Name 10 lawyers who gush about the great sales results they have received from social media. Bet you can't even come up with that many.
Instead, you can name thousands who rage about being cheated by unethical providers of social media services. When I apply for a strategy/content-providing assignment with vendors who supply search engine optimization (SEO) whatevers to lawyers, the powers that be bluntly say: "This target market has been burned." As a result, they warn me, I am entering hostile territory.
The reality is likely that the majority of the SEO experts weren't frauds. It's more probable that lawyers relied too much on raw social media tactics - in themselves. From the get-go, anyone who has down cold marketing and sales gets it that social media is simply a part of integrated or multi-channel marketing. You never do just one thing.
Meanwhile, unfortunately, most lawyers didn't even apply to the social media outreach any fundamental understanding of marketing and sales. For example, the greatest performance of SEO keywords and density won't close any sale. Neither will a wonderful Google ranking.
To close, lawyers have to know how to lead prospects through all the parts of the sales process. Yet, lawyers tend not to bother investing in a marketing/sales seminar such as those provided by Dale Carnegie. Those should be required at every law school.
In addition, lawyers probably expected online exposure, as a stand-alone, to pull in the prospects. They stopped attending trade association meetings, authoring that tip column for estate planning in the local newspaper, doing pro bono work and delivering how-tos at the local chamber of commerce.
The current marketplace for most lawyers is a zero-sum game. The business they get comes out of another lawyer's hide. There is no margin for error. Therefore, lawyers are downright reckless in assuming that they can turn over their survival to some social media expert. If they do hire a director of overall marketing and sales they had better be able to assess the possible outcomes of each and every strategy and tactic. The owner or managing partner of the law practice has to become the unofficial Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).