The Pew Internet & American Life Project issued a 2010 update on the use of the Internet for product and service research. According to the findings, the number of American adults who researched products and services online when considering a purchase has grown from 49% in 2004 to 56% in 2010. In addition, Pew measured the number of Americans posting product reviews or comments online at 24%. The September 2010 study included 3,001 adults, ages 18 and older.
Americans are sharing product/service information on social networking websites, such as Facebook, at a substantially increasing rate, from 5% in 2005 to 46% in 2010. The author of the Pew study did mention that part of the increase in use of social networking sites for sharing of product and service information may be due to the presence of informal channels of commercial information on these social networks.
Lessons from the Pew Study
Attorneys should consider how service reviews and social networking sites can impact their marketing campaigns. Has a former client reviewed your legal services on Avvo or Yelp? Do you have a profile page for interacting with clients on social networking sites and channeling discussions or reviews about your firm? Does your website, blog or social networking profile page feature a Like button so that clients or fans can promote your firm to trusted friends within their network?
For solo and small firm practitioners, the Internet can level the playing field and allow you to leverage your strategic marketing endeavors to reach a broad, targeted audience. Don’t make the mistake of dismissing Facebook as a fad for pre-teens. Older Americans have embraced Facebook as well. By channeling your efforts and tapping into social networking websites, your law firm can take advantage of the increased acceptance and usage of social networks to achieve virtual word-of-mouth marketing success.