Practice Management

Putting Social Media to Work for You: Leveraging LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook for Success

Presented by Betsy Munnell and Sofia S. Lingos

Note: This is not for CLE. Part of the free Career Development Series, a monthly webinar series featuring practical tips from legal career experts. Live webinars are free and open to the public. The recorded program and materials are exclusively for ABA members.

Description

Are you “LinkedIn,” “Connected,” “Followed,” or “Friended”?  Join us for a virtual workshop for lawyers, law students and law firm professionals as we explore (and demonstrate on-screen) how you can leverage online platforms to build rich networks, grow relationships, distinguish yourself as lawyer and trusted advisor, and demonstrate deep knowledge of your client's business, industry and challenges.

Our speakers, Sofia Lingos and Betsy Munnell, have practiced law for a combined total of 39 years, building robust practices, and advising others on business development. In this webinar, they will offer tips  for using LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook (as well as some less traveled platforms, such as Instagram and Avvo) to:

  • Design compelling profiles and avoid social media pitfalls
  • Engage with people and organizations in a way that fits your personal style and time pressures, AND the expectations of your clients and employer
  • “Get smarter” about your client’s business and industry, so that you can deliver  superior legal service
  • Use the news and knowledge you gather with these tools to give value to your network and client base….to help, to educate and to inspire. 

Speakers

Betsy Munnell, Business Development and Social Media Coach for Lawyers, EHMunnell, Boston, MA; ABA Career Center Chair

Sofia S. Lingos, Esq., Managing Attorney, Trident Legal LLC, Boston, MA

Video, Materials, and Q&A

Download the PowerPoint

Q&A

Betsy and Sofia answered questions from our audience not addressed during the program.

How do you recommend protecting yourself from creepy people out there? You're posting your entire work history on LinkedIn, as well as your current employment, so anyone could find you at your office M-F during work hours. What can be done to minimize the risks associated with having a public resume?

Betsy:  You raise a concern that troubles everyone who uses social media, for any purpose, whether or not we have public profiles.  Certainly we reveal far more on LinkedIn than we do on other social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram.

And even if we hide our profile from public view, we cannot do the same to our company’s website (especially companies in the professional services industries), or for that of any other entity that may include a bio we have supplied for other purposes (if you are a panelist, organizer, donor….).

In any event, LinkedIn’s primary value, of course, is as a digital resume to the people with whom you wish to engage, or those you hope to attract (recruiters, referral sources).  You could make your profile private, but then you would not be visible to potential employers or clients.

The best approach available is to limit what appears on the public profile. See this LinkedIn Article for ways to do this, as well as your options for blocking specific individuals. I would in fact recommend reducing or eliminating some of the detail in your profile and, importantly, deny the purely public user the ability to observe your “activity” on the news feed.

If you post on LinkedIn you may also wish to be very cautious with any politically oriented or otherwise controversial statements, or any other posts sharing more personal information about yourself…such as “So excited to be heading off Monday to San Francisco for the California Bar Association annual meeting!”

Is it better to publish a blog directly on LinkedIn or to share a link to a blog post that directs to the law firm's website?

Betsy:  Great question. I would do both. If you are fortunate enough to work at a firm that appreciates the value of generating original content, use the available resources to produce a professional looking post, then share it on LinkedIn, but with some sort of introduction…  “My latest blog post, examining major changes in 2019 for #medicare #telehealth policies.”

In fact, if your firm did not have a blog focused on your area of practice, you might elect to start publishing on LinkedIn right away, rather than expending the time and political capital required to get one up and running. Worth a conversation with your firm business development and marketing directors.

My firm blocks most social media on our firm's network, to avoid the "time suck" you mentioned.  There is also a different perspective between staff usage, and professional usage (although I don't think they never overlap).  Accepting that firm and IT management know your data about the pervasiveness and importance of social media, how do you convince those who do not see the importance of social media, and who controls access to it?  Thank you.

Sofia:  First reference your firm’s social media policy if there is one.  It should give you some insight regarding their intent.  If you wish to be proactive in using social media as a marketing strategy I’d draft a plan to present to the powers that be explaining, how, when and specifically what you hope to accomplish.  An added bonus if you can discuss metrics and show them the return on investment via tracking your efforts.  It could be a leadership opportunity.  Social media is an incredibly powerful tool as long as it’s used appropriately.    

As students, should we follow or connect?

Betsy:  Connect with people you know, even if you don’t know then extremely well, and with people your professors, colleagues or other professional contacts recommend you contact—using that fact in your request to connect.

Follow people you don’t know, so that you can learn from them. They will be notified that you have followed them, and at that point may elected to follow you back, setting up the basis for a connection down the road if that makes sense.

Any advice about starting a page over?  Deleting all old tweets, likes, and follows and starting fresh.

Betsy:  Yes, that can make a lot of sense, especially if you’ve been using Twitter for personal purposes. I’d suggest deleting that account altogether so that it cannot be found in a search—or privatizing it, which will work if you don’t mind having to accept new friends (as you would with a private Instagram account—as opposed to a “FINSTA”, for example). Then set up a new, professional account.

Should I have a separate personal page and business page?

Betsy:  On Facebook or Instagram, yes—unless you are content to post with particular care on the news feeds. Many solo and small firm practitioners use Facebook, for example, to stay in touch with the majority of their contacts and referral sources. In that case, a personal page is a more natural place to interact---and the exchange about family and personal interests goes a long way in helping deepen important relationships.

Barring that, however—if you would normally use Facebook to share photos of, and news about, personal friends and family members, I’d suggest having a business page.  Your business posts can be simultaneously shared on your personal page, but not vice versa.

Are reviews and endorsements important?  Is it better to have none than to have old or stale ones?

Betsy:  There are different perspectives on this point. Here’s mine:

The endorsement feature is a holdover from a misguided promotion LinkedIn came up with years ago, which was clearly intended to prompt greater engagement. LinkedIn used to push names of your connections onto your screen and urge you to endorse them, listing a wide range of skills --from “legal research” to “trials” and beyond. No one wanted to be stingy in their praise, so pretty much everyone you counted as a friend would leap forward with enthusiasm, endorsing you for a host of things about which the endorser knew very little, if anything.  And since few people took the time to figure out how to tailor the list of skills and eliminate the silly ones…you could look up a senior trial attorney and find rave reviews for her legal research abilities. Not a key concern.

The endorsements you see now on people’s pages include those surfaced by that PR campaign. If you have a huge number of endorsements as to every one of your most valued skills, I would consider keeping them visible. Otherwise I usually vote to turn off the endorsements and tailor the list of skills so that three or four –your primary selling points –are highlighting. You can write whatever you want in the skills list.