Professionals at networking eventI’m writing this as a quick follow up on my last post on three ways lawyers can better leverage social media. In the previous article I stressed the need for attorneys to understand that social media is a reflection of the physical world. This means that one should deal with social networks with same approach you would use in daily life. While my last post provided a few broader social media interaction tips, this post will delve into two areas where many law firms get it wrong. These are the need to have genuine conversation and the need to expand the reach of your network. Let’s give both of these a gander.

Social media websites, as far as businesses are concerned, are for the purposes of branding and networking. I’m going to dive more into the branding issue in a post tomorrow. For right now let’s look at the issue of networking. One of the best ways to expand your reach is to make yourself of value to others. The best way to provide this value is by taking an approach of “what can I do for others” as opposed to the “what others can do for me” track that is far more common. When you’re in a social media setting you should be offering meaningful comments on other’s posts. These meaningful comments need to include your own original thoughts and opinions. Helping others to expand their ideas and approaches means that you become of value to that person and they, in turn, are more likely to follow you and be interested in what you have to say. This is how you make yourself one to follow – by pIroviding value to others.

Another big point for attorneys to recognize is that they must expand their reach on social media. Too often I see lawyers simply conversing with the same groups of people over and over. You wouldn’t go to a networking function and limit your interaction just to people you already know. Well, when you don’t try to expand your social media reach, you’re doing exactly that. When I use social media I make it a point to interact with others that I don’t currently have an online connection with and doing so regularly expands my online social circles. In other words, don’t make the mistake of simply glossing over the posts and comments of those you don’t know. You may very well be ignoring a great potential business relationship.

In short, offer value when interacting with others and look for new people to interact with. While these may sound like “duh” statements, you’d be surprised at how many attorneys get it wrong.