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A blog with tips and insights into the practice of law

Leading Legal Professionals into the Digital Era

It is hard to escape the reach of social media these days on a personal level, and like many other people you are probably using it more and more in your professional life too. Increasing numbers of legal professionals are turning to platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn, just to name a few, to help build a network, make contacts, and potentially find work and attract clients. So, given the key role social media is playing in legal professional development, we must ask ourselves two basic, yet essential questions: (1) just how effective is social media as a career development tool for legal professionals?; and (2) how can you make the most of your own social media presence?

When you are using social media to grow your business or develop your career, it is important to be realistic about what it can do. Expecting your social media presence to attract vast numbers of new clients at the drop of a hat will probably lead to disappointment. Instead, try to think of social media as your way of building your reputation and your professional network over the long-term.

While social media doesn’t usually provide instant results in terms of new clients, it can be very effective in increasing your authority and credibility as a professional – which can in turn lead to more career opportunities. Nonetheless, this will require you to be proactive and take the necessary steps to connect with the right people and create the right image.

There are plenty of ways you can extend your professional reach and create an image using social media. Some of these include: participating in online discussions/forums creating and socially sharing useful and informative content, and using your social media pages to engage with potential clients and build professional relationships.

When engaging, it is essential to: show your true personality, bearing in mind that people relate to people more than they relate to brands. Although it may sound counterintuitive, do not be too promotional; rather, focus on sharing useful information and links targeting your specific audience. While doing so, always keep in mind the importance of frequency, consistency, responsiveness, influence, innovativeness, and outreach.

The important thing is to use your social media presence in a professional manner, and to be yourself. Just as you would not circulate holiday snaps on your work email, or exaggerate your experience in a job interview, steer clear of doing the same on social media. It always comes down to finding a balance and drawing the line between your personal and professional networks.

Although it is not a quick-fix solution, social media can bring solid results and help you build your career over time.