I was having a conversation with one of my awesome team members yesterday about the role that social media plays in marketing a law firm and the impact it has when trying to land potential clients. It really got my mind to thinking (scary I know), and now I want to address just ONE of the things I believe lawyers should be thinking about sooner rather than later as it relates to their "public persona" online.
Authentic conversation on social media is great, transparency is awesome – but you have to remember that you are a professional.
Just like the big law firms telling law school students to watch what they are putting on social media sites because it will be reviewed as part of the hiring process, you also need to pay attention to what you are putting out there on the public platform. There are some attorneys (many that I know and like) that simply share TOO MUCH information online and run the risk of alienating clients.
I know I'm going to get some flack for this, but blogs and social media are the new yellow pages. And of course it's also where clients are going to get to know professionals BEFORE they contact their office.
(Just like what you would do before YOU would hire someone to work for you).
So let me ask you, is the image that you portray online something that would make a good "first impression" to potential clients? If it is not, I really want to encourage you to re-evaluate your social media plan and create a guidelines and policies handbook for your law business. Yes, written guidelines for how your law office handles social media (even if it is JUST for you right now!)
Now do not get me wrong- I'm not saying you can not have personality and must make social media all about business without any viewpoints or friendships. What I am saying, however, is the same thing I tell my daughter who is in college – think before you hit submit or post. I know you can set privacy levels for your Facebook profile, but who knows how long that will be good for, and twitter is not protected at all. Google your name + twitter and read through your tweet stream as if you were a potential client because trust me, more and more people will be doing just that before they call your office. So bottom line – remember, YOU are a professional. Convey that each and every time you post.
PS- On a final note, if you are spending all day on twitter I highly encourage you to stop that too. I know "I" do not want to see that my attorney spends most of their day chatting on social media sites (ok so I shared 2 things!) Instead of working on client matters. If you have content you want to share, consider pre-scheduling it with another platform so you can focus solely on interacting with your friends / followers when you do have a chance to chat.