Lawyers Should Understand – Social Media is Networking
Recently, a colleague who is also a client paid me the biggest compliment she could. She referred someone else to me for help with a social media presence. This new potential client is a realtor. To my mind, realtors are a lot like lawyers in terms of gaining clients. By this I mean that a potential client is more likely to hire a realtor or a lawyer if she likes him. As a result, if social media is used correctly, it can help to form the early stages of a friendly relationship between a potential client for a realtor or a lawyer. Social media at its best is not just marketing. In my opinion, if used correctly, social media is networking.
You Don’t Need Me
The potential client wanted to know if I do day-to-day posting on social media sites for my clients. I said, well, no. And there are two reasons for that. The first is, I just don’t have the time. The second is, you don’t need me to do it. You will just be wasting your money if you hire someone like me. (And let’s face it. I’m not cheap.)
Thinking Marketing Instead of Networking
The realtor’s fundamental problem is that she was convinced that social media is marketing. In other words, you put up a link to your website and you tell people to hire you. She was convinced of this because that is what people, especially people who do social media for a living, told her. The realtor had spoken to someone who gave her a proposal to post a couple of times every day. The proposal had three typos on the first page, which is what lead the realtor into a discussion with my colleague, and what lead her to email me.
Social Media is Networking
I said, with due respect, that isn’t how you need to use social media. Think of social media as if you are going out for a cup of coffee in an effort to get to know a potential client. At that meeting, you chat with the potential client. You don’t do a hard sell. Well, I said, you want to have those chats on social media. If you just repeatedly tell people to hire you on Facebook or Twitter, no one will be interested in what you have to say. So, I said, post as if you are talking at that coffee house and encourage people to respond.
Your Voice is Important
The realtor responded with great enthusiasm. She said, I never thought of social media like that. I can do what you are saying. I said, yes, I know you can or you wouldn’t be a successful realtor. Not only can you do it, you should be the one to do it. The reason for this is that your social media efforts need to be in your voice. If you hire someone else to do it for you, it will be in her voice, not yours.
Just Get Your Feet Wet
I said, to the realtor, try this, start by posting once a week. And if you want to put the same thing everywhere, you can use HootSuite for that. This enables you to post just one time. Combine your networking efforts with a blog post once a month, just to start. Write those blog posts about things people need to know about buying or selling houses. Then, as you see success, you will be excited and you will want to increase your efforts. This combination will help both with your social media presence and your SEO (search engine optimization efforts.)
I spent about 15 minutes on the phone with a person who very well could have hired me explaining to her why she shouldn’t. I did that because this person is perfectly capable of handling her social media efforts on her own. If you are a realtor, or a solo / small firm attorney, you can handle your social media presence on your own too. I know time is an issue, but if you can take a potential client out for a cup of coffee, you can network on Facebook. Just give it a try.