Social Media Changes Legal Profession

How do changes in consumer behaviour and decision-making affect law firms and lawyers?
Social Media Changes Legal Profession

Social media and digital marketing have shifted the landscape for the legal profession—from the office to the courtroom and more importantly, when it comes to engagement with clients and prospects. In today’s technologically advanced world, we have become spoiled by instant gratification—anything and everything is within a click of a button. Research is no longer conducted from a library while the Yellow Pages have been substituted by Google. Thoughts and beliefs become corroborated or contradicted as soon as they pop up on social media platforms, and our desire for immediate answers reigns supreme in this era of impatience. The online digital-marketing movement has had a direct impact on how lawyers and law firms operate—from building relationships to retaining business.

Information Technology, Law and Consumer Behavior 

Information technology affects every aspect of the legal profession.

But with great opportunities, also comes challenges. Shortened attention spans, the increased need for answers now and, of course, the World Wide Web, which is open 24-7.

Consumer behaviour has changed. Technology has provided businesses with opportunities to reach new audiences and optimize business growth. Clients and prospects are making decisions based on research they are conducting online, through articles, testimonials and reviews ... and law firms need to acclimatize.

So, how do these changes in consumer behaviour and decision-making affect law firms and lawyers? The implementation of content production and social media visibility has become an integral part of a law firm’s profile. In essence, you need to be where your clients and prospects are—online!

Content Production and Thought Leadership >According to the 2018 ABA Tech Survey Report, 24 percent of law firms reported having a blog, with 55 per cent of those posting monthly and 9 per cent posting weekly. A blog that provides answers to the questions your potential clients are asking helps to establish credibility—positioning the firm and its lawyers as authoritative, knowledgeable and experienced. Content production aids in increased visibility, optimized reach and awareness which amplifies the likelihood of conversion.

Online Targeting Capabilities Social media platforms have provided businesses with tools to target desired markets in more sophisticated ways than ever before. While the readership and circulation numbers of a local newspaper may seem impressive, online advertising targeting capabilities have become so advanced that it is easier to quantify return on investment.

Ever visited your favourite online retailer, added a bunch of items to your cart, left the website, only to see those very items in a sponsored ad on your newsfeed? Hello social media retargeting.

Websites and social media platforms are being transitioned into sales funnels optimized for lead generation. Data derived from web pages, and social platforms are now being leveraged by lawyers and law firms to direct and redirect traffic and generate leads.

Engagement and Reputation Management Customer service is paramount to the success of any business. Being approachable, receptive and responsive is critical to client retention and acquisition.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are being used for social listening and engagement. Compliments and complaints roll in around the clock—and being responsive is crucial. What goes up ... does not come down— at least not in the social media world.

Negative online reviews and complaints are damaging to any business— they can ruin relationships, tarnish reputations and directly impact a company’s bottom line. A firm’s digital reputation is more important than ever before. As a result, firms are encouraged to monitor platforms and respond to both positive and negative feedback as a means of building client loyalty, elevating awareness and subsequently increasing opportunities for client acquisition.

Hyper-Connected The relationship between law and technology is a symbiotic one where the law employs technology to enhance its goals and technology in turn employs the law to regulate it.

One tool of technology is the Internet which has exposed lawyers and law firms to business opportunities and has allowed clients and prospects to reach and interact with lawyers virtually, in real time, thereby optimizing the firm’s resources.

Just as Heraclitus, a great philosopher once said, “Change is the only constant in life.” In the legal space, change has been enhanced by a wave of new technology—and the only option is to adapt, grow and innovate.

Marly Broudie is the Founder of SocialEyes Communications, a digital marketing and business development firm based in Toronto