It’s always worthwhile to watch and gauge how quickly (or not) various sectors and professions embrace new technology and resources, and in the past, I have written about how journalists, retailers, small business owners, IT decision makers, the travel industry and others are using social media platforms to gain competitive advantage.
But, not all organizations are responding the same way.
For instance, when it comes to social media marketing by law firms around the globe, apparently, the jury is still out.
Results of a study commissioned by LexisNexis and conducted by the global PR and communications firm Burson-Marsteller show that law firms are using social media –but not nearly as well as they could.
In fact, comparing the legal community’s current social media reticence with its initial reluctance to create websites in the early dot-com years, the study found that, although law firms do register business accounts on the top social media sites, a majority do not actually use these accounts in any strategic way—if they use them at all. (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Years ago, I remember many companies that secured URLs long before they developed compelling websites.)
Here are a few additional highlights from the study:
- 85 of the 110 firms in the study have LinkedIn accounts. On the other hand, a number of these accounts contain little more than a company page, with no further evidence of additional engagement. Even so, LinkedIn far outpaced all other social media sites in terms of any legal representation; in some countries, most notably Dubai and Lagos, LinkedIn is the only social media network listing any lawyers among its members.
- North American law firms, followed by those in the UK and the Netherlands, have the greatest social media presence.
- Elsewhere worldwide, social media usage by the legal community was low, or even non-existent, as was the case in Turkey. France, Russia, Switzerland, all of South America and much of the Middle East and Asia Pacific reported very low reliance on social media for business development or employee recruitment.
As Derek Benton, director of International Operations at Martindale-Hubbell, sees it, law firms are missing out on valuable opportunities to use social media for business development.
“Registering a (social media) profile is a step in the right direction, but not doing anything with it is like renting a shop (on a busy) street and never opening the doors,” he said, adding that he believed the legal profession’s use of social media would eventually evolve, just as it has done in other professions.
As it stands now, though, that kind of “conviction” to a social media strategy appears a long way off.