Lawyers Still Wary Of Social Media
Looking for the next great frontier for social media marketers? Open your phone book and seek out your local lawyers. Chances are they are not using social media to promote their business, however, they are also among the most skeptical when it comes to using social media so don’t expect it to be easy making them a new client.
The reasons why law firms are hesitant about using social media has more to do with their work than the work of social media. The same way a chef might think twice before eating at a greasy spoon for fear of an unclean kitchen, lawyers hesitate to use a service, any service, which might create legal problems for their firm or their clients.
Are there an abundance of benefits available for law firms if they use social media? That seems likely. But do the benefits outweigh the risks? That’s a matter of opinion.
As we have seen this past year social media can be a double-edged sword, sometimes bringing as many potential problems as benefits. One poorly worded Tweet, or one disgruntled employee with a Facebook profile can be enough to cause a company embarrassment. This embarrassment could be a simple case of “whoops!” followed by a brief apology, or it could end up costing a company clients and possibly revenue. If your business is all about protecting clients reputations, or helping them leap legal hurdles, you are likely not interested in any service which might work against you in this regard.
Will law firms gradually turn toward social media as a marketing tool? This seems all but inevitable. But it is not likely to happen without some concerted effort on the part of social media managers to prove they can be even more reliable than law firms when it comes to protecting the interests of their clients. And this will take time.
“It’s just getting going,” said Bryn Hughes, the company’s marketing and communications manager in international markets. “For the legal sector, I think they are slow to adapt to new technology.”
Firms appear interested in using social media as a marketing platform, particularly outfits based in places with excellent internet penetration: New York, Canada, the United Kingdom and Western Europe. Still, most of those surveyed use social networks as one-way channels to distribute company news, and few embraced blogging and YouTube or integrated social media widget into firm web sites, the audit found.
Hughes said that lawyers he had spoken with seem interested in using social media, but remained cautious about liability, client confidentiality and the potential embarrassment of posting erroneous statements online.
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