My Story (The Short Version)
When I first opened the doors to my very own law firm 33 years ago, I tried to market and build my practice like all the other big law firms in town.
It didn’t work.
They had more money and resources than I did. Because of this, they were able to stand out and get all the good clients. Despite how hard I tried to get noticed and bring in bigger cases, nothing worked.
I believe most new business owners experience the same thing. It doesn’t matter if you’re a lawyer, doctor, or the new local sandwich shop in town.
In fact, I shared my struggle, and this part of my story, in a short video during a morning run not too long ago.
Then I Did This
After about 5-7 years, something happened that changed everything for the better. I did something radically different, and it worked. It worked very well.
Fast forward 27 years to today. This new approach I originally started doing offline to build my brand, get noticed, and bring in new cases, is working 10X better with the internet, social media, and other digital platforms. I’m now using these tools and platforms to put these approaches to work 24/7 and not just locally, but globally.
What I’ve figured out, and am having success with on social media, is helping me build more referral relationships and bring in more cases, and bigger cases, than I ever could have imagined. But there was still a problem I was noticing.
While I’m having success on social media, what I noticed is that other friends of mine were not enjoying the same results. In fact, they were making the same mistakes online that I made offline and mentioned in the video. Just like back in the day before digital, marketing and branding success for lawyers and business owners appeared to be the exception and not the norm.
After diving a bit deeper into what these business owners were doing, I noticed that what they were being told to do was just wrong. They were being given bad advice.
I’m guessing that the method of online, social media and digital marketing that you’re probably doing is what everyone else is doing too. And it’s not working as well as you would want. But here’s the deal, it’s not your fault.
The truth of the matter is that a special approach and mindset are required to be successful with marketing and branding on social media. The approach to marketing and branding online, on social media, and the other digital networks I talk about below works exceptionally well. It’s an approach that I’ve been using since I put up my first website in 1996 and, a method I’ve learned and expanded upon, over the last two decades from some of the best marketing and branding experts on the planet. I even shared 100% of this secret sauce in my book.
What YOU Need To Know And Do RIGHT NOW!
Understand this. Social media is all about having the right mindset of always listening, helping others, and adding value. You need to be yourself, selectively transparent, consistently engage your audience, and show your human side. Being genuine and allowing your personality to shine for the world to see is a requirement and not an option.
This is precisely where I see most business owners, professionals, and entrepreneurs drop the ball. If you don’t fully embrace the above mindset on social media, then you’re wasting your time and setting yourself up for failure.
If you try to be like everyone else, share the same content as everyone else, or are like everyone else, then you’ll blend in with everyone else. Being the same will not help you stand out on social media. In fact, what will happen is just the opposite.
Another aspect of social media is appreciating and embracing the fact that building relationships and marketing your brand on the digital platforms isn’t a sprint or marathon (like many experts say). In reality, there is no finish line. I believe that building your brand on social media is more like a good exercise routine or healthy diet. It’s an ongoing and always changing process. If done right, it’s also fun and personally and professionally rewarding.
My first website and online efforts began back in 1996. It took time to get things rolling, and I wasn’t even sure if having a website would help my practice. About eight months after putting up the website, our first seven-figure website-related case came into the firm. Now I’ve never been accused of being the brightest bulb in the lamp, but I knew right then that there was something special about this internet thing.
Motivated by this significant case, I worked hard each day to learn the digital dance, create and publish content, engage with others, and add as much value as I could to my online community. When social media rolled out, I saw the upside and raised the content and engagement bar even higher. The result was more clients, opportunities, and income.
You can do the same thing.
Be patient and don’t be afraid of putting in the time and work. Using social media, give yourself time to change your business, practice, and even your life. Use these tools to expand your brand from local to global. Yes, good things can happen much faster, and that’s great. But what I’ve found to work well is simply focusing on using the methods, tools, and approaches shared in my book (link below). Sharing useful, helpful, and engaging content, consistently, while showing your human side, is the key to success on social media.
Before you share your first post, it’s essential to understand that sharing your unique personality while using good people skills will separate you from everyone else in town. I say this because while the social media platforms will come and go, relationships can last a lifetime. It’s those relationships that I want you to start and build on the digital platforms.
The “Unique Content” Mindset
What’s the best content to post on social media?
My answer to this question might surprise you. For professionals, it’s not all about you or your practice. When it comes to building a brand, relationships, and referrals on social media, most people don’t care about your professional products or services. What they care about is getting their needs taken care of. What they care about is fixing their problems and moving forward with their lives.
At the same time, people are looking for other people who can help them and, who they feel like they know, like, and trust. You can use social media to do all of these things.
What’s Your WHY?
What I recommend you do is figure out your “why.” Take a moment and give deep thought and consideration to what really motivates you to get out of bed in the morning? What are your interests and passions? What gets you excited about life?
After you figure out the answers to these questions, start sharing your “why” on social media. Blend into your content examples or stories relating to what you do for a living.
Doing this will allow you to create unique and different content that will help you stand out above all the noise. Sharing the same generic content as all the other business owners and professionals in town will simply guarantee that you’ll blend in with the crowd.
To stand out is to embrace what I often refer to as the online human “digital dance,” and it’s the most effective way I know to build relationships and bring in new customers, clients, and patients into your practice. It’s also the best way I know to generate a constant stream of new clients and referrals from not only your city and state but also from around the world.
I also recommend that you get comfortable sharing your human side. What I’m talking about are your family experiences, hobbies and everything else in-between. Share your opinions and passions. Share you!
I believe it’s the sharing and engagement surrounding these interests that lead to you and your brand being noticed. Doing this is what will get new clients to contact your office, and new referrals sent your way.
