October 6, 2009 – As a lawyer, you are most likely accustomed to gaining new clients through your professional expertise and personal demeanor. On a website or through social networking, visitors will not have the benefit of speaking to you personally and the impression they get will be based on your web content as well as the overall look and feel of your website.
On an aesthetic level, a messy, overly complicated website with difficult navigation will give visitors the impression that you are disorganized and will quickly turn them off your services. When it comes to web content, the tone and style of the writing similarly gives visitors an idea of who you are.
This is why it is important to use these communication opportunities to impart that you are a professional, but that you are also a person. On a website, this is easier said than done.
Style and Voice
The SEO content you create for your legal website should be written in a voice that balances the informative content you are providing in a style that is somewhat conversational and easy to read/understand. When you are interacting on social media, the information you provide and the voice you use should also balance your expertise with the fact that you are a person. Sounding too professional can make you seem like a robot, sounding too casual can keep people from taking you seriously.
When you are writing posts on social media, it is ok to have a sense of humor, remark about something non-work related, help spread the word about a friend’s upcoming event, and so on. Just remember that these posts are still being listed under your professional title and reflect upon you as well. Being all business all the time is boring and won’t win you any friends online. Show some personality, just do it responsibly.
Client Vs Personal Relationships
With social media in particular, this balance becomes crucial. No doubt you’ve heard stories about the abundance of personal information people can find out about each other from social networking websites. As a professional on a social network you need to be keenly aware of the information you are sending out into the Internet, as that information is searchable and can come back to haunt you.
The matter gets further complicated when more than clients are involved. Friending co-workers, subordinates, clients, and external friends (non-professional relationships) can create situations where personal information gets shared that perhaps you would not like others to see. In situations like these, we always suggest creating separate personal and professional profiles and working with the privacy settings for each to ensure that your new clients don’t see those photos of you on the beach during your last vacation.
Visit our library to get more information about keeping your reputation in tact on social networks.
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