In my last article for Legal Ink, Understanding the Key Differences between Marketing and Networking in Social Media, I promised to teach you how to use social media for networking purposes.
One of the coolest things about social media is that you have the opportunity to connect with people you have never been able to before. For example, who is your favorite television star? Chances are they have a social media account and you can follow their antics personally. In fact, they may just follow you back if you are interesting enough. Now, I am not a fan of Kim Kardashian’s –there’s nothing wrong if you are – but she is a social media marketer extraordinaire. Just recently, she threw a party in which invited and flew out a number of the fans she follows (she only follows 122 on Twitter and 95 on Instagram) to help her celebrate her birthday. By doing so, she has solidified her relationships with these people.
But I digress – what I am trying to say is that you have the chance to follow that CEO or business owner with whom you want to do business. If you had tried to do this prior to social media, you would have been accused of stalking. Actually, social media is sort of a legalized form of stalking. You can now find out what your target person is up to on a daily basis. And, because they are on social media, you can interact with them. However, you have to do it in a respectful, thoughtful manner.
As with any person you connect with you connect with on social media, there is a protocol you should follow if you would like to create a relationship with the person you are following. Remember, Rainmaking = Relationships!
Be on the right social media platforms: You need to determine which social media sites the people with whom you would like to do business are on. If you are working in a B2C type law practice – where it is the consumer you want to reach then Facebook may be the location for you. If you are working in a B2B type law practice, where businesses and business owners are those you seek, Linked In may be the right site. There may be hundreds of social media sites out there, but you only have to use a scant few. And use them well. Become knowledgeable about that platform and become known on that platform. Once you have become an authority there, you can start using other sites to get your message out and create your relationships.
“Listen” to your connections: One of the main things to do is to keep an eye on your social media connections and see what they are writing and posting about. It allows you to see what their target market may be so that you can help them with their business development as well. Additionally, you find out what their issues may be with which you can help them.
Stop Pitching!: Stop selling. When I first began on Twitter, it was like being at a giant cocktail party. People actually had conversations with others. We got to know one another. Now, like most social media sites, twitter and the other sites have become a place to push your agenda out to others. While marketing your services is not a bad thing to do on social media, it cannot be the only thing you do. Instead, provide value. You provide value when you take what you have learned from “listening” to the people with whom you would like as clients and referrals sources and give them information they truly need. When you do post content, make it relevant and important to the people with whom you wish to cultivate relationships.
Create conversations online: A good conversation always begins with questions. Ask questions of the people with whom you are connected to get them to reveal information about themselves. If you demonstrate a sincere interest in others then they will establish an interest in you.
Take it off line: If it is at all possible, take the conversation off line and have a telephone conversation with them or meet them for coffee or lunch. The only way to create a real relationship with others is to meet them in real life.
Just these 5 steps will help you to start to take social media networking into the realm of just names online to potential clients and referral sources. The next post will take this one to the next level by helping you figure out where your ideal clients and referral sources are hanging out on line.