The recent ‘The Future Of Legal Services’ conference that was held in Birmingham (UK) highlighted the challenges many lawyers face as they try to survive or grow. Many of these have been mentioned in various blogs and articles such as ‘Goodbye to all that’ by Jordan Furlong.
There were a couple of statements made at the conference which really stood out:
As institutional operators and larger practices move onto their patch, some traditional High Street firms will struggle to compete unless they adapt;
Law firms which use technology in the right way will have an edge going forward.
The business model used by many law firms will not help them survive the competitive forces they come against.
Jordan Furlong says lawyers should “…study the means by which you accomplish the work you sell to clients and determine whether and to what extent you can adopt new technologies and processes to be not just more efficient, but also more effective in terms of quality, relevance and responsiveness.”
This brings me to social media, and what lawyers should do about it.
As law firms start to use social media to gain mindshare, deliver better services and build relationships with prospects or clients, it is becoming more and more important for the majority of law firms to consider how they use this media platform within their marketing communications.
Differentiating oneself from competitors and improving the ability to engage with prospects or clients are benefits that result from having well thought-out social media strategies.
The key question lawyers need to ask themselves is “what channels do I need to use to differentiate myself and become the lawyer of choice for potential clients, and does this include social media?”
Basically, lawyers need to figure out what their strategic business goals are, and how they can then use social media or technology to help me achieve those goals.
Many lawyers that simply pick a social media tactic without integrating it into their lead generation or client nurturing programmes will get frustrated pretty quickly. It is not enough just setting up a Facebook page (which looks like the company website), a corporate Twitter handle and LinkedIn profile, or attracting 5,000 followers. Anyone can do this!
Lawyers have to make social media support overall business goals, which means integrating it tightly into measurable lead generation and conversion strategies. If social media does not make it easier for prospects to find you, stick to you because you point them towards content that they are actively looking for and, ultimately, select you for because you have articulated the benefits that result from working with you, then it is pointless!
And, if social media does not make it easier for lawyers to engage with clients more effectively, resulting them in having more time to focus on delivering high-quality services to target niches, then it is time for a re-think.
Social media technology platforms can have a very positive impact on the bottom line and, more importantly, help law firms build positions of authority in an increasingly competitive legal services marketplace.
But, it has to support overall business goals, and be measured in terms of new leads generated, sales made, increase in referrals made and improved client retention rates. It should also result in a marked improvement in the way lawyers handle any negative comments made about the services they deliver and the speed with which they resolve customer problems.