by Kirsten Hodgson
Are you sceptical of social media? And perhaps even a little afraid of the unknown?
It seems lawyers, accountants and engineers have a huge desire to understand social media (and especially LinkedIn) but there's an underlying fear of privacy issues and getting it wrong. The good news is that the principles of social media are simple. Think about what you're doing. Don't post anything you wouldn't want to see on the front page of your National newspaper and be mindful of your Law Society or Bar Associations rules, guidelines and ethics governing your use of social networks. Use your common-sense.
There's no doubt that the risks we hear about are real but, in talking to several lawyers who are heavy social media users, their activity has not been affected by these.
Social media is not for everyone. But if you're building a practice or looking to be recognised as a specialist in your area(s) of practice then you may really benefit from using social networks. It's okay to decide they're not for you so long as you're making an INFORMED call. Do you at least:
- understand the platforms and how they can be used?
- know whether your clients, prospects, referrers, peers, and other key influencers such as journalists are on them?
If not, you can find out by:
- reading a good book on the platform(s) you're considering using.
- attending a course run by a reputable person who you know uses the tool(s) you want to find out about well.
- asking your colleagues or business partners who understand social media to show you the basics.
- asking your clients, referrers, prospects and peers which, if any, social networks they use.
- searching for those people you wish to engage online and seeing if any social profiles appear in the results.
Find out what's on offer so that you can make a sound decision about whether LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or another platform (or combination thereof) could help you achieve your business development and marketing goals and, if so, think about how you will use them.
If you decide they're not for you, that's fine. But you owe it to yourself to at least understand the phenomena of social media and how the tools could be used so that you can feel comfortable making that decision.
What's your view?
Photo courtesy of Tina Phillips @ www.freedigitalphotos.net