I’ve heard these comments, or ones similar to them, many times in the past several years.
“I’m not sure this is all worth it….this Social Media thing.”
“I tried LinkedIn, but it didn’t produce anything for me.”
“I can’t see how Twitter could possibly result in anything positive.”
“Why would I want to spend time on Facebook?”
“I have no desire to sit in front of my phone, livestreaming to people I can’t hear.”
“Nobody listens to podcasts.”
I understand this doubt, and I also understand what causes it. Why don’t we spend a few minutes talking about a few ways to overcome that doubt about social media.
We need to first agree that this is all about networking, and the importance of that is not new to you. Networking with clients, potential clients, referral sources, alumni, media, and others has always been important to you and your practice, and it always will be. Without others, you have no practice.
Networking via social media is definitely worth it if you are focusing on the following.
Interacting With People
You must interact with people if you expect to find results in these spaces. Only you know what your goals for using social media are, but one constant that applies to every goal I can think of is that you need to communicate with other people. If you don’t interact, you are simply a broadcaster, and you are sending the signal that you aren’t interested in what others have to say. Do you attend events to be a wallflower, or do you go to them knowing you might get to know clients and prospects a little better? The same is true for networking via social media.
Listening To People
Part of social networking is listening to what others are talking about. When you do, you pick up on what is important to your clients and prospects. Are they posting about events they are sponsoring, showing their pride in their community, a cause, a person, a new hire, or a partner who has been honored? Are they attending industry conferences, and maybe even presenting? People will tell you what to talk about…if you listen. Follow up. React. Share their excitement.
Learning From Others
You and I know a lot about our respective fields of study, but we don’t know everything. Well, at least I don’t. You have spent years, maybe even decades, staying on top of your practice area so you can help your clients in the best way possible. The reality is that there is enough information about our areas of expertise out there to keep us busy reading, watching and listening for the next 10 years. Find your favorite sources of new information, or at least different ways to look at your practice area, or even those who are at odds with your philosophy, and follow and listen to them. Take the best of it and get better. Share what you respect with others, and help them become better, too. They will appreciate you for that.
Showing Up Regularly
When you get involved in industry or trade events, do you go once and expect to develop lasting relationships? Do you write one article for a trade, legal, or business publication, and feel certain readers will fall in love with what you have to say, and will come calling? Hoping the answer to that is no, you don’t, then I want to remind you social media is the same. You can’t show up once or twice, expecting to gain a huge or important following. You have to choose your platform, then show up consistently. That doesn’t mean hours every day. It also doesn’t have to mean hours every week. You would be surprised what you can accomplish in between meetings, or when you are waiting for your mocha java latte with 2 pumps of lightening, and extra foamy stuff (sorry, I’m not a coffee drinker, so I had to make that one up), or during the commercials during The World Series. You can become an amazing social networker in those “in between” moments.
As you can see, these are not networking concepts that are out of reach for you. They resemble in-person networking. The differences lie in the mechanics and best practices to use to approach the different social networks, setting them up, finding the best ways to become efficient while using them, and discovering the best ways to work all of this into your busy days.
Is social media worth it? Yes, it is, but only if you incorporate the best practices that will help you stand out from others who seem to like to use these platforms as broadcasters, and not as ways to find, nurture, and protect the relationships that are important to the business you are running, which is your practice.
You decide. I’d love to know what you think, or if you have anything to add.
Nancy Myrland is a Marketing, Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing practices. She is a frequent LinkedIn and Twitter trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers and legal marketers understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and helps lead firms through their online digital strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing and livestreaming. She can be reached via email here.