Why Attorneys Should Embrace Social Media
Social media is playing an increasingly important role in everyday business and personal life. Whether it is brand promotion, customer engagement or simply communicating with friends or colleagues, social media’s role is growing. Many attorneys are also now embracing social media in order to promote themselves, their practice, and engage with current and prospective clients. While some attorneys and law firms are hesitant to jump into social media, they should realize that if done right, social media can be very rewarding.
With this in mind, recently the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law held its fifth annual Long Island alumni reception. The event was held on October 24, 2012 at the Women’s Club of Great Neck. Led by Cardozo LI alumni chairs Loretta Gastwirth, Esq. and Jessica Klotz, Esq., this event upheld the great tradition of Cardozo alumni events in Long Island.
Among the many distinguished guests and alumni at the event were Cardozo Law School Dean Matthew Diller, Cardozo Director of Alumni Affairs Sharon Lewis, Cardozo Alumni Association Executive Chair Mark Yagerman, and the Hon. Ellen Greenberg. The great locale and robust turnout of well over 50 attorneys plus current law students and perspective alumni and parents made for a terrific event.
I had the honor and pleasure of giving the keynote speech at the event about social media marketing for attorneys. I was graciously asked to speak due to my own foray into social media, including through LinkedIn, Twitter and of course Young Island. I discussed the rising importance of social media marketing for attorneys and focused on three areas; LinkedIn, blogging, and Twitter. I broke down the benefits of each specific platform and the goals that one could achieve through each. I noted that importantly, regardless of the social media platform for attorneys, an attorney must have a plan and goals before jumping into social media marketing.
While many people have at least some experience in platforms such as Facebook, using social media for business and marketing can be a whole different ballgame. Especially for those were not as tech savvy, this can initially be downright intimidating. However, with guidance and education, effective attorney online marketing is very possible. Professionals such as LexBlog, led by attorney Kevin O’Keefe, provide terrific social media strategies for attorneys.
With that in mind, the basics of social media marketing for attorneys is not all too complicated. At the Cardozo alumni event, I briefly discussed each particular social media platform:
(1) LinkedIn. LinkedIn is rapidly growing as a tool for attorneys and law firms, and is now one of the top online platforms. For starters, a dynamic LinkedIn profile is essential. This means a profile picture – LinkedIn users are four times more likely to engage with others on LinkedIn if they have a profile picture. This also means an engaging description of one’s legal capabilities and experience. LinkedIn is about more than just resume posting. Participation in LinkedIn groups is also a great way to network and establish expertise in an area of the law. Law firms should also utilize the LinkedIn company pages.
(2) Blogs. Blogging may be the toughest online attorney marketing platform to consistently maintain, but it can also be the most rewarding. The goal is to establish oneself as an expert, increase name recognition and develop clients. Focusing on a particular audience and subject is important for blogs. Writing in an engaging fashion – and not like a lawyer – is also important. Commitment is key; a regular posting schedule and dedication to providing worthwhile and original content is crucial. Blogging may also be a great tool for career development, since it involves learning and keep abreast of hot topics and new information while interacting with readers and potential clients.
(3) Twitter. Many attorneys are unfamiliar with Twitter and do not understand how it works. However, as with blogging, if one is devoted to steadily providing relevant information in an area of the law, and putting in the time to interact with others, the results can be promising. Twitter can help further enhance one’s legal reputation. However, Twitter is by its nature very interactive, and simply creating a Twitter account will do nothing but collect digital dust – hence the need to be proactive. I know of many people who simply create a Twitter handle, do nothing, and then close shop – hence the need to have a social media plan going in. Twitter also offers a great opportunity to directly connect with many others not only locally, but on national and international levels.
The Cardozo alumni event continued after my presentation and was very successful. The large number of attendees enjoyed networking and learning new and worthwhile information. In the current economic climate, it is great to see Cardozo Law School continue to promote not only its current students, but also its alumni by providing useful career tools and networking opportunities.
Certainly social media marketing is a great way to advance one’s legal career. With a social media plan and dedication to following through on it, social media can be a wonderful tool to grow one’s brand, establish oneself as an expert in a field of law, and attract business. Attorneys and law firms should keep the above in mind and realize that for legal marketing, social media may be the future but it is quickly becoming the present.