I smile wryly to myself thinking back to my Bar days when old school colleagues would say that Linkedin activity was something to leave the clerks to and that marketing yourself as a Barrister – since we were a referral profession- was at the very least distasteful if it did not in fact offend some Bar Standards regulation. Now as a coach and former member of the profession, I’m not going to claim in depth working knowledge of the professional codes around the use of social media, but there is an inescapable truth here: Social media is no longer just a useful, but also now integral, part of lawyer life.
Start by thinking of your profile as your shop window, whether for you as an individual or for your firm. Who do you want to attract? Having a clear idea in mind about your target market will help you answer a simple and important question: “What problem do you solve for those potential clients?” Once you have this in mind, look at your profile and think, firstly, is your picture and the information displayed up to date? Secondly, have you answered that all important question in your headline, as well as evidenced it throughout your profile, showcasing how it is you do what you do?
Is your content both interesting AND useful? Your clients are likely busy people who can’t afford to be wasting time digesting your content if it doesn’t provide them with some value add. Does it answer the question for them: “What’s in it for me?” In order to get the best out of the platform, regular (daily), consistent engagement is what’s got results, so think how often to post and at what time (with reference to when your target market are most likely to be using the platform). Also consider how you can not only Like the posts of others to increase their engagement, but also Comment on posts to encourage discourse and relationship building, as well as Share their posts, which helps their reach and gives additional, useful content for your audience. Finally, think about developing yourself as a thought leader by writing articles and sharing summaries of blogs you have written (be careful not to include the full link in your post, however, as you will be penalised by the platform algorithms for diverting people elsewhere.) That way, when people think of X problem, they will remember that you, and only you, are the expert for delivering the solution they need.
Finally, consider the bottom line – what is the platform actually there for? Surely it goes without saying that it isn’t there for mindless messing but rather targeted relationship building? With that in mind, consider dedicating a block of time, 20 minutes perhaps, to set aside for daily engagement, made so much easier by the use of the app on mobile devices. And challenge yourself. Particularly in the age of home working and a reduction in face to face networking opportunities, how can you bring these new relationships off line? Set yourself some goals around how many people you will connect with daily – whether those already within your old network, by dropping them a short message to put you front of mind, or perhaps reach out to somebody new. On the latter point, for me, with any connection request, I recommend adding a personal message, although appreciate everyone is different. Ultimately, reach out, let’s say to 3 new people a day, with a view to achieving 3 (virtual) coffees a week. Think how, over a month, you could expand your network (by 84 people a month on that example) and have 12 1-1 meetings in that same period, over and above your ordinary business building activity.
I’m a great believer in the platform as a way to develop your brand, your thought-leadership, and of course your network. 60% of my business over the last 3 years has been generated in this way. But remember, it takes effort. You have to put energy in: Like everything in life, you reap what you sow.
Nikki Alderson Biography
Nikki Alderson, specialist Corporate & Executive Coach, Keynote Speaker & Best Selling Author, & former Criminal Barrister with 19 years’ experience,
- supports organisations, law firms & barristers’ Chambers to retain female talent; &
- empowers female lawyers to achieve career ambitions.
Nikki specialises in 3 areas:
- Women Leadership Transition & Change;
- Enhanced Career break returner support; &
- Workplace resilience, mental toughness, confidence & wellness.
She is the author of Amazon No.1 Bestseller Raising the Bar: empowering female lawyers through coaching , (https://amzn.to/3fodKQX) nominee for the Inspirational Women Awards, Champion of the Year Category & finalist in the 2019 International Coaching Awards, International Coach of the Year Category.