: “You’re more influenced by what they’re posting if you saw a banner ad.  The things someone is promoting, you’re more likely to investigate it or purchase it down the line.”
  • From Nancy Slavin, senior vice president of Macy’s merchandising group: “The influencers we feature tell an aspirational yet relatable story. That enables the company “to connect with consumers in a more interesting and ultimately more engaging way than traditional marketing allows.”
  • From Yory Wurmser, an analyst at eMarketer : “[Advertisers are aware of this trend for sure, and they’ll likely create new ways to encourage and enable influencers… A lack of authenticity could breed consumer cynicism above all.

Connecting with influencers before advertising, connecting with customers in an engaging way and authenticity to avoid cynicism. That covers a lot of ground.

Law firms pour a lot of money into online advertising.

  • Websites.
  • Online banner ads at sites including The Wall Street Journal, ALM properties, Bloomberg, Above The Law, local business journals and trade publications.
  • Email campaigns.
  • Banner ads on legal directories.

Rather than going with advertising first, law firms would be best served building trust with influencers through blogging and other social media including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Otherwise law firms, which are not trusted by nature, will breed cynicism by advertising.

I know from personal experience that when organizations, including law firm personnel, have engaged me in an authentic fashion, I am much more likely to view them in a positive fashion. I’ll share on social media what they are writing and posting. I’ll speak positively about them to others.

Run an ad as means of first impression. Meh.

Law firms obviously differ and trail consumer advertisers and marketers, but dismissing social media in favor of something you’re comfortable with is not getting you the returns it once did.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Olvier Laurent