One of the lessons we learn at our parents’ knee is the importance of sharing. Share your toys, share your popcorn. Don’t share the caterpillar you picked up off the ground. As we get older and — dare I say? — more cynical, we spend ever more time trying to figure out how to share less. When it comes to sharing articles on LinkedIn, Twitter and even by email, we need to embrace our inner toy-sharing toddler.
• Sharing keeps you top-of-mind with clients and prospects. Think about it: When you need to hire someone quickly, you go with someone you know. When you share updates on LinkedIn, you stay on people’s minds — but not in an in-your-face style, because you are adding value.
• Sharing adds value for your clients off the balance sheet. You clients hate that the billable meter is running every time they call you, but when you share content they feel they are getting something of value from you off the clock.
• Sharing helps build your personal brand. What do I mean by personal brand? Your reputation for a specific specialty. During a conference I overheard the general counsel of a large company say, “I know he’s an expert on this topic — he’s tweeting about it all the time.” Building a personal brand does require you to choose an area of focus. There is no way around that. To build a personal brand, you absolutely need to focus.
• Sharing educates your network. This education takes two forms: First, it educates your existing and potential clients about changes in the legal environment. Maybe even more important, it allows your entire network, packed with potential referral sources, to learn more about what you do and how you can help. The vast majority of your connections know you are a lawyer, but do they not what kind? Do they have a clue what type of work they should refer to you?
• Sharing allows you to get in front of the people most likely to hire from you now. Let’s be honest — a total stranger isn’t very likely to hire you, but the people in your network already know you and have a certain level of trust in you. Sharing is your best chance of bringing in new business now.
There are myriad excuses not to share — “I don’t want to give it all away for free” is the most common. But that’s ridiculous. When you share, you aren’t telling people what to do about their specific problem — they need your focused legal advice for that. This isn’t a cookie that, once you give it away, is gone. These are ideas, and a shared idea can be viewed by hundreds or even thousands of people. The ideas you share can work for you all day, every day, even when you are sleeping.
A rising tide lifts all boats. When you give value to the universe, you always get back more in return. Get on LinkedIn and start sharing. It’s not just for kids anymore.