Social Media is changing the way we connect to other people and communicate for both personal and business reasons. Times are a-changin’ and for lawyers out there, it’s specially relevant to take a second look at one’s own online presence and how it influences the capacity to drive new business to your doorstep.
Social media is more than just a means of communication, however. It’s also the medium for reputation management and serve as one of the main source of electronic evidence; with legal risks regarding defamation, erroneous reporting, and issues with copyright.
Here are three reasons why you should start to treat your social media accounts with all due seriousness.
1) Social Media is marketing you can’t just miss
Social Media gives you a voice, and it’s this voice that allows you to build your reputation. This is marketing without being obnoxious about it.
In the beginning, many companies tried to block access to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc. because they felt that people would just waste time on them instead of working or compromise the company’s image with improper behavior and security lapses. What they failed to consider however, is that social media builds connections between a firm and its clients. Without using the tools to manage their reputation, they would always be a tad too late in handling a potential image crisis.
For an attorney, having strong social media presence is the perfect way to build trust and engage with other lawyers and potential clients. Links and conversations point the way to your main website and allows those you know to build connections with each other. Now it’s no longer about ‘will using social media be dangerous to me’ but ‘isn’t it dangerous to my career if I’m not on social media?’
2) Social Media helps lawyers even in non-urban practice areas
If anything, social media is much more important if your practice happens to serve a community. But posting on social media and interacting with others, you build your reputation as someone with a wider net of connections while presenting yourself as someone best suited to the specific needs of your community.
By keeping it local, you build awareness of what’s going on in your locality. It builds goodwill from those you know and interest from those looking from the outside. Many young lawyers today prefer to leave their hometowns for practice in the city, but living out in the country has its advantages and tidy comforts. Use social media to receive queries from those who need representation without the discouraging rates demanded by those lawyers with downtown offices, able to argue with a better eye for what they actually need.
You can present yourself as a lawyer that makes the law available to the common folk, a personable advocate that’s interested in solving their problems rather than milking them for their money.
Of course, if you do happen to be a lawyer in an urban area, you have to take it for granted that all your clients will be connected to social media networks already. If they can’t find you in there, they’re less likely to trust you’re capable of handling their cases.
3) Social Media isn’t that confusing or tiresome after all
You can find no end of social media experts ready to take your money to promote your online presence. However, in the end it just boils down to these four major networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and merely having interesting things to say in them.
It can feel exhausting to always be connected, to write up text and upload photos and share things your audience might find interesting. Are you sharing too much, perhaps even too personal information? Are you engaging with others through conversation?
The important thing to remember is that being genuine is still the best way to build rapport. Post only what truly interests you, the most important thought you have for the day. Even a posting schedule of every other day or twice a week is enough. Post responsibly, never braggy or confrontational, never falsely – remember that your goal in your social media efforts is to build a calm and well-informed professional image.