The ABA Journal recently posted an article on a survey conducted by Harris of adults to determine how they would find a lawyer. The days of yore when people used the yellow pages to find an attorney have apparently turned over: today, those same people are browsing the web. That might be because some cities in the U.S. have banned or are thinking about banning the delivery of the old yellow phone book to try and save some trees. Not surprisingly, however, the most common referral source for an attorney are friends and family, followed by a satisfied former client that calls you again for legal help (these two were the clear leaders for referral sources).
So, should lawyers throw away their Facebook, Twitter, and blog accounts? The Harris survey indicated that a lower percentage of survey respondents were somewhat likely to look at these sources to check out an attorney (20% or less). That’s about the same as the number of relationships that start online, according to match.com, if you believe the ads. Interestingly, respondents to the survey were more likely to look at “innovative websites.” Of course, that makes more sense. Twitter is not a legal matching or legal news or even a lawyers-only web service. But my web site is all about my firm. Avvo.com is a directory of lawyers and doctors. When you think of lawyers, I would imagine that Twitter is not the first online resource that pops into your head.
Bottom line: integrate your twitter and facebook fan pages into your web site. Google is becoming the new phone book for online referrals, and if you don’t show up in the first couple of pages of results, you are less likely to be found by a prospective client.