Issue link: http://ailahub.aila.org/i/116722
How to Build Your Professional Image with Social Media
by David Cox
ttorneys are notorious for being aloof and
stodgy. Walls lined with mahogany bookshelves
and lawyers in starched shirts and designers
suits sitting at oak desks only fuel that image. But
even the most traditional law firms are recognizing
the value of the newest media trends. How can
lawyers bridge the gap between their professional
image and the free-for-all exposure that comes from
participating in today's social media frenzy? Start
with these basic principles.
FIRST, GET INTO THE GAME. Facebook, Twitter, Google+
and LinkedIn, are not mere fads. Like email, these
relatively new tools are now permanent players in
business communication. Don't assume you can
distinguish yourself by keeping a low online profile.
Your clients may already expect to be connected with
your firm, using these tools.
SECOND, GET HELP. Unless you are already social media
savvy, hire someone to create and maintain a presence
on your behalf. Many web service providers now offer
this service. In addition, some attorneys with more
experience are offering their social media expertise
to their colleagues. Ask around to see if someone you
know and trust can help you. The value of social media
is always being connected to your audience. Reacting
Social Media 101
Twitter is for
quick bursts of
longer posts, but
announcement. and legal issues.
in real time is critical. If you can't find the time to stay
connected, delegate this task to someone who can.
media as if you are at a social gathering. Posts should
not regularly feature hyperlinks to your website. If your
audience wanted to see what's on your website, they
would just go there directly. Consider posting your
opinion or commenting on an interesting current legal
issue. Digest the content you are providing so your
clients can get what they need right from your post.
Then, feel free to link to additional information about
the topic. People will follow, like, connect and join
circles with you on these platforms because they are
interested in the topics and issues you address. Reward
your followers with content that keeps them coming
back for more.
THIRD, KEEP YOUR PERSONAL LIFE SEPARATE FROM YOUR
PROFESSIONAL LIFE. Get different accounts for each.
Your clients don't want to see pictures from your
latest vacation or hear your personal views on current
events—save those inputs for your personal accounts.
Use your business social media account to update
clients on changes in the law, describe successful
outcomes, or announce events you are hosting. Many
successful attorneys maintain a blog where they post
lengthier content targeted to the same audience.
Linking to blog posts through social media is a great
way to drive traffic to your blog (and your website).
FINALLY, DON'T MIX AND MATCH. Cross posting the same
content to different media ignores the unique value of
each. Linked In is great for professional networking.
Sharing professional accomplishments and discussing
legal issues works well on that site. Twitter is for
quick bursts of information, like a headline or
announcement. Facebook allows longer posts but the
audience is more mixed, so limit discussion to broad
treatments of topics.
FOURTH, KEEP IT INTERESTING. Don't forget the "social"
part of social media. Engage your clients using the
David Cox, has been practicing immigration and
criminal defense law since 1993.
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soon shed that stodgy image.
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