I was recently interviewed for a podcast exploring the effects that a person’s social media presence can have on their career. It got me thinking:
Is it a requirement for lawyers to have a social media presence in today’s market?
What form(s) should this take?
Is a strong and positive social media presence an asset in the 21st century?
How active should you be?
Do I have to have a social media presence?
Of course not. However, it can be very useful. Having a social media presence with a positive and upbeat message can have a variety of professional benefits, including:
Understanding market trends and future areas of opportunity;
Obtaining local, national & international updates quickly and effectively;
Growing your professional network – particularly important for those moving into the Senior Associate level or above;
Being considered for new opportunities and roles;
Bringing value to your law firm; and
Increasing your visibility in the market – this can result in attracting new clients, impressing current clients or bringing attention to your own successes.
Forms of social media
At this stage, my personal view is that Facebook and Instagram are most effectively utilised as personal accounts. In a professional context, the focus should be on accounts such as LinkedIn. I have found that LinkedIn has connected me to some amazing individuals, created some fantastic opportunities and presented me with some really interesting content on a range of professionally-related interests that I have.
I have seen several lawyers use YouTube and Vimeo in recent times and whilst I think this is a fantastic and innovative way of reaching new and larger audiences, law firms seem apprehensive about its use. Perhaps this view will change over time…
How active do you have to be?
This is entirely up to you. Taking LinkedIn as the example in this scenario, there are a couple of very easy tweaks that can instantly improve your profile:
Make sure your profile summary is up-to-date and complete.
Add a professional photo and remove that one from the family BBQ/pub/bar last weekend.
Complete your ‘Experience’ section to a level you are comfortable with.
Connect with your colleagues and professional connections.
Having an account with virtually no information and minimal connections shows a lack of interest with the account and will put others off engaging with you.
Beyond this, it is good to be visible. This could be as little as taking 2-3 minutes every couple of days to ‘like’ a few interesting posts or articles on your page or connect with people of interest to you. A useful tip is to not just ‘like’ a post but to add some value by adding a short comment, for example, “Great article. I particularly liked the bit about…”
Finally, be positive
The key thing for me is to be positive. Make positive comments, be enthusiastic, support others and generally demonstrate a positive and constructive attitude.
From a professional standpoint, don’t be afraid to highlight your own experiences or successes. No one else is likely to do it for you! For example, if you are attending legal functions, networking events or raising money for great causes and have met some great people along the way, tell your connections about it. Social media can be a great way of interacting with others, sharing some positive news and adding value to your and your firm’s profile. So don’t be afraid to use it to your advantage!