According to a survey of social media in the legal sector by LexisNexis and Vizibility, 81 percent of lawyers claim that they already use social media as marketing tools. Another 10.1 percent saying they plan to deploy social media marketing elements within six months.
And, as of today, U.K. lawyers can now find LexisNexis apps for their iPhone and iPad.
Nick West, director of Legal Markets for LexisNexis, stated in a press release today:
“The On the Case and Legal Terms apps fuse the accuracy, content and easy-to-use search you would expect from LexisNexis, with access from iPhone and iPad. Legal practice is evolving rapidly, and lawyers are increasingly expected to advise clients whilst on the move. By listening closely to our customers’ needs, we are creating ever-more flexible products–giving our users the ability to access our market-leading information away from their office as easily as they can at their desk.”
Both apps are free to subscribers of Lexis®Library and can be accessed with current customer ID and passwords.
It’s important for law firms to make use of social media in their marketing practice. Blogging is becoming mainstream, just ask Kevin O’Keefe and his aptly named site “Read Lawyers Have Blogs.”
Kevin O’Keefe wrote an article about Lexis’ announcement, and also attached a PowerPoint from Dr. Corrine Weisberger of St. Edward’s University to his article, which discusses using Twitter as a public relations’ tool. You can find the PPT here.
Although law firms and legal services professionals are finally employing social media and blogging to advance their businesses, these firms are still lacking in a consistent social media policy.
Take, for example, Kevin O’Keefe’s complaint about the Lexis press release today. In an attempt to “spread the word” about Lexis’ apps, Kevin O’Keefe attempted to locate the Twitter handle of the press release’s author, Melissa Higgs.
“I couldn’t find Higgs Twitter handle. Nothing on a general Google search except for a Melissa Higgs, also in the UK, who says her tweets are personal. No one by the name of Melissa Higgs on Twitter who says they are working for LexisNexis. Not seeing any tweets referencing LexisNexis from folks by the name of ‘Melissa Higgs’ on Twitter, I didn’t want to give an incorrect attribution by guessing. I went to Higgs LinkedIn profile, where most folks include their Twitter handles. Nothing,” writes O’Keefe.
“Time to get with it folks. Time to make it easier on people like me who are trying to help you do your job.”
O’Keefe is not wrong.
Unsurprisingly, in the same survey of social media in the legal sector by LexisNexis and Vizibility, when asked, “Does your firm have a social media policy or guidelines for social media,” only 61.2 percent of legal professionals responded yes.
LexisNexis will surely benefit from its iPhone and iPad apps, but it’s currently losing out from not advertising these apps via Twitter, among other Internet conduits. LexisNexis needs a policy that streamlines the company’s use of social media for marketing.
So where should they start?
Perhaps these three, simple steps:
1. Formulate a strategy. Many firms are stymied when it comes to creating a social media strategy. These days, companies (like this one) are available to walk you through the process. For “do it yourself” firms, come up with a game plan and series of goals for your social media use—is it for client education, employee recruitment, or PR? Then, circulate this strategy to your firm’s appropriate department.
2. Implement guidelines. Social media policies should explain to associates expectations for their participation on sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. It should also create guidelines for the firm’s social media use: How often will the firm post, who is responsible for posting, and how will all your social media systems correspond with one another (see O’Keefe’s point about trying to locate a Twitter handle via LinkedIn).
3. Encourage associates to use social media. As the aforementioned survey details, social media has infiltrated the legal profession. Used as a marketing strategy, firms benefit from having their name saturating the digital world. Encourage your associates to belong to these networking sites. Or, to blog about their experience with the firm. Had Lexis done encouraged social media use among its employees, Melissa Higgs would likely be on Twitter. The Internet is undoubtedly the first place that prospective clients and new employees will look to be introduced to your firm.
To conclude, ensure the name of your firm—and its services—is always linked with descriptions like “innovative” and “cutting-edge” by making better use of technology and social media, and implementing a policy to protect your corresponding online reputation.
For more information about formulating a social media policy, attend one of the Center For Competitive Management’s courses on social media, including “Developing a Social Media Policy: Clear Guidelines to Prevent or Reduce Employment-Related Problems.”