12 Technologies that will Continue to Impact Social & Digital Media in 2020 and Beyond (And Why We Care)

If you are reading this, you’ve made it to the 12th Day of Social & Digital Media! On behalf of my co-chair Meghan Spradling and myself, we send a big thank you to all our contributors for sharing their time and insights with us this year. Many contributors were former or founding chairs of this SIG and we appreciate your dedication to making this SIG what it is today.

A big thanks to our members and friends of the SIG for following along and joining our last webcast of the year yesterday.

We hope everyone enjoyed the content this year as we look ahead to 2020 and beyond.

On a separate note, I’ve truly enjoyed my time as co-chair of this SIG, working with smart and innovate individuals who are always looking for new and different ways to advance the social and digital marketing efforts of their firms. I believe that who we are today is a collection of the people we've meet and the experiences we've had along the way. I am a better person and professional for having been a part of LMA and working alongside many of you these past years.

While this is technically a ‘good-bye’ as I roll off the SIG, I’m not going far. You can find me next year as a Director at Large on the Northeast Regional Board. I am excited for the next LMA chapter in my career.

If you missed any of the 12 Days posts, scroll to the bottom of this page for links to the previous 11 Days of Social & Digital Media. Happy Holidays!

What technology do you anticipate will make the biggest impact on social and digital media?

Marketers know that our industry is in a constant state of change. It feels like almost everyday there is a new technology or trend that we need to understand. In this post, I’ve highlighted twelve technologies that I believe have staying power. While I am not suggesting that we run out and try to adopt all of these trends, I think these twelve present the greatest opportunities for law firms to learn from other industries and think differently about how we can harness the power of the technology to engage our target audiences.  

  1. Zero-Click Search: In June, for the first time, a majority of all browser-based searched on Google resulted in zero-clicks. 50.33% of all Google searches to be exact. And this trend is expected to continue. (A zero-click search is when a searcher uses the information presented on the search results page as means to answering their query.) Why we care: We’ve been optimizing our websites and content for SEO. And, clicks were virtually guaranteed to the pages who landed on the sacred first page of organic search results. Now, more than half of Google users aren't clicking a link at all. The more searches that end without users clicking to a page means less traffic and fewer opportunities to influence your audience.
  2. Programmatic Advertising: By the end of this year, advertisers in the U.S. will spend close to $60 billion on programmatic advertising. Harnessing the power of data, programmatic advertising uses real-time data to identify the best online audience for a campaign and buy digital ad inventory available across multiple devices, in places the audience cares about. Why we care: For those engaged with advertising or those thinking about it, programmatic advertising offers an edge over the competition with the ability to optimize and target the right audience in real time. 
  3. Chatbots: Using NLP (Natural Language Processing), this software simulates a conversation that might be had with a real person. (Think Amazon customer service chat.) Why we care: This technology is seriously evolving customer service expectations. In the not too distant future, people will no longer be willing to complete web forms or wait for answers their questions. In particular, this technology could be an opportunity for plaintiff’s firms.
  4. Geo-Fencing: This location-based technology, which is compatible with 92% of U.S. smartphones, uses GPS, RFID, Wi-Fi or cellular data to connect with smartphone users in a designated geographic area through mobile apps or mobile webpages. Why we care: This technology offers a new layer of connectivity with clients and prospects at conferences, tradeshows, and other similar events. So if they don’t make it to your booth this technology can offer an effective solution to generate awareness of your firm.
  5. Geo-Targeting: Also a location-based technology, this targeting can be done on the city or zip code level via IP address or device ID and provide different content to viewers based on their geographic locations. Why we care: This technology increases efficiency in content delivery and acknowledging a prospect's location increases relevance, and results in higher engagement. Here is a post from our 2018 12 Days with more info on Geo-Targeting to maximize regional impact.
  6. Influencer Marketing: (Hear me out.) While this isn’t technically a technology, this trendy marketing approach focuses on using people (usually well-known) to drive a brand's message to the larger market. The influencers we are accustomed to are typically well-known celebrities or Instagram personalities with a big following. Why we care: This marketing approach reinforces the need for people (prospects) to feel a deeper emotional connection with a brand, which is why influencer marketing is so successful. In the legal world, I think of testimonials as our influencer marketing. In an industry where there are countless firms competing for a piece of the market and everyone is staking claim to being the leader in their field, client testimonials can be impactful and persuasive, and validate the claim(s) your firm is making in the mind of a prospect.
  7. Interactive Content: This hand-on approach engages the audience with active participation instead of passive reading, watching, or listening. 360-degree video, AR (augmented reality), and polls are just a few examples of ways big brands are using interactive content. Why we care: We’ve seen great examples of interactive content from a few firms in recent years. Over time, this trend may increase the expectation of viewers that standard content will be interactive, which opens many opportunities for firm’s to be creative with increasing user engagement.
  8. Live Streaming: Recording your videos in real-time online so the audience can watch the content as it’s happening. Why we care: We’ve seen a few examples of effective live steaming at law firms work well. Leveraging this technology to increase awareness of your firm’s interesting happenings like a new office opening or work at a charitable event is a real opportunity to connect with clients and prospects on a more emotional level. Check out this year’s day three post for a great success story.
  9. Podcasts: This booming marketing approach (an audio show, usually spread across a series of episodes) outperforms it’s visual competitors. Why we care: Podcast stats are at an all-time high – awareness, listenership, and frequency of listening – and are only expected to grow. Check out this year’s day 11 post for more info on why podcasts are important to a law firm’s marketing mix.
  10. Google Podcast Indexing: Earlier this year, Google announced that it would start indexing podcast episodes to appear in search results. Why we care: This update will provide another opportunity for our content to be found. Make sure that episode descriptions are complete, accurate, and optimized. By taking the necessary steps now you can maximize your podcast's chances of being served up in search results.
  11. Voice search: Comprising almost 1/3 of the 3.5 billion Google searches performed daily, voice search is likely to become the primary user interface to our marketing content. Why we care: Voice is slowly replacing typing as the primary way people conduct searches online. While this may not have an immediate impact for law firms, there are things you can start to do now to optimize your website for voice search, such as using long tail keywords.
  12. Beacons: This technology, which uses low-energy Bluetooth technology, is a market leader in proximity marketing technology, actually beating out Wi-Fi. (Think about the ‘what song is playing now’ feature on your Starbucks app.) It is expected that 400 million units will be active by 2020 and the beacon market will surpass $25 billion by 2024. I think it’s safe to say this technology is expected to make a big impact in marketing. Why we care: These inexpensive devices can transmit relevant, targeted messages and information to mobile devices. Think about the number of clients, prospects, and referral sources that visit your office(s), especially if you are firm that hosts events. Your office visitors can use their mobile devices to access or engage with information about the firm or an event.


