Many very successful lawyers and law firm partners have built very successful practices using traditional networking lessons. Like many traditional business practices in recent months, it has been rocked by the impact of COVID-19. I doubt whether live networking events will be of the same scale anytime soon. It is also debated whether people have the will to participate in the event.
This means that many in the legal industry who need to develop and build client relationships will need to change their approach. Citing the latest buzzword at the time, this meant partners and attorneys needed to change the way they worked. In many ways, this is an acceleration of what is happening in the wider world of sales and business development. The development and use of social selling has increased in recent years. As a lawyer, you are paid to be a good communicator, but are you as effective as social media marketing to your target audience?
The term “social selling” may not appeal to many people, but it’s better to think of it as a social network. This approach is very similar to traditional networking, the only real difference is the media. This happens online, mainly through social media, not face-to-face. As with anything new, there are new skills and techniques that lawyers must learn. Here are simple steps to get you started on social media.
It all starts with your LinkedIn profile
It must be up-to-date. At a minimum, you should have a professional-looking photo and a good first-person description of what you do and how you help your clients. Since LinkedIn is a social networking tool, your bio should have a more conversational tone and match the way you introduce yourself to others. I’m pretty sure I didn’t introduce myself in third person. If you’re struggling with that, here’s a quick guide I wrote to help professionals improve their personal LinkedIn profile. Invest time on this topic. Many customers may see your LinkedIn profile instead of your website profile.
Build a connection
Connecting with customers and colleagues is important. Assuming you know influential figures in your industry, try to connect with them. Otherwise, you can ask them to call, but you must include your message in this invitation. Your message should be clear about why you want to engage with them, and it should celebrate them as leaders in their industry.
You also receive invitations to connect from other people. If they seem reasonable and professional, their invitation may be worth accepting. It’s good to have some connections when it comes to sharing content, but decline the invitation if it looks “suspicious”. They strive for quantity and quality.
Start Sharing Interesting Articles (not just your own).
LinkedIn is a gamification platform. This is basically a nice way of saying that the more you invest in LinkedIn, the more you earn. A simple and practical way to get started is by sharing articles that you find interesting or useful. Most articles published on websites have social media share buttons, so this is easy to do. Some examples are at the end of this article (hint, hint!).
It’s important to make sure you share outside stories and articles that are relevant to the area of law you work in, as well as articles that are relevant to your client base. If you work in retail, share articles that will help you in your day-to-day work in retail, not just from a legal perspective. You can also share company-generated content as part of your content marketing strategy. Check out this article for great content marketing advice for law firms.
Balance What You Share
You may be tempted to use LinkedIn solely to promote content for yourself or your company. However, this does not give the best results in two respects. First, the LinkedIn platform collects ad content on an ongoing basis, and after a while less and less appears in that feed. That means fewer people watching. Second, your LinkedIn connection may be turned off when they see you only talking about you and your business. As a general rule, apply the 4:1 rule. Four sections of non-promotional content and another section with a fixed advertising focus.