If You “Get” Networking In General, You “Get” Social Media

Just … be careful out there.

In my last post, I talked about why an active social media presence can be a powerful tool for building a law firm’s business.

I also noted that many attorneys would rather avoid social media. You might be one of them. You might think social platforms like Facebook and Twitter aren’t worth your firm’s time. You might also worry that a post or tweet might be taken the wrong way. You might think it’s better to say nothing at all.

But in this case, at least, silence isn’t golden.

Our new white paper, “From Novelty to Necessity: Pragmatic Social Media for Law Firms,” shows that more and more potential clients are looking for legal representation online. And those consumers are using social media to learn more about law firms before they decide which one to retain.

In short, if you want to add business, your firm needs an active social media presence. That means accurate information and enough posts to make it look like someone’s actually behind your account.

The posts that work best? According to our research, it’s those that humanize a firm. They’re ones that show you and your associates as people. And that show potential clients that you’re approachable.

So how do you do that? Here are some general approaches we discuss in the white paper:

  • Go ahead and celebrate your firm’s successes. But be selective–don’t pat yourself on the back too hard. Instead, emphasize how that success helped the client. Social media users don’t trust self-aggrandizing posts.
  • Keep calm. If you have a strongly reactive or opinionated personality, it pays to keep that in check.
  • Related to that: Avoid posts on controversial subjects. True, many people use social sites to argue about the issues of the day. But that’s not what your firm should do. You want to build business, not drive it away.

One attorney who’s had success on social media puts it well: You have to be open to sharing your personality—but within your brand. Just as in all social settings, you can share too much, or too little.

You could call this balanced approach “calculated authenticity.” Yes, you want to present an honest, open presentation of your firm, your staff and your brand. At the same time, you want to think carefully before you post. What would attract people to your firm? You’re using the conversational style of social media to present a picture of your firm as trustworthy and approachable. And one that’s willing to listen. And that kind of sharing and listening is what makes social media so powerful for a service business like yours.

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