On 19th February 2015 I was pleased to take part at a social media event organised by the Law Society’s Family Section, in conjunction with the Women Lawyers Division. The event was very well attended and a huge success. As a follow up, I’ve compiled a brief guide to using social media for business.
- Choose a name you can live with: I have 3 twitter accounts and I have learned over the years that you should find a twitter name that you can live with for business purposes. My first twitter handle was @avoidgravity; it isn’t ideal for business, but it’s great for personal tweeting. I also operate @famlawarb, which hopefully gives the right business impression – which is that I’m a family law arbitrator. This account is linked to my website and only used for family law-related business content. Finally, in order to promote by new business I operate @lawcpdsolutions – the clue is in the name!
- Introductory paragraph: This tells people who you are and what you do – use your words wisely! You need to convey what you do, perhaps geographical location, and what you will be tweeting about. Put in a website link to somewhere that people can find out more about you, maybe your firm’s website or your LinkedIn account profile page.
- 140 characters or less: You need to be careful about what you say! With so few characters, make sure you convey what you mean. It’s acceptable (up to a point) to use emoticons and photographs to stress the point of your tweet. Make sure you don’t breach someone else’s copyright if you source photographs from the internet.
- Engage with your audience: Firstly, if someone follows you, ask yourself if you want to follow them. Some feel it is polite to follow back, however, if you have 300 budding authors a day following you, you might not find it useful to follow them all back! If using twitter for business, make sure you engage with your audience. Don’t just tweet links to articles or external content all the time. Ask questions, follow others in your industry, and engage in conversations. Think of it like being at a networking event – you wouldn’t walk around handing out leaflets all night (hopefully).
- Try to use it regularly: Twitter updates don’t hang around for long – your important tweet about family law issues will only appear on your followers’ time lines for five minutes or so. That means that they might not see it the first time around. There is nothing wrong with posting it throughout the day if it is really important.
- Content: I like to use LinkedIn for content sharing. There isn’t the same restriction on the number of characters as with Twitter, and that means you can generate an interesting conversation with other users. You can content share by publishing articles; your connections receive a notification about your published post, and you can see how many people read it. Readers can also comment on the articles. Don’t publish too many posts per day, as these will clog up your connections’ updates and have the opposite of the desired effect. Make sure you are offering genuine content and not just marketing your services.
- CVs: I use LinkedIn to look at other people’s CVs, whether it is for a paralegal who has applied for a position, or an opponent on a new case. It is a very good way to find out more about someone who you are thinking about doing business with. Make sure your own profile is up to date all the time, and always include a photograph to jog people’s memories about who you are!
- Endorsements: LinkedIn has two ways of giving and receiving endorsements. One of them is a simple yes or no clickable button (for example,”endorse Mena for writing blogs = yes!”). I don’t really look at these; my own LinkedIn profile shows an endorsement for being a vegetarian which shows how seriously people take these! The other way to endorse is to write a recommendation, which is more important. Try to get as many genuine recommendations from people you have done business with as possible. This means that you will also be asked to write recommendations too, so be generous with these.
Facebook and other social networks
I don’t use Facebook for business as I think of it as much more a social network than business network. However, I check all my social networks several times a day; it only takes a few minutes to do it and it is really worthwhile.