Social media is a reasonably new as a tool for lawyers. It has actually been around for more than a decade, but since we are notorious for not being early adopters of new ideas or technologies, it emerged much later than that as a marketing and business development force in the legal sector.
Used properly, social media engagement is an efficient and effective tool for building your profile and cultivating your relationships — two of the key objectives in a successful business development program.
So, this month, I’m going to give you some tips that will help you use social media to advance those objectives.
1. Define the precise communities that you want to connect with and keep that audience in mind when deciding what to post about.
• Remember it is about engaging them, not just broadcasting information about you.
• Find out where the people in those communities go for information. Use the things you see them talking about on those platforms to guide you about the kinds of things you should be posting about, and where you should be posting them, to contribute to that discourse and get yourself noticed.
• Research who the influencers are in those communities and connect with them.
• Social media is the great leveller. It gives you a means of connecting directly with the kinds of people that you may have had a harder time finding or meeting before social media came about.
2. Define who you want to be in those communities.
• By properly connecting and properly crafting your posts, you can cultivate and maintain the perception of you as anything you want to be in the community you have chosen.
• So decide what you want to be to them. What is your value proposition — what can you contribute to them?
i. Thought leader?
ii. Passionate advocate?
iii. Engaged, knowledgeable and technically excellent lawyer in their field or industry?
iv. Client service-focused lawyer?
v. Interesting, smart problem solver?
• Whatever it is that you are most equipped to be in that community, keep that objective in mind when you post. This is not to say that you won’t post on topics that are outside of that narrow focus or that you shouldn’t show some personality in your posts, because you should. But this identity will be the organizing theme around which you create and execute your social media campaign.
3. Overcome your fear of posting opinions: Give points of view and talk about controversial issues, but make sure you exercise exceptional judgment when you do so.
• Posting general information content is fine, and it can be the bread and butter of any lawyer’s social media strategy because posts that translate knowledge and information about legal subject matter are popular in communities like ours where people are wired for and pursue the acquisition of information.
• However, it is almost always the passion-driven, more controversial posts (written with proper judgment and consideration, of course) that convey an opinion or point of view and address current issues that get the most traction and give your profile a really big boost.
• They may also help pre-qualify leads. People who are more like you and share your perspective may be drawn to you and people who don’t may be dissuaded from contacting you.
Lawyers worry about that consequence, but in fact it can be a good thing, because the point of this exercise is to build a business doing work that you like for clients with whom you share a strong connection. So any tool you can use to attract clients who will be great for you and deter clients who will not be a good fit is a good tool to have!