Social Media: Begin it Now!

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

Goethe

Social Media – I am conscious that there are no shortage of people all seeking your attention.

Hell, you would think there was nothing else going on in the World (God forbid).

You went into legal practice to practice the law (duh…). Not to embark or be forced into:

A charm offensive;

Bugging people for work;

Selling;

Sucking up;

Filling in anodyne form after anodyne form to fulfil the latest, nonsense HR initiative;

Creating meaningless content; and

To talk about Tweeting and blogging.

I wouldn’t blame you either in wanting to stick to the knitting.When you remove the friction around billing, which means you are working on interesting work that is remunerative, none of this ‘stuff’ is or should be in your purview. I can’t imagine, for one moment, speaking to your ‘A’-list client two weeks before trial, and announcing that you were off blogging or had to devote the rest of the day to catching up with your direct messages on Twitter!

Bye, bye Mr (‘A-list’) client…!

Apart from anything else, you would be professionally embarassed and your reputation would be shot to bits.

I know there will be lots of experts all extolling the need to keep on the money when it comes to business development but, as a former practitioner, I know full well that you will always put the work first. Let’s face it this part should really float your boat. I know I am not speaking for everyone but the vast majority of people will prefer to do the legal work than something as whimsical as social media.

Unless I have (seriously) misjudged the pulse of the profession, the sort of c-l-a-s-s-i-c work that keeps you energised, motivated and enthralled has long since disappeared. You are making do with whatever comes across your desk. Yes, there are a still few trophy clients rattling around but even they are becoming more picky about your service and fees. In short, they want more for less.

It is my belief, much like the recessions of old (that I have worked through) that social media, as a strand of business development, will pay huge dividends in the short to medium term. The reason: it enables you to get close to clients that, save for the fluke instruction, would, as likely, be out of your reach.

Social media, like no other medium I have witnessed, has the power to bridge the gap between your passion for your practice area and clients who are in the market for said services.

It is helpful to conceive of your likely clients as a tribe. I don’t mean the sychophantic type. No I mean the type that value the time and effort you have invested in helping them, earning their attention with your remarkable content and just being you.

Absent social media what would you be left with?

Advertising?

PR?

Direct sales?

Word of mouth?

It is easy for me to proselytise about social media being the next big business development thing (its what I do now) but I wouldn’t be sitting here if it wasn’t for social media. I am a laggard in many respects. Or certainly a throw back to the late 1980’s where I cut my sales teeth bugging the hell out of people with one cold call after another. But I couldn’t imagine now going back to that modus operandi.

My advice.

Try it.

Try it.

And put some elbow grease into your efforts. One Tweet a day or the occasional update on LinkedIn or even the occasional blog post won’t cut it. You are not Tim Ferriss or Seth Godin.

No you have to commit time to social media each and every day.

Don’t go overboard and fall into the addiction camp.

A sensible amount of time is anywhere between 15-60 mins per day.

Make it easy for yourself.

Install a dashboard like Hootsuite. Post everything here and pre-programme your Tweets. Write something that can be chunked up into more than one blog post, so that you have 2 or 3 weeks worth of content.

One final point. There will many points along your route of personal development that you will feel like giving up.

Don’t.

By all means leave it alone for a few days, but make sure when you come back that you have thought about how you might engage with your tribe in a way that they will find remarkable.

One of the problems with professional practice is that there are too many people all doing the same thing. I am not suggesting that you act weird for weirdness sake but something that is remarkable may just reignite your spark and bring people to your door faster than you could have thought possible.

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