SOCIAL MEDIA NEWS: European law firms not too keen on social media

European law firms do not consider social media to be as important as other marketing technology tools within their industry. This is according to a new legal marketing survey by marketing and business solutions provider, Hubbard One, part of Thomson Reuters.

According to the findings, despite over half of respondents (55 per cent) planning to implement new social media initiatives in 2011, around 50 per cent of firms doubt the importance of Twitter and blogs. Facebook was rated the least popular channel, while LinkedIn was rated as important by over three-quarters of respondents.

When asked about the next trends to affect legal marketing, 40 per cent of respondents indicated mobile technologies and 21 per cent cloud computing. Another 29 per cent of respondents consider Twitter as the next big social media trend, with many believing that Twitter will become more accepted in the future, and that specifically, lawyers will learn to ‘communicate more succinctly and in layman’s terms’.

Timothy B. Corcoran, vice president at Hubbard One commented, “Despite the surprising findings around the perception of social media, it is clear that technological innovation will play an even greater role in law firms’ futures. Firms are increasingly marketing to clients, prospects, employees, alumni and other key stakeholders via new mediums and channels, and our survey show that this trend will continue apace, especially given the prominence placed on website innovation.”

Hubbard One’s pan-European survey involved over 60 senior marketers and business development managers from leading law firms.

The study also suggests that in 2010-2011 marketing budgets were held steady by 45 per cent of law firms, and increased by 39 per cent. However, it also reveals that marketing spend at law firms as a percentage of turnover remains low when compared with other industries. Over half of respondents (53 per cent) reported that marketing spend (excluding salaries) equated to less than two per cent of turnover. And 36 per cent of those surveyed spent between three to five per cent of turnover on marketing, while only 11 per cent spent more than six per cent of turnover.

Further findings suggest that as law firm marketers are increasingly required to demonstrate return on investment, they are focusing on setting up more sophisticated marketing actions and cutting-edge technological initiatives.

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