The UK is often described as being 5 years behind the US when it comes to following popular trends. This figure is greatly narrowed when referring to internet trends, which can become popular nationally overnight.
The same can therefore be said for the adoption of certain trends by UK law firms, taken from their US equivalents. In 2010, Lawyer SEO Marketing made a number of predictions concerning what lawyers could expect in the next few years from the expansion of social media and their impact on marketing trends.
Prediction #1: Google Places
One of the Lawyer SEO Marketing’s first predictions was that Google Places, and other local search services, will replace the yellow pages and other directories.
Whilst it is true that services such as Google Services and Google Maps are increasingly being used to find and locate firms, they have yet to replace yellow page listings and other more conventional search methods.
Prediction #2: Both Individual Lawyers and Law Firms will Have a Greater Online Presence
Lawyers and law firms alike are discovering that the greater online presence they have, the more publicity they will receive. In the last few years, many law firms, particularly London-based solicitors like Darlingtons or Adams law, have developed their websites so that they not only provide information on the services the law firm offers, but also provide details about their latest deals, news and information. Commercial law firms are generally further behind than personal injury sites which, like this site often include immediate ways to take action as well as offering information.
Smaller law firms have been slow to develop their online presence, with many having just a basic web template design providing their contact information. However niche firms are catching up, and google seems to be receptive to the fact that online searchers often want niche, specialist advice. A couple of examples of niche law firms include this website for insolvency law and also this one for licensing law, both very niche areas.
Prediction #3: Law Firms will Become ‘App-Aware’, Increasing Smartphone Usage
This prediction has certainly come true for personal injury lawyers and law firms. Although personal injury lawyers and firms can often be criticised within the industry, they are one of the only sectors of law who are effectively harnessing advertising campaigns and social media to advertise their legal services.
There are now personal injury apps which can help users find a personal injury lawyer/firm in their area.
It is interesting to note, however, that other areas of law are yet to fully develop and take advantage of the benefits an online presence can bring.
Prediction #4: The Incorporation of Videos and Shareable Media on Law Firm Websites will Become Commonplace
Although there has been an increase in the use of video and shareable media on law firm websites, it has yet to become commonplace.
Firms such as Mayer Brown have a number of law-related accessible videos on their site (which can be found here: http://www.mayerbrown.com/publications/?PublicationTypes=70253494-bc27-4583-95f9-79548079228e).
One of the most innovative firms who are really getting to grips with social media and social marketing is Eversheds. They have a wide array of videos on their website which are highly informative, providing detail about the firm and the type of work they get involved in. These can be found here: https://www.eversheds.com/uk/home/publications/videos.page?.
Prediction #5: Law Firms will receive More Stringent Rules relating to Advertising and Social Media Marketing
Now that social media is playing an increasingly important role in law firms, firms have been using more stringent rules when it comes to social media marketing.
Prediction #6: Law Firms will Adopt Clearer Social Media Policies
Many independent companies have created social media policy templates that law firms can adopt and then adapt to their individual firm, which saves a lot of time for lawyers, and is also more subject specific seeing as they are written by experts on social media and its impact.
As a result, there has been a clearer and more effective adoption of social media policies by law firms, which are also of course important for all businesses with growing employment law implications.