For many lawyers and legal professionals, it can be tempting to hide behind your online presence — or ignore it altogether. Whether this stems from a disbelief that maintaining a professional presence on certain social networks can actually help an attorney grow his business or from an “I’ll get to it… Eventually” attitude, the end result is the same: You’re staying back in the Yellow Pages era while your clients, prospective clients, and referral sources have moved on to bigger and better (i.e. the Internet and your main competitor’s fancy new website).
Lately, we’ve seen a new kind of hiding, one that will seriously hurt an attorney’s online presence: refusing to use your headshot on your accounts. This is diversion technique is up there with using an unprofessional photo (i.e. you on the phone outside of the courthouse, you at your child’s soccer game) in terms of “social media no-nos”.
Just think about your own LinkedIn experience: Have you received a LinkedIn request from an individual who uses a logo instead of a headshot on their profile? Or worse yet, names their profile with the name of a company instead of a person? How does that make you feel about that person? When someone withholds information, we often feel as if they are trying to hide something. This is especially true on social media, and certainly not the image you want to portray to prospective clients.
Read on for three reasons to reconsider hiding behind that logo…
1. People connect with people.
For many clients, they hire an attorney they can trust. Therefore, it is important to give your audience a face with which to begin building that emotional connection. Use a photo that looks like you (yes, this is somewhat akin to online dating!), as you do not want to the potential client to feel mislead when they meet you in person (creates distrust).
2. Your personal brand matters.
We’ve discussed the importance of building an attorney’s brand ad infinitum. Put bluntly: personal branding is not optional in today’s digital age. Either you’re creating your own brand or you’re allowing the marketplace to do it for you (eek). That being said, your professional social persona is an extension of you. What you post on these profiles reflects the way you see yourself and how you want others to see you.
Personal branding is where we also see that using an unprofessional photo on LinkedIn can damage your professional reputation. Remember, hiring an attorney is often one of the most important decisions an individual will make. During the vetting process, they will be quick to judge you. Don’t give them any reason to doubt your professionalism. Your goal on social media should be to make it as easy as possible for potential clients to want to do business with you and for referral sources to want to refer you.
LinkedIn, more than any of the other social networks, is about building – and leveraging – your professional network. Authenticity matters. Use your LinkedIn company page to highlight your business or practice.
3. Know your social networks.
Some social networks about you, some are about your firm / business. For example, on your law firm or court reporting Facebook page, using your firm logo is completely acceptable, if not encouraged. That profile is about your company. Your LinkedIn profile is about you.
Wrapping it up
We understand, navigating the world of social media can be tricky! But the good news is, you don’t have to go it alone. For a consultation on social media best practices, contact the experienced team of legal marketers at WebPresence, Esq. today.