News from the LexisNexis Social Media Survey That Didn’t Make Headlines

The recent LexisNexis/Vizibility survey of social media for law firms deservedly generated a lot of headlines, buzz and discussion in the blawgosphere. While many legal bloggers identified a pending deluge of new legal blogs as the key takeaway, some of the most interesting information in the study has been overlooked.

Worth Considering More Closely

  • Video - Despite being an even more nettlesome and expensive enterprise than blogging, nearly half of respondents indicated they plan to incorporate video into their marketing mix — a percentage more or less consistent across firms of all sizes.
  • QR Codes – To be honest, I don’t think Vizibility was a good partner for this survey because QR is a mobile technology for accessing online content through physical media. Despite Vizibility’s pitch, QR is not a social media networking or marketing platform. But the bigger issue is that even if you consider mobile applications to be social media marketing, there is no compelling data to indicate QR technology has staying power, let alone growth potential. The infographic distributed with the survey results announcement misleadingly correlates QR code growth with smartphone market growth, when its future is more directly tied to advertiser choices. While QR code-based gaming and discounting applications were popular with consumer product marketers over the past year, smartphone users themselves have not enthusiastically embraced their use, and the future of QR is uncertain.  Notwithstanding, the survey suggests that 80 percent of law firms will have QR codes in their marketing mix by the end of 2012, predominantly for mobile access to online marketing materials and business card data. So are legal marketers riding the tail end of a gimmick?

Notable for Their Absence

  • Budget and Resourcing Plans – A single five-minute branding video can cost as much or more than the out-of-pocket expenses for an entire year of blogging. Even low-budget productions can cost several thousand dollars apiece. Combined with aggressive movement into blogging and social networking engagement, does that mean marketing budgets will be increasing, or will it be funded through cuts to other marketing tactics? Which ones? Will there be new marketing hires, or a greater reliance on outside contractors?
  • Non-Blog Content Marketing – Content distribution and SEO optimization platforms like JD Supra and SlideShare are bona fide forces in content marketing for law firms. However, the survey did not mention them by name, nor include content marketing as a category.

Worthy of Its Own Category

  • The infographics accompanying the survey results press release literally and figuratively animated the narrative, and elevated the overall impact of the announcement. It would be great to see adoption and utilization of infographics in law firm marketing explored in a future survey.

What did you think of the survey results? Anything surprising? What kinds of questions would you have asked?

Endeavor to Be Useful: Legal Marketing Tips 12.21.11

A digest of social media “how-to” advice and tips for legal marketing.

  • 14 Quick Tips for Kick-Ass Lead Management | HubSpot
  • 36 Social Media Sharing Resources for Business People | SEOptimise 
  • 5 Tips for Injecting Personality into Your Online Presentations | Content Marketing Institute
  • 6 Reasons Why ‘Less Is More’ Will Be the Social Marketing Mantra in 2012 | ClickZ
  • 5 Effective SEO Strategies to Optimize Your Business Blog | Entrepreneur.com
  •  6 Simple Mistakes to Avoid when Creating an Online Video | Jeffbullas’s Blog
  • Turn Staff Contributions into Social Media Gold | Heidi Cohen

Social Media ROI Measurement for Law Firms, Part 1: A Starter Kit

The term “ROI”  is one of those acronyms marketers liberally use without reference to the source phrase — Return on Investment — because the underlying assumption is that anyone serious about business already knows what the abbreviation stands for. What it actually means, though, is like a Rorschach inkblot test — an ambiguous concept interpreted differently by different people based on their individual experiences, needs and mental framework.

The definition of ROI has been a trending topic in legal marketing blogs lately, with posts ranging from the insightful, to the sentimental, to the slapdash and gimmicky. What they all have in common is a recognition of the inchoate demand for more rigorous and productive tracking, measurement and analysis of law firm marketing programs, particularly social media participation.

To get this multi-post survey of ROI measurement for law firms rolling, it’s useful to start with a general framework for performance tracking and analytics.

Corey Eridon provides an excellent social media ROI measurement primer in a recent HubSpot post:

1.) Start to measure social media networks together and separately. Every social media network has its own set of strengths. For example, you may find that Twitter drives the most site traffic, Facebook generates the most leads, and LinkedIn generates less but more qualified leads. Yes, you should absolutely analyze your social media strategy as an aggregate of all social media networks so you can compare it to other campaigns, but then be prepared to break it down network by network. This will let you determine which networks are best helping you meet specific sales and marketing goals…and which aren’t making the cut.

2.) Track visit-to-lead conversion. Social media helps drive traffic to your site, but traffic doesn’t bring home the bacon. Track (network by network, and as an aggregate) how many of those visitors convert into leads. Knowing exactly how much of a role social media plays in lead generation will help you meet your monthly lead goal by giving you the historical data to set an educated goal based on how much social media brings in, and what that rate of growth looks like month over month.

3.) Track lead-to-customer conversion. The next logical step, right? Now that you know how many leads you get from each social media network and social media as a whole, make use of closed-loop analytics to see how many leads turned into customers. This insight will help you implement a mature lead scoring system so your sales team can focus time on the leads most likely to close. When you use closed-loop marketing on social media leads, you can also learn metrics like how much social media customers cost to acquire, and how much they spend with you compared to leads from other campaigns.

