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Results Are In!

4th Annual Social Media Marketing Survey Report

Download your copy of Attorney at Work's survey results.

By Susan Kostal

Is social media bringing in new clients? Get the results of Attorney at Work’s annual survey on lawyer social media marketing habits.

lawyer social media marketing

In anticipation of Attorney at Work’s latest social media marketing survey, I started asking individual lawyers and marketers for their social media success stories. What I heard anecdotally overwhelmed me. In instance after instance, I heard about attorneys in a range of law firms, in a range of practice areas, with examples of concrete opportunities that had come their way via social.

Turns out, it’s not anecdotal.

Respondent-Reported ROI Has Gone Through the Roof

Conducted in the fall of 2018, Attorney at Work’s 4th Annual Social Media Marketing Survey netted responses from 406 legal professionals, with 183 of them identifying as lawyers. And more than two-thirds of those lawyers — 71 percent — say social media is “very” or “somewhat” responsible for bringing in new clients. Only 49 percent responded that way in 2017, and just 38 percent four years ago.

What’s fascinating is that this happened during a year when social media faced tremendous pressure — so much so that we felt compelled to ask if the platforms had become too toxic for business use.

Too Toxic for Marketing?

Some 25 percent of respondents told us that the level of rancor and fake news was enough of a concern to consider curtailing social’s use as a marketing tool. While some professed concern, however, usage continues to grow, and faster than ever, leading us to believe that while some of us are worried, we aren’t actually changing our behavior.

A whopping 85 percent of responding lawyers use social media as part of their marketing strategy, up from 70 percent in 2017, the largest increase since we began surveying usage. And 62 percent of the lawyers report that their firms formally or informally encourage the use of social media.

lawyer social media marketing

Solos, in particular, have declared their love for social, and some are spending significant portions of their budget on advertising. Facebook is the platform of choice for solos and those in firms of five or fewer attorneys, while those in larger firms tend to congregate on LinkedIn. Solos tell us their No. 1 reason for using social media is to build their personal brand. And they do so directly; 80 percent of solos manage their own social media and, like most of us, it’s a 24/7 endeavor — at home, at work, on weekends, consuming five to 10 hours a week for 27 percent of lawyer respondents (8 percent spend 10-plus hours per week on social).

The majority say attorney-authored content, followed by curated news and industry content. The ROI tells us that posting quality content builds relationships.

One thing that seems surprising is how far Twitter lags behind Facebook and LinkedIn, across numerous metrics. I suspect it’s due in part to the fact that only slightly more than half use social media management tools like Hootsuite or TweetDeck, and only 7 percent report using an outside vendor to encourage and support social media activity. When those tools are more fully utilized, either internally or via vendors, I suspect Twitter’s stats will increase and we will see a corresponding jump in reported ROI.

Dive In

We’d love to hear your take on the survey report. Download it today and let us know your key takeaways via your preferred platform. We would especially love to hear (by email or in the comments) of specific examples where social media brought you new business and opportunities. Or, submit your success story as a short post, according to these guidelines. We’ll share the best with our readers, and, of course, on social.

Download the 4th Annual Social Media Marketing Report here. As always, it’s free to anyone who subscribes to Attorney at Work.

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Categories: Law Firm Marketing, Lawyer Social Media, News and Trends, Surveys
Originally published January 9, 2019
Last updated June 28, 2023
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Susan Kostal Susan Kostal

Trends at Work columnist Susan Kostal is a legal affairs PR, marketing and content strategy consultant. She is a former contributing editor for Attorney at Work and previously wrote a monthly column, Content Under Pressure. Susan has covered legal affairs as a journalist for nearly three decades. You can follow her on Twitter @skostal and view more of her content at

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