2012 In-House Counsel New Media Engagement Survey

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How much time, attention and resources should a business-to-business focused organization spend on marketing and communicating via social media channels?

This relatively simple question has a complex and varying answer. While the utility of social media within the consumer environment is clear, marketing executives throughout B2B organizations, particularly professional services firms, continue to struggle to determine how much attention to pay to these networks.

The second annual “In-House Counsel New Media Engagement Survey” released by communications firm Greentarget, consulting firm Zeughauser Group and InsideCounsel magazine finds that older in-house lawyers—those in their 40s, 50s and 60s—are using social media in far greater numbers than they were in 2010.

The 2010’s In-House Counsel New Media Engagement Survey, the first research project of its type in the legal field, affirmed that client-side lawyers were beginning to dip their toes into the social media pool by using new media technologies for both personal and professional reasons. There was a clear generational divide between younger and older counsel in their use of social media tools, but even a year ago both were taking significant advantage of new media resources, especially law firm blogs.

This year’s survey takes this research to the next level with new questions and measurements on how perceptions and behaviors have changed over the past 20-24 months. Here are some highlights:

  • Blogs, Executed Well, Influence Hiring of Outside Counsel: Survey captured the role blogs play across age groups when deciding which firms to retain.
  • Client-Side Counsel’s Ratings of Firm-Branded Blogs: Survey measured readership and perceived credibility of various blog sources and captures results by key demographics
  • LinkedIn: The ‘Serious’ Social Network for Lawyers: LinkedIn leads all other social networks in professional usage but that wasn’t the big news here. See full survey results for credibility scores and usage
  • New Media Usage (Steadily) Going Mainstream: Find out key usage of the “big three” social media platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter), and see the siginificant changes here from the 2010 survey
  • In-House Counsel Largely ‘Invisible Users’ of Social Media: While rarely contributing to social media channels, find out how the survey was able to measure impact here
  • Wikipedia Important, But Not to Research Law Firms: Very few in-house counsel (7%) are using Wikipedia to research outside firms, but they are using the online encyclopedia for issues-based research (51%).
  • Firm-to-Client Communications Going Social: Whether initiated by inside counsel or by firms themselves, the legal industry is warming up to social media as a client services mechanism at an eight percent year-over-year increase

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