Establishing an online brand is essential for developing name recognition and building trust with current and prospective clients. In today’s digital landscape, brand identity is strongly linked to social media presence. By building their own personal brands and establishing a social media following, individual lawyers can enhance their own reputations and facilitate greater reach for their firms. This is unfortunately not always an easy task – the social media landscape as a lawyer is competitive, but there are several strategies you can employ to make your name stand out.
Polish Your Social Profile
You first need to make sure that your personal social media profiles are refined and ready to be viewed. Choose a professional, high-quality headshot for your profile photo and consider using it for all accounts – maintaining a consistent image will facilitate a consistent brand. Finally, when writing social media bios, think carefully about how you want to introduce yourself to the world. It’s important to include relevant keywords when describing your skills and services, but put time and effort into making your bio as original as possible.
Know Your Audience
Your target audience will first dictate what platforms you should focus your energy on. Remember that LinkedIn and Twitter tend to be used more by professionals, Facebook by older generations, and Instagram by millennials. So, if you are an elder law attorney, it is probably not necessary to try to grow your personal brand on Instagram.
Your audience will also drive the angle you take when providing your followers with information. Following from above, as an elder lawyer, it would make sense for you to portray yourself as a source of assistance rather than as thought leader. You will want to keep this theme and tone consistent throughout the content you post, so your audience knows what to expect by following you. They will ultimately associate you with your brand, leading to top-of-mind awareness when they are looking for information.
Create Relevant Content
Your practice area can often serve as the theme for your social media content. If you work in more than one specific area, choose the one that you are most passionate about or that best lends itself to creative, engaging and informative content. Again, consistency is key – try to stick to posts about or related to this topic.
Keep in mind that content will differ for each social platform. Twitter and LinkedIn should be used mostly for sharing insights, news updates, and blog posts whereas Facebook and Instagram are still mainly social platforms that encourage a more personal approach. Video can be especially effective here in humanizing your online presence, through Q&A sessions, “day-in-the-life” clips and how-to videos.
Engage With Your Followers & New Communities
It’s essential that your social presence is not just one-sided. To help gain followers and actually build connections, make sure you are liking and responding to comments, retweeting, and following others. Additionally, joining groups on Facebook and LinkedIn will allow you to further interact with both personal and professional communities. Use the search bar on each network to find groups that are linked to your specific area of expertise, then you’ll be able to share your insights and build authority around your personal brand.
Make Posting Easy with Apps
Maintaining an online presence and growing your personal brand on social media can be time-consuming. For busy lawyers, that poses a problem. However, there are many social media apps that can make consistent posting and upkeep easier. HubSpot, Hootsuite and Buffer all connect to your social media networks and allow you to cross-post across different social networks and schedule posts; removing the need to login to multiple websites. Most major social media networks, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are compatible with these applications.
Keep it Positive
You now know a few things you should be doing on social media to build your personal brand and the best social impression for yourself. But how do you make sure that impression is a positive one? Think of your social media interactions as part of your resume and a reflection of your professional attitude and overall personality. Avoid inflammatory religious or racial comments, and be careful when making political commentary that others may consider offensive.
If you have concerns about not being able to voice your opinions to the extent you wish, consider creating two sets of social media accounts: one for private use (to stay connected with family and close friends), and one for professional use. Your responses and shares should be heavily calculated on your professional account as you’ll use it to build new business connections and opportunities.
Don’t Overpost or Overpromote
These two actions are a sure way to lose some followers. In terms of post frequency, outline a social media calendar and schedule posts to help establish a consistent yet appropriate posting routine. Frequency also differs by the platform – aim for 3-4 Twitter posts a day, but keep LinkedIn and Instagram to once a day or every other day. Additionally important is having a healthy balance between promotional and non-promotional content. It’s okay to share awards and recognition you receive with your followers; just make sure self-promotion doesn’t make up more than 30% of your posts.
Look to Influencers for Inspiration
If you don’t consider yourself a social media guru, don’t be discouraged – there are plenty out there who can help you grow your brand. Social media today is teeming with influencers in many industries, including the legal field. You can look to these experts to get an idea of best practices for becoming a thought leader and partner with them to share content and industry connections.
How you represent yourself on social media as a lawyer is of utmost importance whether you are a solo practitioner or an attorney at a big firm. A well-established personal brand will not only increase your visibility as a lawyer but also help define your purpose and values as a person.
If you need assistance growing your personal brand on social media, reach out to us today. We have vast experience helping lawyers and law firms achieve measurable success through social media.
Updated and Republished from July 1, 2019