Today, we have a great guest post from Eva Chan about the need for legal professionals to be present on the internet or risk missing out on the opportunity to introduce themselves to potential clients. Eva is a lawyer turned social media consultant and trainer. You can find out more about Eva here.
Welcome and many thanks for the contribution Eva.
If you’re a legal professional without a presence on the internet, you’re missing an important marketing opportunity. Being present doesn’t mean being on every social media platform. Take a look at which ones are used by your target audience and competitors.
Why be present on the internet?
It’s common for people to look for a lawyer on the internet.
Also, if you’re being referred, the person seeking your reference will likely do an internet search of you first than pick up the phone to find out further information.
The information being sought may be about your expertise, experience, education, languages you speak, etc. Or it may simply be your contact information.
Where to start?
Having a website is a good start in introducing yourself. It allows you to:
- Set out your legal expertise and experience;
- Describe how you can help others;
- Display a photo of yourself;
- Reveal what clients have thought of your service; and
- Identify where you are located and how to reach you.
Whether you have a website, you need to be on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a social networking platform that helps with building and nurturing relationships. Over 380 million members around the world are registered on LinkedIn, with over 11 million in Canada. LinkedIn reports that professionals are joining the network “at a rate of more than two new members per second”.
You can create a personal profile and/or company page. Although your profile should remain professional, you can inject some personality and personal interests into it. Your summary should not be an exact copy of your website bio.
Certain aspects of your personal profile may be made visible to those who are not signed into LinkedIn. Thus, your public personal profile is an excellent way to:
- List your skills and publications;
- Set out your expertise and interests and reinforce them by revealing the groups that you follow on LinkedIn;
- Show your long-form posts that are published on LinkedIn; and
- Provide links for people to learn more about you such as a link to your website.
For those signed into LinkedIn, your profile can reveal further things like endorsements of your skills and contact information.
Once you’ve set up your profile, let others know that you are on LinkedIn. Read my post “Does Your LinkedIn Profile URL End in a String of Numbers and Letters?” on how to create a user-friendly link for your LinkedIn personal profile. A customized link will make it easier for you to include it on presentation slides and in articles so others can also meet you online.
After regularly using LinkedIn, expand your reach by using other social media platforms.
Why other platforms?
Being on other social media platforms allows you to introduce yourself to people who may not be searching for a lawyer (yet) and who are not (active) users of LinkedIn. They also allow you to show a more personal, approachable side to you.
Typically the tone of a website and LinkedIn is more professional, with reference to your personal life and interests kept at a minimum. On other social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, more of your personal life and interests may be revealed while you share links, updates and thoughts on a professional basis. For example, LinkedIn is not an appropriate platform to post pictures of what you saw and ate while on vacation. Twitter, however, would be a more appropriate place. This, in turn, may lead to stronger connections based on commonalities found between you and your (potential) followers.
You could also introduce yourself through a blog. Share links on your social media accounts to your blog posts. If you aren’t interested in writing, you can blog in a video format (i.e. vlog) such as on YouTube.
By sharing content and thoughts on other social media platforms you think your audience may find interesting, it helps build an impression that you keep up to date and are thinking of issues that concern them. You’re doing the latter anyway, so why not make it visible on the internet.
There are many ways to introduce yourself on the internet. It’s an around-the-clock space to let others know that you exist. Different platforms allow you to reach different audiences. You don’t, however, need to launch your website and social media personas all at once. Take the time to think about what would work best for you. Also consider which social media platforms your clients and potential clients are on. Then roll out your virtual introductions on different platforms in stages to say “hello”, and relay your “about me” and “how I can help you”.
Eva Chan is a lawyer who provides social media consulting and training services to lawyers and other legal professionals. She helps them incorporate social media into their busy professional and personal life. Check out her website at evachanweb.ca.