Digital marketing

Law firms are getting more creative with digital marketing, but some lack a clear strategy

Digital marketing

When 2020, and the accompanying pandemic, ushered in a resurgence in legal digital marketing and the use of social media, it was expected given the circumstances. DrankNot all companies manage this content effectively.

The directory Index of social law firms (SLFI), created by internet marketing consultancy Good2BSocial and running since 2013, released its findings and rankings on Monday. Many of the trends noted in the 2020 study, such as the increase in the creation and use of podcasts and videos, held true in 2021.

New strategies also emerged, for effective engagement and use of the platform, as well as new issues arising from generating so much content. Not all content is effective, and some of it may actually be harmful.

This year has been just as challenging and unique as 2020said Guy Alvarez, CEO of Good2bSocial, in a statement. “We’ve seen Am Law 200 law firms generate an enormous amount of content, even creating COVID-19 resource centers to provide valuable information and advice to their clients and prospects.”

But as “law firms have learned how to effectively use social media to grow their business,” Alvarez said, they need to take the next step.

“They must participate and help strengthen their existing relationships while strategically developing new ones,” he said in a statement. “We think this index shows companies how important it is.”

Rankings

The SLFI examines the use of digital and social content by law firms and assesses their effectiveness against their peers. This results in an overall ranking and breakdowns by platform: Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.

The study also measures law firms’ social media reach, engagement and marketing performance on their own websites and on public social media platforms. And that measures how well companies promote thought leadership, how smart they are with podcasts, and how well they use search engine optimization.

The top 25 companies in the overall ranking are presented in the table below. It shows little change at the top from last year, other than some reorganization of the top five.

There were nine new entrants to the top 25 companies, with the biggest jump in the rankings being Knobbe Martens’ jump of 112 places (#129 in 2020 to #17 in 2021).

Perkins Coie, ranked No. 126 last year, has also seen a massive rise, taking 106 more places to No. 20 in 2021.

Content glut

Over the past two years, companies have generated more content than ever before, Alvarez said. Some of this content, such as microsites for COVID-19 updates, is helpful and makes the company a thought leader and go-to source of information.

But too often, content appears to be available simply because businesses think it should be, not because it serves the business or the customer.

“Most companies just put out press releases,” he said. “But I’ve spoken to a few companies who are smart about it. They try to figure out how to use data to create business development opportunities. »

Alvarez said that at the start of the pandemic, companies were creating massive amounts of content. But, once things got “sweetened,” the amount of content they were creating was “unsustainable.”

And that’s a problem, not just because of overstimulation or congestion, but because these microblogs or resource centers still exist in the ether and, when found, could produce a negative impression on those who encounter content platforms that have essentially been discontinued.

“There’s all this content with no purpose or strategy,” he said. “It’s something companies are going to struggle with over the next couple of years.”

He said many companies “lost their focus” and “went back to doing what they had always done” once the content fervor waned a bit.

“If it has no more resources, companies should take it down,” he said, referring to dated blogs or microsites. “And if it’s still important, they need to put resources and strategy into it to make it a valuable permanent resource.”

Platforms have their purpose

Much like last year, we saw companies moving away from Facebook and turning to Instagram to promote cultural news, such as involvement in special causes and DCI efforts.

Over the past year, many companies have used their respective social media presences to tout DEI’s efforts and hang a banner supporting (or opposing) various causes, Alvarez said.

“Companies will definitely continue to push DEI,” he said. “It’s a big thing that every company is super invested in. They take every opportunity to post content around it. But, they need to realize that DEI shouldn’t be their entire content strategy.

Companies are gravitating more towards LinkedIn to promote thought leadership, Alvarez noted. He said the platform is used for customer outreach and promotion of rewards, which makes sense given the platform’s supposedly business-focused audience.

“As we did the year before, we are seeing a significant increase in the use of LinkedIn advertising to better target audiences,” Alvarez noted. Corn not all lawyers are behind the move, he added, citing the concept that “the publicity is below them”.

“It’s a misconception among lawyers,” Alvarez said. “But all you do is target your content to a specific audience. It’s always about thought leadership, you only pay to make sure your target audience is reached.”

Video and podcasts on the rise

Alvarez said the years-long trend of increasing business use of video has not abated.

“Because there’s so much competition on social media, video helps you stand out,” he said.

In conjunction with businesses realizing that video on various platforms can be an asset, advancements in technology have made its cost less prohibitive.

“A lot of companies are even making animated videos now,” he said. “No lights, no headphones. You just need a good graphic designer to create the content. If you’re scrolling through LinkedIn, for example, and you see movement, you’re going to stop. It’s a differentiator .

Alvarez said the use of podcasts also continues to grow, although not all businesses are using podcasts in the most effective way.

“What we’re seeing is smart companies creating castings on particular topics,” he said. “They are launching not one but many for various industries and topics. Not-so-smart companies do the “Firm ABC” podcast.

The study found that about 75% of Am Law 100 companies have an active podcast, and many, as Alvarez suggested, have multiple topics covering various topics.