Last week we talked about a few ways to build your professional network through social media. Today I’d like to pick up where we left off, and give you a few more specifics and different directions you can go with it.
First of all you want to engage without coming off as spammy. Whether you’re using LinkedIn, Twitter or some other platform, it’s important to add value to a conversation; to be a giver rather than a taker. For example, you shouldn’t be asking new contacts or people you’re engaging with for the first time about job opportunities. That’s taking. Instead, you should point them to articles they might find interesting, compliment them on a recent news story they were featured in, or simply tag/list them as “must follows” for their subject matter. Do these things with zero expectation of anything in return.
Even better than pointing people to articles is to write an article yourself. LinkedIn has its own publishing platform they have recently rolled out to everyone, so you can essentially host your own blog right there within LinkedIn. Create a post that attorneys in your practice area would find valuable, and share it with them. You can do that directly, or within appropriate groups.
I think the two primary Baylor Law Facebook groups (Baylor Law Network and Baylor Law Career Development) are fantastic places to network and build your profile. But nobody is doing it. Scroll through the Baylor Law Network feed and check out the referrals flying back and forth from one Baylor Lawyer to another. Why can’t you do that? Did you work with/for a Baylor Lawyer this past summer? How about every time someone asks for an attorney in that practice area you are the first to recommend your former employer? You’re adding value, asking for nothing, and practicing attorneys are starting to see your name and face, and making positive associations.
More of an Instagram fan? There are opportunities there too! If you have a decent sense of humor (ask others about that, don’t just assume you do!), why not get engage with the popular @attorneyproblems account. There are also plenty of hashtags involving lawyers, law, law students, etc. you could tap into while posting interesting content. You could use the platform to tell the world why the education you’re getting at Baylor Law is unique and sets you apart. True, Professor Powell isn’t likely to let you make an Instagram Story of a Practice Court exercise, but you certainly could capture life in the Immigration Clinic, St. Andrews, Inn of Court, Orientation, or dozens of other Baylor Law environments.
Not sure what to write or talk about? Picture yourself as a legal reporter for a news magazine that covers an area of the law you’re interested in. Now cover the legal news of the day! Another route you could go is to simply document your life as a law student. Instagram and SnapChat are great for this, and you don’t have to stress over what to create.
A common denominator of all we’ve covered last week and today is that to leverage social media as a professional networking strategy, you have to engage with an audience. This isn’t something where you throw up a blog post and forget about it until next week or next month when you post a new one. You have to engage with people on the platforms, and use whatever content you produce to facilitate or jumpstart that engagement.
Here’s a two-part challenge for each of you: 1) create a piece of content this week and send it to me from the platform where you created it. I’ll aggregate and share with everyone, so that 2) you can then go to others’ content and engage with them. Let’s practice!