Social media is an intrinsic part of everyday life. What was once just used by teenagers for socialising and sharing music and is now used by almost 2.7 billion individuals and businesses from every corner of the globe. With over 88% of businesses actively using social media, and 3 out of 4 consumers checking a company’s social media before purchasing, if you are not currently using it as a tool for business development then you really should be.
Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have become an integral part of any effective corporate marketing strategy and millions of man-hours are dedicated every day to developing complex networks and acquiring likes, shares and comments. The power and effectiveness of social media is not limited to industries such as fashion, and consumer goods- increasingly legal practices and professional services companies are turning to social media to provide information about their services as well as relevant industry news and developments. Many legal and corporate professionals remain sceptical, believing that it would offer little value to their practices but the reality is that a regular use of social media is integral to personal, professional and practice development.
Some think that the only purpose of a corporate presence on social media platforms is to bring in new business (35% of lawyers say they have obtained new clients through social media)- they would be wrong. Although building up a strong network of client, industry and professional contacts via various platforms is important, a large part of the exercise is to build your personal brand and help amplify your professional reputation. Law students, associates, and even partners should take time on a weekly basis to maintain a consistent and informative online presence to ‘get their name out there’ and provide a valuable online resource. A recent study has shown that over 39% of lawyers have had a client retain their services directly due to their online networking and information dissemination and 56% of clients use social media to contact or build connections with outside counsel.
Building your personal brand is important to you and your firm- in a highly competitive business sphere you need to build your expertise to stand out from the crowd and using social media can help you build your authority as a reputable lawyer and an expert mind in your chosen practice area. The more that you engage on social networks, the more opportunities you must demonstrate your authority- you can do this by partaking in the following activities:
- Share relevant articles
- Post pictures of company culture
- Share company social media posts
- Publish your own writing, blogs or articles
- Once a week, add any new contacts from your email inbox to your LinkedIn profile
- Publish articles, news items or other short pieces on your Firms blog/website
- Ensure your LinkedIn profile is up to date including all academic achievements, publications, work history and a professional summary.
As a lawyer or corporate professional, an important part of your role is to network, build more business and bring in new clients to the firm and using social media is a quick, easy and easily accessible way of doing this. Think of it this way- if you spend two hours a week promoting your personal brand and strengthening your firm’s presence, all you need is one new client a year and your time will have been money well spent. Most of us use platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn daily anyway, so why not dedicate some of that time to use it professionally? Business development is as much of a vital aspect of your career as your legal practice and the role of social media and internet networking is set to increase in its importance. Don’t miss out on new clients, business and experiences because you are not using online platforms to market yourself and your firm, because rest assured that your competitors are.