Social Networking for Lawyers: Legal Marketing Tool or Faster Way to Chase an Ambulance?

A few weeks back, the Wall Street Journal ran an article titled: Using Social Networking as Legal Tool. It features lessons and case studies from law firms that represent plaintiffs in personal injury and disasters (think Life of a Trial Lawyer: Boots down for BP Oil Spill Lawyer). A New York-based firm set up the website to capture clients from the BP disaster. Interestingly, as of this post, there were only four comments online for the Wall Street Journal article. (I’ll leave my readers to interpret the lack of interaction on a social media article in one of the world’s largest newspapers.)

The article has several lessons that can apply to almost any area of law:

  • Speed matters and it can be relative for marketing purposes: There’s no question when there’s an accident that impacts many people, lawyers are trying to capture those cases. However, even lawyers that work in areas like real estate and intellectual property can be on the lookout for new laws and regulations that can be a disaster for the clients they serve and proactively market their expertise to those markets.
  • Thought leadership wins, selling loses: The smartest legal marketers know that when a law firm wants to attract new clients, posting thought leadership white papers on their website and writing articles for business publications their clients and prospects read, always wins the long-term marketing war against competitors. The law firm that simply puts out more sales and marketing copy at their websites on a particular issue, particularly for business to business legal matters, will lose.
  • Relevant Communication Channels Do Matter: If a law firms managing partner or marketing director thinks selling the firm is all about having a website that looks like a printed brochure and the only interactivity comes from drinking at national trade shows, they’re wrong. A law firm needs to master all the best channels of communication in order to demonstrate to clients and even law school graduates that they are progressive in matters of the law and communications.

With the battle of the billable hour and the fierce competition for getting legal work for a variety of practices, all lawyers should look at Sololove Law LLC. This firm spends $12 million annually on digital outreach. While I’m not saying it takes $12 million to get in the game, what I am saying is that a concentrated effort with a solid investment is required for all law firms to succeed and thrive in this marketplace.