Take Your Networking Online Through Social Media

Modern professionals may find in-person networking difficult. It may seem time consuming or you may not enjoy interacting in that kind of setting. Luckily, modern technology now allows you to take your networking online through social media. And you can use your blog to do it.

This week’s blog continues a review of the book, Reinventing Professional Services; Building Your Business in the Digital Marketplace, by Ari Kaplan. In Chapter 8, Kaplan relates how early in his career he treated networking as a card collection game. The more he had, the better he thought he was doing. Modern networking is happening more and more online, but the tendency to collect followers is much the same as his original card-hording mistake. Kaplan says:

“Technology has enhanced one’s ability to network, but the fundamental principles of networking have not changed.

Those principles never were centered on collecting cards; that is a great misimpression. And today, the total number of friends or fans on Facebook, the number of followers on Twitter, or the number of connections on LinkedIn don’t affect them. The cards, like their modern counterpart–contacts on the Web–enabled (and still enable) one to follow up on a meeting to create a rich relationship.”

Be Where Your Audience Is On the Web

If you want to make the most of networking on social media, you need to know where your audience is. This could be different depending on the services you provide and your target audience. Business lawyers may find their customers on LinkedIn, while family lawyers see more benefit out of Facebook. Lawyers in areas like real estate and entertainment law may even find Instagram to be a benefit.

If you don’t know where your clients are, ask. Kaplan says:

“Start by asking your existing clients, patients, and customers where they congregate and what tools they use. Consider including that request on an intake form when meeting with a new prospect.”

Obviously this will be easier in some areas than others. But there may be other legitimate reasons why an attorney needs to know about a client’s social media use. So go ahead and ask. If a client objects to providing these details, you can always skip the question.

Carry Your Brand Onto Social Media

If you have even 1 social media account, you can be sure that some clients are finding you there. But if your one account is a Twitter feed full of obscene jokes and pictures of your last drinking party, you may not be conveying the right image. Kaplan says:

“It’s important to recognize that your reputation is much more accessible in what [Rich Barton, founder of Expedia, Inc. and Zillow, Inc.] describes as a ‘super transparent world,’ in which the Web and smart phones are enabling.”

Take control of your online reputation by carrying your brand onto the web.

This is where blogging comes in handy. You can use your weekly blog content to populate your social media feeds with relevant information directly connected to the work you do. That way you’ll never have a friend say “I didn’t know you were a lawyer.” You’ll make better use of your networking sphere and create a more professional online reputation.

Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist. She prepares custom blogs and web content for law firms and small businesses. If you need content to make your social media presence more professional, contact Legal Linguist today to schedule a meeting.

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