Social media for professional services: the butterfly effect

by Kirsten Hodgson

Social media is not a silver-bullet. It's a series of tools you can use to add jet-fuel to your existing marketing and business development efforts but you have to be clear about how using social networks will help you achieve your business development and marketing goals and how you're going to use them.

I was interviewing a lawyer for my forthcoming book "The Complete Guide to LinkedIn for Lawyers: connect, engage and win new business" when he said something that really resonated with me:

"It's important to keep flapping your wings and see what happens. It can take a long time for positive and engaging messages to get through. Persistence and consistency are key."

He's right.

When you're looking for (or pursuing) new business opportunities in the real world, you don't often see results overnight. It takes time, patience and follow-up. It's exactly the same when using social networks. The principles don't change, only the tools.

It's easy to try a few things and then give up when you haven't seen any returns in 3 or 4 months, but often that's not realistic. Do you give up on 'traditional' business development efforts so easily?

It could be you're not using the tools to best effect.

Or those you wish to engage with are passive users and so you don't realise that they do see your content.

Maybe you're missing out on opportunities to continue the conversation.

Or you're not joining the conversation at all – if you're one of those professionals who say "I'm on LinkedIn but haven't got any new business from it" then this could be you.

Yes, it's important to persevere and to try new things, and it's even more important to be clear about why you're using these tools in the first place and to understand how they can help you to achieve your goals.

Once you've done that, find out about the platforms you're considering – read a good book, go on a course…find out what's on offer so that you can make an informed call about whether this is something that might help you.

Then watch what others do – find someone you admire or who seems to get a lot of traction and pick up some tips either by asking them what they do or by following/connecting with them.

You'll know you're on the right track if more people start connecting with you, viewing your profile, conversing with you in Groups, sharing your updates and so on.

Give it time. Keep flapping those wings – a little and often – you may be surprised at the results.

What's your view? 

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Specialising in professional services and law firm marketing. I help firms to retain and grow existing clients and attract more of their ideal clients. My core services include social media for lead generation, voice of the client programmes and tender strategy and development. Outside of work I love to run. I’m a bit like Forest Gump in that I’m not that quick but can keep going for ages. I also enjoy coming up with new inventions. Unfortunately, most of them have already been invented! | * Professional services marketing consultant | * Legal marketing consultant | * Law firm marketing consultant
  • Jeannette Arrowood

    This is great advice. Social media really is like everything else in business and life – if what you’re doing now is not working for you, try tweaking it. Pivot, don’t quit. I’m going to share this on our Google+ page – NYC Social Media Experts. It’s located here in case you’re interested in following:

    Speaking of things where you should keep flapping your wings … that’s how I feel about Google+! Has anyone tried that and seen success personally or for their small business yet?

    • Kirsten Hodgson

      Thanks Jeannette, will follow your Google+ page now. Look forward to seeing your updates. You make a good point about flapping your wings on Google+ – I must admit it’s a bit of an afterthought for me. I need to get better at logging in and conversing with people there. Would love to hear of successes there.