Ifrah1.pngA value that really drew me to Knapp Marketing a little over a year ago, was the team’s commitment to viewing every opportunity through a business development and branding lens. So when one of our firm's longstanding clients, Ifrah Law, was celebrating it’s 10th Anniversary we knew it was a high-impact opportunity to reinforce the firm’s strong brand while celebrating the firm’s consistency and longevity.

The digital components of the anniversary campaign included a website homepage takeover, as well as an anniversary bar displayed on each of the internal webpages. The theme was carried through to other places that clients and prospects spend their time, like social media and in email. To view the entire campaign, click here.



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Jennifer Simpson Carr is a Senior Consultant at Knapp Marketing, a leading consulting agency to law firms aiming to increase their revenue streams through strategic positioning, marketing support, and business development training. Jennifer guides firms and attorneys in establishing competitive advantage and winning new business in competitive markets. Her approach to business development combines marketing strategies, communications campaigns, and thought leadership opportunities. She has more than a decade of experience leading business development strategies at law firms. In 2019, she was named to the Top 50 Twitter accounts lawyers should follow. jennifer@knappmarketing.com | @jsimpsoncarr.




In case you missed it:

The 1st Day, featuring Meghan Spradling of Miller Nash Graham & Dunn

The 2nd Day, featuring Roy Sexton of Clark Hill

The 3rd Day, featuring Jessica Aries of Peek & Toland PLLC

The 4th Day, featuring Laura Toledo of Nilan Johnson Lewis PA

The 5th Day, featuring Stefanie Knapp of Allen Matkins

The 6th Day, featuring Jacqueline Madarang of Blank Rome

The 7th Day, featuring Nancy Myrland, SIG founding member and past chair 

The 8th Day, featuring Kim Lyons of Holland & Knight

The 9th Day, featuring Lindsey Bombardier of Lenczner Slaght

The 10th Day, featuring Lynn Foley of fSquared Marketing

The 11th Day, featuring Gina Rubel of Furia Rubel Communications

Stay Tuned!

On Monday, December 23, keep an eye out for content from a guest contributor with top tips to communicate the value of social and digital media in 2020.

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