If you ask Steven Choi, social media is what the Web was made to do.
“The killer app of the Internet is social media,” said Choi, a California-based attorney and the man behind lawlink.com, the 8,000-member-strong social network for attorneys.
Most lawyers are using some form of social media these days – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and the like – but are you using these valuable tools effectively? If you are not, you are just screaming into the virtual ether of the Internet. Or, worse, you could be weakening your own brand.
Social media is an ever-changing phenomenon with new platforms being enhanced and created at a rapid speed. It can be hard for any professional to find the time to stay current, and this is doubly true for lawyers.
“You definitely see Internet usage by attorneys lower because we are so busy,” Choi said. “I don’t know many attorneys who can spend three, four hours a day online but some people in other jobs can.”
Get your game plan together
Since you have a hectic schedule, it is paramount that you use that time dedicated to social media as effectively as possible. First, ask yourself about your goals. Are you looking to reach other lawyers for professional advice, or do you want to drum up more clients? Maybe the answer is both.
Choose the right tool
Then, make sure you are using the correct social media platforms. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, LinkedIn is phenomenal for networking professionally, yet it is not generally regarded as a place to find new clients; and nothing is more immediate than Twitter but you are limited to short posts.
Professional vs. private
This has been something that has been spouted ad nauseam to professionals and college students alike, but the need for this advice remains: Think about separating your personal online network from your professional network. Do your professional connections really care to see Facebook pictures of your daughter’s cake-smeared face from her first birthday party?
Do more than accumulate “likes” for your firm’s Facebook fan page
There is more to social networking than simply making connections on Facebook and Twitter. Exchange ideas in a legal forum, post YouTube videos where you provide helpful information regarding your particular area of law and follow Twitter to stay ahead of legal trends. You can also use social media to locate (or weed out) potential employees as well as get referrals and clients.
Follow some simple rules
Do not forget that what you write is out there for all to see. And people will see right through your intentions. When using social media:
- Do provide quality content, maintain a consistent presence and be respectful.
- Do not spam or shamelessly promote yourself.
And remember, the more you participate in social media, the more traffic you attract for your website. Traffic is of course the first element needed in a successful online marketing campaign.