Law firms are definitely on the social media bandwagon these days. They are tweeting up a storm, and there is broad agreement that LinkedIn probably presents the best opportunities for connecting with in-house counsel and other key decision makers relating to legal spend. This is real evolution for law firms. Just two years ago, when my firm started methodically and actively posting multiple daily updates, a lot of the firm’s partners didn’t really get it. They weren’t sure of the value, and thought it was pretty far fetched that anyone would really connect with what we were posting. Today, I think we have agreement that law firms will be left behind if they are not part of the social media conversation. But what can we do to continue to get better at social media?
The biggest issue I see today with law firm social media is that it is still far from social. Very few updates get much engagement – especially the ones that relate to a recent case, regulation or pending legislation. The ones that really hit generally relate to a partner promotion or award that an individual lawyer received. Why? These updates are about an actual person with a story. Although it’s often a story that we’ve heard a million times: getting that big promotion or winning that prestigious award, the fact remains that these posts make us feel something. They get us involved and excited, and they make us want to reach out with congratulations or at least a “like.”
Getting law firm social media to the next level will take personalization, which is difficult for law firms to achieve. One reason for this is that the law is supposed to be objective. In fact, its purpose is to be the opposite of personal. The rule of law implies an objective set of standards that apply to all people equally regardless of their position, beliefs or reasons for their transgressions or challenges. Lawyers are trained to think in a highly analytical way, but their interpretation of laws and regulations is not supposed to be colored by their background or experience. Although it is close to impossible to live up to this ideal 100 percent of the time, I believe that most lawyers do strive for objectivity about the facts while zealously representing their clients.
Speaking of clients, they are another reason that lawyers will hesitate to tell their personal stories and perspectives. Client information is often confidential, and a lawyer’s experience is made up of his/her interactions with clients. It’s hard to relay a personal story when you really can’t be very specific about the details.
So yes, making law firm social media content relevant, interesting and personal is difficult, but let’s not give up on this goal. Often the first problem to solve is to make sure that we are always looking for a story that demonstrates how the law impacts a person or a company, as explained perfectly by Adrian Lurssen in a recent