Law firms not facing up to social media opportunities

By Andrew Jennings|25 May 2012

Australia’s leading law firms are not capitalising on social media to attract new customers, according to a digital marketing expert

A Lawyers Weekly investigation has found that many of the country’s top-tier firms are failing to utilise Facebook as an effective tool for promoting their businesses online.

Patty Keegan (pictured), director of marketing coaching firm Digital Chameleon, scrutinised the Facebook pages of six high-profile law firms on behalf of Lawyers Weekly, and generated varied results.   

“There are numerous reasons why law firms should engage with social media,” said Keegan. “In terms of recruitment and retention, Facebook is a channel to Generation Y recruits; it should be used to promote clerkship programs and new appointments.”

The investigation found that Clayton Utz is doing the best job of engaging on Facebook. The firm has focused its efforts on recruitment and has generated over 2000 ‘likes’ so far.

“Clayton Utz has crafted a great approach that includes promotions, contents, university road trips and more,” said Keegan. “There are lots of fun photos and there is frequent posting.  The payoff is that there are lots of ‘thank you Clayton Utz!’ posts from page visitors.” 

Allens has geared towards an internal audience of former staff. According to Keegan the page “probably doesn’t do much for generating business but certainly assists with retention and demonstrates how they publicly value their people”.

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Although Ashurst’s Facebook page is relatively new, Keegan said it was “well designed” and has “multiple missions, with a tab that drives traffic to both firm news and updates and a student section, for recruitment purposes”.  She expects the fan base of the page to quickly increase.

Weakest links

Other big names did not fare so well.

Freehills, Norton Rose and Minter Ellison have made no apparent investment in building a Facebook presence, seemingly satisfied with an auto-generated Wikipedia listing as a placeholder.  

In the case of Freehills and Minter Ellison, this decision seems a conscience one as part of their social network strategy.

“We have engaged social media in a way that is focused on the needs of our clients and people,” said Paul Bonomy, director of business development at Freehills.

“We have concentrated our efforts on the social media channels that best facilitate thought leadership and professional networking. For example, we launched our successful mining blog last year and are also working closely with partners to help them engage and share information with clients through portals such as LinkedIn.”  

Paul Kallenbach, intellectual property and technology partner at Minter Ellison, said: “We did some focus groups with graduates of the Facebook generation and the overwhelming response was that they really weren’t that interested in using Facebook for a work purpose.

“They said that it is a private space and they didn’t like it crossing over into the work space. In fact, they said they found it ‘a bit creepy’ to ‘like’ a law firm on Facebook.”

Law firms not facing up to social media opportunities
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