Sorry to disappoint the snake-oil salesmen, but in this small post I will buck the trend, and debunk the fallacy of non-practicing lawyers who write books about social media for lawyers. Here, today my friends, I will tell you everything you need to know about the complicated and scary topic of: how to talk to people on the internet like a normal person.
If you think Facebook is code for “high school,” you’re correct. But if you live in the same town you went to high school, why not connect with your loser friends who have some mid-level job? They need lawyers. Yes, as part of reconnecting with your past you’ll experience the joy of seeing that girl you wanted to date has moved to some small crap town and married Jim, who’s prematurely bald but “an awesome husband,” but so what?
Do not post every single picture you take of your kids, dogs, in-laws with your kids, kids with your dogs, the 189 pictures of your vacation, or “fake” complain about the first class service on some airline. You’re practicing law, not creating a family scrapbook.
Do not have a Facebook fan page for your law firm. No one should ever be a fan of a law firm. You are not a “rock star” and even if you were, rock stars do not ask people to be their fans. It just happens with good music. Asking people to be your “fan” may also violate your state bar ethics rules, if that kind of nuisance interests you — you know, ethics rules….
Everything important in the world is referenced on Twitter. Watch the news for 27 seconds and some story will either revolve around some celebrity “tweeting” something stupid or a rumor that was confirmed via someone’s Twitter account.
Here’s where I give you, the young, desperate-to-make-money lawyer, a huge cost savings. You don’t need to pay someone to teach you Twitter. You don’t need to buy any “Twitter” books.
Here’s everything you need to know about Twitter:
Open an account. Talk to people.
I know, you’re thinking, “Talk to people? I need to sell to people!”
Don’t spend your Twitter time linking to your website, and don’t listen to your SEO guy who tells you he will set up various accounts to post links to your website under fake names. You’re a lawyer, an officer of the court; you should have no issue using your real name.
Do not “protect” your tweets and do not ask people to follow you. Do not thank people for “retweeting” what you wrote and do not thank people for following you. Talk to people like you would in real life (if you do that kind of thing). If you write a blog, post a link to a recent post. Follow people you have things in common with both in and out of your professional life. What you do as a lawyer is not that interesting. Trust me.
LinkedIn is a complete waste of time. The proof of this is the various hysterical posts and books written in an attempt to convince you that LinkedIn is not a complete waste of time. It is. Yes, you should have a profile there. You should have a profile on every social media site. Yes, you should connect with people on LinkedIn, but that’s it. Move on.
See LinkedIn section above.
FINAL (FREE) TIPS
Social Media is just that — social. “SOO-SHUL.” It means you act like you would off-line. People will tell you to “brand” yourself, or not to be “mean” or offend people because you won’t get clients. Heh.
The idiots who say this want you to believe the conversation goes like this:
“Hey, you know a personal injury lawyer in Chicago? My cousin fell out of a 747 at 35,000 feet.”
“Yes, I know a great one. He’s well respected, and has a few verdicts in excess of $5 million.”
“Wait, is he the guy that’s mean to people on social media?”
How do you get clients with social media? Same way you do offline — people see what you do, what you say, take an interest, and when they need a referral, maybe they’ll think of you. They won’t think of you simply because you are constantly in their face with your business card.
Would you stand in a room with a megaphone and tell people what you do over and over again? I know, some of you would. But if you wouldn’t, don’t do it on social media.
There is no need to create a social media “strategy.” Anyone who tells you this is in the business of selling social media strategy. Don’t have one. If you do, it’s obvious, and it’s a turn off. Open your accounts, talk to people, have your profile speak for what you do.
And for God’s sake, do not, ever, spend a dime on social media advice, in a book, on the phone, on the net, anywhere. Let the idiots at Biglaw continue to do that.
Brian Tannebaum will never “get on board” at the advice of failed lawyers who were never a part of the past but claim to know “the future of law.” He represents clients, every day, in criminal and lawyer discipline cases without the assistance of an Apple device, and usually gets to work (in an office, not a coffee shop) by 9 a.m. No client has ever asked if he’s on Twitter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.