A year ago, we thought social media couldn’t get any hotter as the marketing mode of choice for lawyers. Comparing results from the recent “Attorney at Work 2016 Social Media Marketing Survey” to last year’s shows we may have been right. In our second annual survey, we again asked lawyers about their social media habits, preferences and attitudes. Still hot? Sure, but things seem to be leveling off.
- Most of the lawyers responding — 88 percent — are using social media, but only 68 percent say their use of social media is part of an overall marketing strategy. That’s compared to 91 percent and 60 percent in 2015.
- Almost half of those respondents (47 percent) say lawyers’ use of social media for marketing is more hype than reality. In 2015, 56 percent agreed.
- Only 3 percent say social media is “very” responsible for actually getting them clients, compared to 4 percent in 2015. However, 41 percent say it is “somewhat” responsible. In 2015, 35 percent said “somewhat” responsible.
Differences begin to emerge when you compare the responses of the youngest lawyers (those under 30) to those who are over 30.
Strategy. There’s a 12 percent gap between the two age groups when it comes to using social media as part of their marketing strategy — 69 percent of over-30 lawyers say it’s in their strategy, compared to 57 percent of younger lawyers.
Favored platforms. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter — in that order — continue to be the most popular platforms across all ages, but only 7 percent of the under-30s say LinkedIn is their first choice, compared to 33 percent of the over-30 lawyers.
Overall, 47 percent of respondents say they regularly use Twitter. However, 71 percent of the under-30s say they tweet, compared to 45 percent of the older lawyers. And, not surprisingly, Instagram is a favorite among younger lawyers — 43 percent use it compared to only 17 percent of the over-30s.
Best business producer? Older lawyers (37 percent) say LinkedIn is the best source of new business among the various platforms, but the under-30s (47 percent) say Facebook is best for them.
Twenty-six percent of the older lawyers say “no” social media platform is an effective source of business; 29 percent of the younger lawyers agree.
Management tools. Fifty percent of young lawyers use social media management tools of some kind (Hootsuite, Google Analytics, TweetDeck, etc.), and 71 percent of them say they handle all social media activity themselves. Meantime, only 33 percent of the over-30 group use these types tools — but 70 percent do it all themselves.
In the Final Analysis
Overall, based on this year’s survey results, we draw the following conclusions about lawyers’ use of social media.
- Most lawyers use social media, and more than half consider it part of their business development activities.
- Young lawyers are more likely to use a wider range of platforms, and they’re more likely to use Twitter and Instagram.
- Few lawyers can point to social media as a significant source of new business, but many believe it can be.
Plenty can be done to ramp up the ROI on your social media activities. If you’re interested in learning about it from the experts, click through to these recent articles on Attorney at Work:
- Read Gyi Tsakalakis’s take on what’s ahead, from “dark social” to “paid social” in “Social Media Trends in 2016.”
- Read Jabez LeBret’s “How to Make Your Social Media Marketing NOT Suck in 2016,” for a deep dive into the newest platforms used by lawyers and great advice on using the standards.
- Read “Winning at Local Search” author Mike Ramsey’s “Six Hot Search Tips for 2016.”
- And don’t forget to download your free copy of Attorney at Work’s e-zine “Connected: A Lawyer’s Guide to Social Media Marketing.” You’ll find 60 pages of great information and tons of links.