By Elizabeth Liebel

The advent of social media marketing has given lawyers yet another tool to help promote their brand both personal and professional. In order to successfully market yourself and your law firm, you must be willing to devote equal time to offline marketing as you do marketing you firm online.

Though social media has become a means of quick-fire marketing, it must not replace traditional marketing tactics which most importantly include networking.

For centuries, professionals have used gathering in groups as a means of promoting – be it a cause, an idea, and business, or themselves. Connecting with others on a more personal level allows you to peel off a preverbal “outer layer” and expose a softer side, a less sales-y side for yourself and organization. You’re human, and studies have shown that consumers trust their peers more than a brand; taking time to develop a relationship with those in your community and industry will allow them to see you on a more personal level. Hundreds of other professionals in your area are offering their legal services – why are you different?

There’s something to be said for an individual who takes time to develop (genuine) relationships despite that fact that they’ve already had a busy day and technically aren’t required to attend networking events; it shows a sense of devotion to their work.

There are, however, two types of professionals that attend these events; the individual that wants to meet other professionals and become a resource in the industry, and the slime balls that use the events as a platform to sell their services to whomever crosses their paths. Be kind to the latter, but do not become the latter.

As your network begins to grow, people will actually be interested in attending events where you’ll be. Before I decide if I’m going to an event I don’t regularly attend, I look at the guest list online. There are many professionals I look up to in the industry; if I see them on the guest list, I trust the event is resourceful.

Use your website’s calendar module to post events that you’ll be attending. Not only will this help connect you with other professionals in the area that are attending, it can persuade people, like myself, to attend the event – which in turn gives you more opportunities to influence.

Upon returning from the events, utilize your social media networks by connecting with those that you’ve met and spoken with. In doing so, not only are you adding them to your professional network, you’re engaging them in your online network as well.

More information on supporting your offline network with social media.

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