Social media platforms have exploded in popularity, but not every industry has been quick to adopt. While regulations and privacy concerns limit how law firms engage online, clients are turning to the web for legal related information. That reluctance, however, appears to be waning according to new data from The Social Law Firm white paper.

In the paper, Good2BSocial analyzed the use of social technologies at America’s leading law firms — the Am Law 50. The company found that while law firms recognize the importance of social media, a majority of them are ineffective in the use of it to drive reach and engagement.

Don’t Just Stand There, Say Something

Many of the Am Law 50 have established their presence on social media platforms. But while 100 percent of law firms have a LinkedIn Company Page, only 26 percent own a LinkedIn Group. Additionally, out of the 94 percent of firms with Google+ Pages, only 30 percent of those are active.

The study went on to find that only two firms have publicly responded to comments on social networks between June and October 2013. This demonstrates that most large law firms don’t use social networks strategically or view them as opportunities for engagement. Although there might not be around-the-clock demand for legal assistance, if you’re on these platforms, people expect you to engage. Response time is still critical.

When asked what the single most important focus of social technology use was by law firms, 90 percent went with marketing. However, using social platforms as nothing more than distribution channels for firm news is disadvantageous to your marketing goals. What’s more, it also hurts your chances of connecting with potential clients and industry professionals.

Only 34 percent of firms have established blogs. This is surprising considering a 2012 study found that general counsel read attorney blogs “as often as they read those by professional journalists.” Additionally, 76 percent of respondents said they attribute some level of importance to a lawyer’s blog when deciding which firms to retain.

Become a Thought Leader

If your firm is creating social content, then make consistent and effective steps toward sharing that content on your website or social media channels. Of the law firms included in the study, 80 percent publish non-promotional content more than once a week. However, social tools like Pinterest, Instagram, Slideshare, and YouTube are greatly underutilized.

Consumers turn to social media for everything from product information to education about healthcare, legal matters, and so on. Share insight, add commentary, and educate the public about new laws or local causes. Entertain people with humorous laws from the past. Support fledgling law students as they prepare for their exams. Use the tools available to you through social media to become a thought leader in your industry.

Social networks have devoted a lot of time and resources to developing and launching tools specifically for businesses. Take advantage of what it has to offer, including Q&A platforms like Quora, and geo-targeted posts on Twitter and Facebook. You are uniquely skilled to help people, and social media platforms let you broadcast that information to people who are looking for it.

Many social networks offer a wide range of resources for businesses interested in adopting that platform. For example, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook have dedicated hubs where you can review case studies and best practices, as well as check out some of the exciting tools available to you. If you’re already using social media, but want to hone your techniques or tighten up your strategies, we highly recommend that you check out those resources.

[Via: AllFacebook, Image credit: Eversheds International, Howard Lake, AskYourUsers (FB)]