As the legal market grows increasingly competitive and law firms vie to attract the best talent, a carefully crafted social image has become a powerful tool to promote, engage and stand out.

 

While LinkedIn has long been viewed as the holy grail of social media platforms, more recently, law firms have broadened their social media presences, and in some cases, begun outsourcing their marketing and PR efforts. The American Bar Association’s 2019 Marketing & Communication survey found that 80 percent of firms maintain presence on social media, with LinkedIn the most popular platform, followed by Facebook.

But firms’ online efforts to develop fully rounded social presences have not gone unnoticed. At the tail end of last year, law firm consultancy Good2bSocial released its social media scorecard, ranking DLA Piper in the top spot, with White & Case, Baker McKenzie, and Norton Rose Fulbright following just behind.

A spokesperson for consultancy FTI tells ALB that an integrated and well-rounded marketing and strategic communications approach should be viewed as an opportunity for the firm to stand out to prospects and clients.

“If done successfully, this can protect the reputation and contribute to positive growth of the firm,” they say. Additionally, with the legal market a competitive and crowded space, “establishing a unique position is of increasing importance for law firms in obtaining business and staying ahead of their competitors,” the consultancy advises.

“These efforts can help build and subsequently maintain a law firm’s reputation. This can be a firm’s strongest asset as when managed well, it can help to differentiate in a crowded marketplace and achieve competitive advantage.”

But law firms are unique clients naturally, says the spokesperson, given their inter-disciplinary expertise and depth of sector knowledge. “The structure of law firms is relatively unique as well, necessitating different go-to-market strategies across the firm which require carefully considered, tailored marketing and PR approaches for each practice group,” they say. “From the perspective of a communications advisor, it is essential to have a similar level of breadth and depth of knowledge across a broad range of industries.”

Some challenges come hand in hand with such in-depth knowledge. Among these are firms’ expectations that audiences possess the same level of aware-ness, which is seldom the case.

“Remembering that the audience they are addressing is not one of fellow lawyers can be the key to being under-stood by a broader group of stake-holders. For example, offering insight into the impact of a decision or a regulatory change helps an audience under-stand the significance of such developments,” the spokesperson says.

It’s also important to be selective. Firms should consider the types of media titles they engage with and should work on fostering and developing good relationships with these. “Consistency in communications is important given the multiple people representing the firm across platforms. Equally important is building an overarching positioning that neatly captures the firm’s diverse offerings. Together these can be effective differentiators from the crowd,” they advise.

“Given the proliferation of media in recent years and the sheer volume of content we face on even an hourly basis, it’s about understanding the critical challenges that clients are facing, the topics that are most impactful as well as the implications of market and/or regulatory developments on specific sectors,” they say.

 

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