Drive Your Journey: Preparing for an Online First Impression

These days, when someone goes to buy any product, they look online for reviews, to compare prices, and more. Certainly, in many instances when someone is looking to engage or hire an attorney as an employee, service provider, speaker, or other role, they also utilize the convenience of searching online, and that individual’s first impression may be based upon what he or she sees online. This presents an opportunity for attorneys. You can shape your digital presence, so that your digital presence show you to be a credible professional and someone with whom others will want to work.

The top five ways to create a strong digital presence as an attorney are:

1. Create content.

Others will perceive you to be a thought leader in your space, if you create content on a subject on a consistent basis. (See point five below). This does not have to be a time-consuming endeavor. Some strategies include (i) creating a series explaining a larger subject in smaller pieces or (ii) picking a topic of the month and speaking on it. While you can use your own website to publish your content, if you do not have one, you can use other mediums such as LinkedIn. More on that later!

2. Curate content.

Another strategy to use to create a strong digital presence is to curate content. This means that, instead of creating your own content or in addition to creating your own content, you find articles, podcast episodes, videos, or other content on an area related to your practice and share links to that content with your audience. Although you are not creating the content, it shows you to be informed and genuinely interested in your practice area.

3. Engage.

Ironically, it is easy for some to forget that it is necessary to be social through social media, such as LinkedIn. You may not have time to be on social media for hours per day, but you can carve out time each day to respond to comments and show your support on others updates.

4. Be yourself.

You want to be relatable to attract others to you. You do not have to show every waking moment of your life or post photos of your food. However, you can give a glimpse into your values and what you drives you. For example, you can post photos from volunteer activities or from conferences that you have attended. If you want to go further, you may want to show you involved in your hobbies. As people see who you are “behind the scenes”, they may believe you to be more genuine.

5. Make your presence online consistent.

If you cannot have a consistent presence online, then, outside of a website cover page or completed LinkedIn profile, do not use social media platforms. It looks worse to have a stale profile than no profile, because it reflects inconsistency and the inability to commit. The expectation is not that you will post each day on social media, other than to respond to comments and support others through likes and other feedback. However, you should attempt to post regularly, even if it is only once or twice weekly. Also, you do not need to be fully active on every social media platform. Stay tuned for a future column regarding how to maximize your social media presence from using one platform.

Over the next year, this column will discuss social media and other methods of online branding and how to use these methods together with traditional forms of branding to access professional opportunities.

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