Social-media tools are easy to use. Changing our old behaviors can prove more difficult. To help lawyers make tools like LinkedIn and Twitter work for them and their practices, I’ve put together checklists — daily steps you can take. Recently, we talked about LinkedIn, and this week we look at Twitter.
• Follow to be followed. It seems counterintuitive, but the best way to gain followers and get others to follow you is by following them first. A Washington lawyer told me recently that journalists from The Wall Street Journal and other publications began following him after he first followed them. They have retweeted some of his articles and blog posts and he has had interview requests as a direct result.
• Listen and Engage. Ninety-nine percent of law firms use Twitter as a broadcast platform — one-way communication. But the power of Twitter lies in instant engagement with other very smart people. When you jump on Twitter while drinking your morning coffee, read what other people have to say and reply or re-share their articles.
• Set up a search. This probably is the most overlooked feature of Twitter. Think Google search, but instead of searching Web pages you search for shared articles and interesting conversations. Who is talking about litigation or merger trends this morning? Run a quick search on Twitter to find out. Enter larger conversations by searching for topics like #obama, #ISIS or #northkorea. Twitter search is a powerful tool that can prove to be of value to anybody.
• Build a list. There is a lot of noise on Twitter, but you don’t need to read everything that your Twitter followers post. Set up an “A-list” of people you most want to follow. Then, when you only have a few minutes each day, you can just check to see what your A-list is posting. I follow thousands of people on Twitter, but my A-list has only about 150 people in it.
• Share. Sharing information is most users’ most common activity, but the vast majority are doing it wrong. Don’t share self-promotional flummery or tout your successes; share information that will help people do their jobs better; that gives practical advice on tricky legal concepts. The secret to social media is that the more you give away the more you will get back in return. Lawyers are some of the brightest minds and best writers in the country; sharing what you write and what you are reading will be of value to others.
• Unfollow. Protect your time. If you follow someone who spouts nonsense or distractions, simply unfollow them. They won’t be notified and won’t have their feelings hurt. Following someone on Twitter is not a long-term commitment. When you unfollow someone undesirable, your Twitter stream becomes more useful.
Give these steps a try and I guarantee you will boost your profile online. Happy tweeting.
Lets face it, we have reached an-all time high in narcissism in the United States. Facebook and Twitter seem to fuel the fire, giving some users the impression the world cares what they ate for lunch. This behavior is ruining the online experience for many experienced users of social-media sites and scaring new users away completely. All because narcissistic users more than a dozen times per day share articles and information that are irrelevant drivel at best and self-promotional spam at worst.
What’s the solution?
First, don’t feed the trolls. Unfollow people who share too much. Disconnect from people on LinkedIn who over-share. If they ask you why you un-followed them, simply respond that they share too much and that it makes it difficult to keep tabs on the rest of your network. (No need to call them attention hogs.)
Second, validate good sharing. When someone in your network takes the time to find and share an article that you really appreciate, that strikes a chord, let them know. And pass the article along to your network, giving the original sharer credit.
Third, don’t opt out completely. Some of the most fascinating people I know aren’t using social media because they can’t stand the narcissistic behavior. LinkedIn would be a better place if it featured the ideas of people with unique ways of seeing the world, if only they were willing to share their perspective.
Most professionals want to be liked by their peers, they don’t want to be seen as selfish and narcissistic. Sharing online can seem a risk, but that’s not true, the bigger risk is staying silent, preventing your network and your potential ideal clients from ever finding you.
How much should you share?
Ten times a day is far too much. Once a month, not enough. A few times per week is a great place to start. As long as your posts aren’t all self-promotional, you will never be seen as a narcissist, but instead as a helpful professional generous enough to share your insights with those fortunate enough to be in your network.
“I’m a creature of routine,” a successful law firm partner told me. “If I only had a list of things to do on LinkedIn, I know I could get those tasks completed on a daily basis. I just don’t know what to do.”
OK. Here is that list of daily tasks:
• Listen. Log in to the LinkedIn.com homepage and check out what people in your network are posting, who has moved jobs and who has written a blog post or LinkedIn publication.
• Give to receive. Congratulate contacts who have won promotions. Pass along what your contacts have shared with you (presuming it is relevant and of value to your people in your network) and comment on interesting articles your contacts have shared.
Remember: LinkedIn is a community, and every community includes people who give and those who only take. People notice your type.
• Make it personal. Send quick thank-you messages to people who have connected with you recently. Reach out to new people you would like to connect to using customized messages. You can get ideas about whom to follow on the top right-hand corner of the homepage, where it says, “People You May Know.” Don’t just hit the connect button — it won’t let you send a customized message. Rather, click on the person’s name, then hit “connect” on his or her full profile; LinkedIn will allow you to send a personalized greeting.
• Share. On the top of the homepage on LinkedIn there is a little box that says, “Share an update.” All you need to do is copy the link to an article and hit “Share.”
When sharing articles to LinkedIn, what’s great is the enemy of what’s good — in other words, be liberal about what you share. If you only share great articles, you won’t end up sharing much at all.
What types of material should you share? Articles that are helpful to your practice; articles written by other attorneys in your firm; general business or economics articles that you love or that made you think. If you love it, most likely your contacts will, too.
And by all means, don’t confuse sharing with oversharing. Although people who share perhaps once a week or month will likely go unnoticed, those who share multiple times a day are annoying. Don’t make either mistake. Share once a day, or at least make an effort to.
• Make an appointment. The purpose of all online tools for professionals should be to facilitate richer offline interactions. Set up a lunch or telephone call and get out of the office. LinkedIn isn’t meant to replace real-life meetings, but to rather to augment them.
Hope springs eternal in the new year, so if you feel inspired to finally start bringing in business through your online efforts, set aside 10 minutes per day, print out this list and get cranking. Make it a great year.