21 Nov 2019

DLA Piper tops for social media says report

Release of latest US ranking of law firms in social media finds much to cheer in digital marketing but with room for improvement.


DLA Piper pushed out Norton Rose Fulbright from the top spot for digital marketing in 2019, according to the latest annual report card, the Social Law Firm Index, published by consultancy Good2bSocial since 2013. The report also found that law firms in general are using Facebook far less and using LinkedIn, Instagram and paid social marketing more. Firms are also measuring the impact of their social marketing efforts more closely, the report found.

DLA tops

The report ranked DLA Piper top of the firms demonstrating the greatest comprehensive adoption, integration and use of digital marketing, social media and thought leadership content to market and grow their practice. The top five firms topping the list are: DLA Piper, White & Case, Norton Rose Fulbright, Baker McKenzie and Orrick. However, NRF topped the list in 2019 for “thought leadership,” while Baker McKenzie topped SEO optimization. Ranking by individual platforms saw Squire Patton Boggs top for Twitter, Quarles & Brady for Facebook, Baker McKenzie for LinkedIn, Jones Day for YouTube and DLA Piper for Instagram. The Social Law Firm Index analyses each firm’s presence on the internet and across social media and evaluates their social usage to extend thought leadership messages and otherwise engage with clients and constituents. These factors are reduced to numerical measures, weighted and incorporated into an algorithm to develop each firm’s rank on the Index. The report says most large firms practicing in the United States now have an understanding of the value and necessity of digital marketing to their operations. “Paid social is continuing to grow in importance as law firms get smarter about micro-targeting their audiences,” said Guy Alvarez, ceo of Good2bSocial. “This is especially true on LinkedIn where we saw more than 30 percent of law firms now incorporating LinkedIn Ads in their social media spend. Another area where we saw exponential growth is in the use of audio and video on social media posts and websites. More firms than ever are using video or launching podcasts in order to enhance their engagement with their target audience.”

Key 2019 findings

The report found that 30 percent of the Am Law firms use paid LinkedIn, which is a significant increase from only 10 percent just a year ago. LinkedIn is the most popular and successful choice when it comes to firms investing in sponsored content on social. The Infinite Dial study from Edison showed that among Americans ages 12 to 34, usage of Facebook declined sharply between 2017 and 2018, but Instagram steadily grew in that same timeframe. Facebook is still a giant, but Instagram is turning into a better social network. If that continues, it’s likely that Instagram will surpass Facebook in popularity in the United States by 2020. More video and more podcasts are seen as key, with an optimized video increasing the chance of a brand making front page of a Google search result by 53 times. Nearly 25 percent of Americans listen to podcasts weekly. Podcasts offer a hyper-focused audience that chooses to listen to your content and listeners have been shown to be the most loyal and engaged audience of any digital medium.

Marketing automation

With marketing automation, the report argues that law firms can utilise various tools to save time, free up bandwidth and ultimately improve return on investment. Time-consuming processes can be replaced by a system that can automatically send out emails based on an email response or website visit. When firms combine content with marketing automation, they can analyze what their clients engage with and how, and know more about the client to deliver better customer service. “Social media is integral to how we communicate our values, culture, capabilities and brand to the market,” said Erin Stone Dimry, chief marketing and business development officer at DLA Piper. “It’s very gratifying to be recognized for it, particularly as it pertains to the quality and authenticity of the content we work so hard to create, disseminate and amplify.” The full report is available for download here.