Despite what some folks might have you believe, professional networking online is really very similar to networking offline. When you attend a professional networking event do you:
- Repeat the same things over and over again?
- Talk only very specifically about what kind of law you practice?
- Interrupt conversations between others?
- Ask people at the event if they want to hire you?
- Pass out copies of your latest blog posts?
- Stand in the corner and avoid people?
Of course not. And you shouldn't do any of this stuff online either.
I was recently asked by Avvo to conduct a webinar on using web content for professional relationship development.
One of the things that I really tried to stress was authenticity and being social.
If you poke around on the popular social networking sites (twitter, linkedin, facebook, google plus), to see what lawyers are publishing there, you'll quickly realize that most lawyers seem to think that these platforms are merely new channels for advertising.
You'll likely see a lot of keyword-rich profile names and URLs. You'll see automated posts and a lot of one-way broadcasting of marketing messages.
And this is a huge missed opportunity.
How many people do you know on Facebook that are there to receive updates about your law practice?
Okay, even if you have some people that are there specifically to follow you professionally, most of the people that you're connected with on facebook are probably connected to you because they know you somehow. And so, they're interested in seeing what's going on with you. But if all you do is auto feed blog posts into facebook, it should come as little surprise that most of those people will look for ways to filter out your posts from their feeds.
The point is that people use facebook to socialize. They're interested in seeing pictures of your kids or your latest vacation. Some people use facebook as a reminder to wish their friends happy birthday.
Does that mean that you should only use facebook to mindlessly post? Of course not.
But you should take into account the purpose of the platform and think about who you're connected with there and what people are might be interested in seeing. Guess what, it's not your marketing and advertising message... Which shouldn't be any surprise at all since they're not interested in it offline either...