Social media holds tremendous opportunity for law firms in terms of marketing, client relations, and recruiting, but many lawyers remain reluctant to take the plunge because of the daunting regulatory obstacles to adopting this new form of communication. However, LexisNexis is making it easier for lawyers to get social with a new Social Media Visibility service, unveiled this week at LegalTech in New York City.
LexisNexis Social Media Visibility helps solo practitioners and smaller law firms establish a social media presence for marketing and client relations, all within the bounds of current legal regulations. The service includes creation of an exclusive blog page as well as guidance in crafting profiles and in generating and posting appropriate content on big social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
LexisNexis noted that in addition to helping reach new clients and recruitment prospects directly through social media, improved visibility in this area also helps improve site performance on search engines. The Social Media Visibility services helps boost blog exposure by submitting it to major blog directories, legal blog lists, and other relevant sites like Digg, YouTube and Squidoo, to generate inbound links. LexisNexis will also create the firm’s Facebook fan page and Twitter accounts with feeds to its blog, as well as a LinkedIn account with attorney profiles. A premium option, Social Media Visibility Advanced, includes custom-developed blog posts, additional submissions to blog directories, and other extra content.
As noted, some lawyers are embracing social media, but others are lagging behind. In December I wrote about a survey of law firms by Vizibility Inc. and LexisNexis which found that 81% of survey participants said they use social media for marketing, and another 10.1% said they plan to begin doing so in the next six months. 31% of respondents said social media tools are “extremely important,” and 48.5% said it is “somewhat important.”
But interestingly, smaller law firms are embracing social media rather more enthusiastically than their big corporate counterparts -- perhaps because there is more room for younger lawyers to take the lead in new marketing initiatives, aided by a relative lack of cumbersome corporate policies. Among firms with five or fewer attorneys, 71% of respondents said they rely on social media to generate new business. That contrasts with just 37% of respondents from firms with 100 or more attorneys.
The obstacles presented by regulation (including rules about client privacy) can probably be overcome, judging by two other abundantly-regulated industries: healthcare and financial services. In previous posts I also wrote about Doximity, a new social network for doctors that allows them to communicate with patients and each other in a HIPAA- compliant fashion. And on the financial services front there’s FMG Social, a service from Faulkner Media Group designed to help financial services firms use social media to get new business and communicate with clients in FINRA-compliant fashion.