One of the most common questions I’m asked as a business development coach for attorneys is, “Should I be posting on social media and is this a good use of my time and energy?” You’ll love my answer. It depends. The first thing you need to ask yourself is, “What am I trying to accomplish in my career?” “Who am I trying to target?” and “Am I willing to take time away from other things to get there?” If the answer is the affirmative, you may want to consider getting in the game or stepping up your current lackluster performance. Here are three simple steps to get started or bring your game to the next level in 30 days or less.
Answer the questions I asked at the beginning of this piece; what are you trying to accomplish and who are you targeting as your audience? Assuming growth is desired, you must consider your targets and if social media is a relevant way to attract them. From my experience, there are two key targets that you may want to focus on. The first group is direct prospective clients, including general counsels, CEOs, and all forms of executives who can hire you directly. The second is strategic partners, or referral sources who may send the first group of targets your way. If one or both of these groups are engaged on social media, you may have some success if you have the right connections, content and social interactions.
Do yourself a favor before going any further by creating a list of these two targeted groups. Try writing down the names of five prospects and five known referral sources. Then look on LinkedIn to see if you can find them with “active” profiles. By active, I mean that they have photos, summaries, active email addresses, over 250 connections and have history of engaging in the platform (LinkedIn in this example). If you’re seeing a positive trend from the names you’re researching, LinkedIn may be a good place to start.
Create a Social Media Calendar, to ensure that your posts include quality, consistency and are focused in the following areas:
- Education – Write or repost content that is valuable and interesting to your audience. This is an opportunity to get more value from the content you’ve researched or created. For example, I write this column for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin every month. Then I post it on LinkedIn and Facebook to get more traction then CDLB alone. My posts get seen by the over 9,000 connections I have on LinkedIn.
- Rant – Take a stand on something you feel strongly about. This can define and differentiate you from the other attorneys who are only playing it safe. Here’s an opportunity for you to demonstrate authenticity, which is what connects people to you in a meaningful way. No need for images or name dropping here. Just dig in and have some fun with this (up to 1300 characters). You’ll be amazed at the traction you can create.
- Query – Ask a question that may generate comments and dialogue with your targeted audience (no politics or religion). LinkedIn even has a new polling feature that allows you to formalize a Q & A to your specifications.
- Appreciation – Post other people’s content and share your gratitude for them and how they help others. Be sure to @name the person or people with whom you are giving praise.
In addition to these types of posts, be sure to commit to a certain number of posts per week. Only with consistent effort can your brand be built on social media. Consider that you may need to post two-to-five times a week for six months to get things on the right track. Also, consider bringing your assistant into the mix or hiring a social media assistant to help you and ensure this gets done every week.
It’s called “social” media for a reason. Posting content alone isn’t going to get you to the promised land. It is imperative that you like, comment and share posts with your community to engage them in a positive way. This can be a time suck, so you may want to build out your list of targeted strategic partners, clients and prospects to ensure you focus on them versus the general public. For example, I regularly comment and add my two cents with many of my strategic partners in the legal space. Many lawyers like to talk shop around marketing and business development. I love kicking in my ideas and experiences to add value to their posts. I often find other users liking and commenting on my comments. GOAL! We have engagement.
While there are so many elements of social media that we hate or even despise, there are just as many silver linings if we look in the right places. For myself and many of my attorney clients, we focus on LinkedIn as it’s more professional and business focused. One thing to remember, you are either a part of the conversation or you’re not. When it comes to brand building as a lawyer through social media, you need to decide if you are in or out. If it’s not for you, that’s okay. There are many other ways to build your brand without engaging on social media. That being said, effectively utilizing these platforms will shorten the process of becoming well known and a leader in your space. I hope this helps and feel free to learn more on my “Steve Fretzin” YouTube channel or my blog, www.fretzin.com/blog.