Using online social media can be a great way to network as discussed in the American Bar Association Legal Career Central webinar, “Networking Your Way to Success.” The Internet makes it quick and relatively easy to connect with others, but the lack of face-to-face communication can present unique challenges. Here are some top do’s and don’ts when networking online using social media:
DO dip your toes in and try it. DON’T shy away and thereby miss opportunities.
Whatever reservation(s) you might have about networking using online social media, do not let that stop you. Although networking has some level of risk, you will benefit from it with practice by learning what works (and what does not work) for you. Have the confidence to put yourself out there, and make smart decisions.
DO focus on forging connections. DON’T over self-promote.
Networking is about relationships, not about you. Others are more willing to listen and engage with you when they feel you want to listen to and learn about them. It is easy to share news or information about you; make sure you temper that and focus more on others. The content you share and how you share it can reveal your character and goals.
DO sync-up with and stay “on brand.” DON’T post unprofessional or sloppy content.
Make it clear to your audience who you are and what you value. The more they understand you, the more likely they will be able to relate to your brand and want to engage with you. Do not use vulgar language or share information that is too personal. You want to be you, but you do not have to share all of you. And whatever you share, read your writing before you share it; misspellings and typos are unprofessional and sloppy.
DO engage with others’ posts. DON’T expect immediate relationships or returns.
Add value to your network by sharing or responding to what others in your network post. If your contributions are thoughtful, others will start to see you as thoughtful and a thought leader. Being a thought leader is great for your brand, but it takes time to cultivate. Networking is a process, not an event with instant gratification.
DO contribute content. DON’T forget that the record remains.
Share information with your network, but remember that whatever you share online may be visible for quite awhile. Do not contribute information that might come back to bite you.
DO have fun in the process. DON’T get too casual even once comfortable.
Networking online, through social media, can be fun and exciting as you can meet interesting people from all over the world. Still, take the time to think about what you are writing and the language you use. If you are networking for professional reasons, you want to remain professional and sensitive in your contributions and communications.
To learn more about how to network online via social media and in-person, listen to the “Networking Your Way to Success” webinar presented by the ABA’s Legal Career Central (LCC) with speakers Joel Stern, CEO of NAMWOLF, and Monica Zent, Founder and CEO of ZentLaw and Foxwordy, and moderator LCC Board Member Avery Blank.