4.) Score leads and monitor the sales cycle. Score social media leads and monitor how much time it takes a social media lead to make it through the sales cycle. Not only does scoring leads help your sales team prioritize its time, but this insight will also help inform your lead nurturing program so you can shorten the sales cycle for social media leads. It also helps you understand how valuable a social media lead is, and where it ranks compared to leads from other campaigns.

5.) Watch site behaviors from your social media traffic. Understanding how to properly nurture social media leads will depend heavily on this step. By understanding where social media leads enter, leave, and spend their time on your site, you can see what type of content addresses their specific needs. So before entering them into a lead nurturing queue meant for, say, people in the middle of their buying cycle, you can provide content that addresses their specific problems.

Future posts in this series will cover topics including:

  • Matching the right metrics to you firm’s business objectives
  • Dead-end metrics
  • Measuring the unmeasurable
  • Tracking social media from tactic to revenue
How extensive are your social media ROI measurement processes? Have you had any “Aha!” moments along the way?

 

Endeavor to Be Useful: Legal Marketing Tips 11.25.11

New Holiday Tradition: The “One Fruitcake” Theory of Social Media Marketing

I first published this recipe last year, and judging by my long tail traffic numbers, folks seemed to enjoy it.  So I’ve decided to make it an annual holiday tradition.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Even accomplished chefs are always on the lookout for new and exciting dishes. New techniques and novel applications of classics. Interesting ingredients and unexpected combinations. All in the service of surprising and delighting customers, and advancing the profession.

Sadly, social marketing bloggers seem content to warm up the same basic dish over and over again, just seasoned and garnished a bit differently.

It is said that Johnny Carson first posited that there is actually only one fruitcake in the world; it’s just passed around a lot. You see where I’m going with this…

The basic recipe for a blog post on how to be successful in social marketing:

Ingredients

  1. Generalized invocation of social marketing’s importance
  2. Quote by social media and/or marketing ”guru” (preferably Chris Brogan or Seth Godin)
  3. Statistics on blog readership and the number of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn subscribers
  4. Authenticity bullet point
  5. Listening bullet point
  6. “Join the conversation” bullet point
  7. “Content is King” bullet point
  8. Thought leadership bullet point
  9. SEO bullet point
  10. ROI bullet point
  11. Reference to parties who “get it” (i.e. enlightened heroes) and/or “don’t get it” (i.e. willfully ignorant objects of pity and derision who need your help and mentorship)
  12. Links to reporters, association execs and conference planners you want to suck up to
  13. Warning about the perils of not embracing social marketing
  14. Local seasoning (e.g. reference to the intended audience’s specific challenges/opportunities)

Cooking instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients
  2. Whip into a froth
  3. Serve — over and over again.

Come on “Top Social Media Chef” wannabes, here’s a “quickfire” challenge for you: Reinterpret this bland staple of social marketing blog posts and make a signature dish.

Endeavor to Be Useful: Legal Marketing Tips 11.23.11

Visual Storytelling: What Other Professional Services Firms Can Teach Lawyers About Video

As much as lawyers fret about the rules of professional conduct as they relate to social media, those limitations don’t hold a candle to the strictures financial services marketers have to navigate.

And yet, they manage splendidly.

Ivy Funds and Henderson Global Investors worked with visual storytellers at About Face Media to build a library of mini-documentaries that tell their stories authentically and in context. Not scripted; not sugar-coated. People telling stories about how they think and work. Authentic.

 

What professional services categories do you watch for inspiration? What firms have you “borrowed” ideas from?

Visual Storytelling: 3 Powerful Attorney Bios

Most  attorney bio videos have a long way to go before they start resonating with potential clients on an intellectual and emotional level only possible through visual storytelling.

While the current vogue in legal marketing is the “good enough quality in high volume” approach, some professional firms are investing in powerful visual narratives that make memorable, durable connections with viewers.

About Face Media, creators and producers of short-form documentaries for online and social media marketing, developed a series of biographical vignettes for San Francisco law firm Howard Rice. Without expounding a bulleted list of talking points, each video conveys the firm’s values, as well as the individual subject’s capabilities and character.

Do you think a documentary-style attorney bios would elevate your brand and generate inquiries, or is a consistent output of basic, topical videos more important for your business development model? Do you use both?

Endeavor to Be Useful: Legal Marketing Tips 11.18.11

  • 7 ideas to turn PowerPoint slides into social media marketing gold | {grow} 
  • 5 Ways to Improve Local Search Results for Business | Duct Tape Marketing
  • Hubspot’s Greatest Hits: Top 10 Hits From The Superstars of Web Marketing Research | Orbit Media Studios
  • 5 Productivity Tools by @liveurlove | Spin Sucks 
  • 5 Tips for Using the New LinkedIn Company Pages | Social Media Examiner
  • 1 Important Thing to Know About Getting Clients Through Your Blog | For Bloggers by Bloggers
  • Internal Branding for Professional Services Firms: 10 Key Success Strategies | Hinge

Endeavor to Be Useful: Legal Marketing Tips 11.02.11