Let’s say you’re a lawyer who enjoys riding horses, flying drones, or standup paddleboarding. You may want to share posts about your latest ride, flight, or experience out on the water along with pictures and videos of you enjoying these activities. Every once in a while, you can include a post about equine, drone, and admiralty laws, regulations and even discuss related legal cases your firm has handled. Doing this will allow you to connect with your audience on a deeper level.
At the same time, you might share pictures from your child’s soccer sidelines or maybe a short video of your child’s dance recital at school. Posting church, Rotary, and other community activities will also help people, over time, get to know, like, and trust you as a human being. The “professional” conversations will eventually happen. Just start with showing your “why” and human sides first.
Pictures and videos increase visibility and engagement. Always try to add an image or video to each post you share on social media.
Make sure to share content in the form of interesting, engaging and entertaining stories. There’s no better way to build rapport than in a short written, audio, and video story. I share 15+ chapters in Section III of my book that shows you how to tell good, persuasive, emotional stories.
If your personality allows you to do so, don’t be afraid to take a controversial position on a matter that’s important to you. Heck, that’s why I became a trial lawyer, to take on the bad guys in the world. Social media now allows me to do this on a much larger scale than in years past. It also allows me to connect and build professional relationships with others who feel the same way that I do.
Before reading any further, reread the last paragraph. It’s important.
Give yourself permission to stop trying to be someone for everyone and instead, embrace who you are and JUST BE YOU.
Now, having emphasized the human side of who you are, I still want you to use the tips, approaches, and ideas in this book to show your professional side too. For maximum impact, blend all of this it into the human story you share.
And one more thing. For all the professionals reading this post, make sure to also never ever forget the following:
Embrace Your Expertise on Social Media
Taking all the above into consideration, if you are a professional on social media, DO NOT shy away from who you are and what you do.
Go ahead and embrace your expertise. People will place a great deal of weight on what you say and do. This is a secret weapon that most professionals have but don’t use correctly.
Famed Psychologists, Robert Cialdini, calls this “directed deference.” His findings show that people are conditioned to respect and follow the edicts of an authority figure.
Most of you are already experts and authority figures. For the above reasons, don’t shy away from this on social media. But show your expertise in a human, kind, and giving way. Being an expert, or perceived as an expert, is a powerful brand-building tool.
For those of you just getting started on your journey, work daily to establish yourself as an expert and reputable source on social media. Then, leverage this to build trust and influence.
Having this mindset, and then executing on it, is the best way I know to build your brand on social media. Now you know this too.
But there’s one more “concept” about social media that you need to know.
Social Media is Constantly Changing. Unlearn Your Old and Outdated Habits
The fact is, the world is changing at an exponentially fast pace. Consumer expectations are changing quickly too.
To have an impact on social media, you must consider these changes. The consumer is holding all the cards. Attention spans are incredibly selective, and everything consumers want or need is a simple tap or swipe away on their smartphone.
Understand this new dynamic, and you’ll be in good shape. Failing to change what you’re doing and how you’re doing it is going to expose you to an uncomfortable reality check down the road.
Another thing that’s changing on social media is how consumers are interpreting the context of your content. They are savvier than ever and are good at reading between the digital lines. Whether you know it or not, the complete message of who you are and what you do you is oftentimes much more than what’s in your last post or comment.
Your social media community is more significant than you think and growing at an exponentially fast pace. They are talking about you and sharing your content 24/7 on a global level. For this reason, you need to know how to create and share content, the right way, and in the proper context, so that consumers will appreciate, understand, take action and share your message.
To be successful on social in today’s world, you need to pay attention to and understand the new customer journey. You have to embrace the consumer experience on social media. Build relationships and communicate on a global level. Focus on helping others, building your brand, top of mind awareness, and your business.
Another vital thing to do is to take time to unlearn your old, outdated habits. Take a step back and give some thought to how you can start disrupting your industry, who you are, how you market, how you interact with your audience, and how you build your brand on social media. Give yourself permission to be unique, have an opinion, show your human side, and stand out.
Two More Things
In addition to learning how to have the right mindset to be successful on social media, you also need to learn and understand the simple, but important fact, that each social media platform has its own personality. Sharing great content in the right context with each platform’s personality in mind is key to marketing your business, building your brand, and connecting with your audience.
And one more thing. How you communicate on social media will dictate your engagement and success. I believe that sharing emotional stories via written blog posts, podcasts, voice (Amazon Echo/ Google Home), videos and live videos, on social media will get you the same explosive results as pouring gasoline on a digital fire. Adding pictures, videos, and persuasive techniques will get you noticed and help you build a special community. Good communicators can dominate the digital platforms. Be a good communicator and you’ll empower people to take action.
Understanding the personality of each platform and, knowing how to communicate on each platform is so important that, in my book, I shared hundreds of tips in dozens of chapters just on these two specific topics.
I want you to wrap your head around being strategically transparent and showing your human side on social media. Don’t come across as “that professional” on social media with the personality of a wet dishrag sitting at the bottom of the kitchen sink. Instead, permit yourself to be the dynamic human being that I know you are, and share your interests, passions, and desires. Engage and entertain. Be unique. Stand out!
Sharing your “why” and showing your human side on social media is how you can rise above all the noise. It’s how you can stand out above your competition. Being genuine when doing so will allow you to expand your brand from local to global, amplify your voice, and become a top of mind resource for new customers, clients, and referrals.
Social media has changed my law firm practice and life. It’s helped me be a better lawyer and, expand my firm’s referral sources from local to global.
If this approach to social media and brand building resonates with you, feel free to take a look at my book (I collaborated with 47 top experts from around the world) also connect with us in my mastermind.
Thanks for your time and remember to make each day your masterpiece!
#attorney #lawyer #businessowner #entrepreneur #socialmedia