Building a social media presence is an effective way to attract new clients, but not all platforms are created equal, and many require regular updating and engagement.
This eBook from James Toolbox, written last year, lays out the basics of linked in: how to use it strategically and how to make the most of its strengths as a platform. An updated booklet identifies “6 New LinkedIn Strategies for Lawyers” in light of several changes to the LinkedIn platform this year. The ABA offers LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers, and a basic guide to a LinkedIn marketing plan, to get you started.
Great for: Networking, professional connections, publicizing qualifications. The new blog interface allows you to communicate effectively with potential clients about your strengths.
Cons: Success on LinkedIn depends heavily on the amount of time you put into it. But the rewards can be great: This Forbes post discusses the success one Northern California attorney had with LinkedIn, after spending 30 minutes a day using and updating it.
Facebook offers the option of Pages for businesses, offering a more official face than your typical personal Facebook profile. Real Lawyers Have Blogs has a tag compiling all Facebook related posts on the blog, ranging from practical tips to the pluses and minuses of using a personal profile as your public Facebook face.
Pros: Ubiquity. Facebook has a larger user base than LinkedIn. This post discusses some basics for getting started. Facebook also has extensive analytics for Pages and targeted ads, as discussed in this guide to Facebook Pages.
Cons: Facebook is thought of as a personal platform, and the potential to mix the personal with the professional can have consequences. Attorneys have gotten in hot water for posting negative comments to their Facebook profiles, so be mindful of your privacy settings, as well as potential conflicts and the need for disclaimers.
Twitter is the most unstructured of the three platforms covered here, and as a result getting started can be daunting. The average Twitter user only has 61 followers, and the time needed to develop content, create connections, and engage with others can be daunting. As with LinkedIn, the ABA has published Twitter in One Hour for Lawyers, though its 2012 publication date makes it somewhat out of date. There are many great blog posts on utilizing Twitter effectively, from “5 Tips to Help Lawyers Make the Most of Twitter,” which covers some of the basics of getting started, setting goals, and understanding the fast, breaking news style cycle of Twitter. There’s a great list of 50 Twitter accounts for lawyers to follow, part 1 and part 2; and a great presentation from Janet Fouts on Twitter for Lawyers.
Pros: Twitter moves fast! There’s a tremendous opportunity to connect with others and present interesting information to potential clients.
Cons: The potential for missteps is high, and in order to effectively engage on Twitter you need to find a balance between being professional and being yourself. Like all three platforms discussed here, there’s a time investment required to do well on Twitter. Third party Twitter apps like HootSuite can allow you to schedule tweets and otherwise keep up a steady momentum, but interactions are especially important on Twitter.