While most lawyers I know are fairly easy going in person, for some reason their likeability exits (stage left) the moment they enter the world of the internet. And that's a shame, because it's killing any chance they have of making a positive impact.
The primary point of this article really shouldn't come as a surprise (I mean – our brand is “Known, Liked and Trusted” after all…). What might be more of a surprise is my perception that most lawyers don't seem to know what being likeable looks like when it's on the internet.
I make this statement based on the extremely scientific and precise method of “what I see going on”.
So let's take a peak at a few traps lawyers commonly fall into which actually decrease the impact of their marketing efforts.
Lurking is Inoffensive, but not Likeable
Most lawyers are fundamentally invisible on the internet. I think this is because being invisible is safe.
By invisible I mean they exist, read things, see what happens, but largely don't participate in any way shape or form.
They are the quintessential lurker.
And lurking might be safe. After all, if you don't say anything then you can't offend anyone or do anything “wrong”.
But it's also not building relationships. Nobody will feel more positive about you because you lurk, and nobody will get to know you better.
You will just exist. Like a rock.
Constant Selling Isn't Likeable
Most lawyers know this already, since we pretty much loath selling at a fundamental level.
And yet when I take a snapshot of many lawyers' social media profiles, their entire existence consists of:
- Promotions; and
While seondary social proof can form a useful part of your social media calendar, let's be honest: it's also just tooting your own horn (by mentioning that someone else is tooting your horn).
You might think this isn't selling, and even get some engagement through kind-hearted congratulations, but the truth is you aren't offering much of yourself in these posts.
Being “Professional” Isn't Likeable
As lawyers, we love defining things. So here I need to pause a moment and define “professional” as I'm using it. This definition is based on what many lawyers seem to think “professional” means.
- nothing controversial;
- nothing personal;
- no jokes;
- no risks;
- purely legal information.
This might well position you as an expert (if by some miracle people read what you post) but it's not making you seem likeable.
If anything, it's making you seem like a stuffed shirt.
Being a Know-It-All Isn't Likeable
Some lawyers do a great job of finding interesting material on their social media platform of choice, and then spend their valuable time correcting people and being pedants.
I find this strange.
Mostly because we learned that constantly telling people they're wrong isn't very nice in our Humanity 101 lessons as a child.
And yet for some, their need to be precise, or correct, seems to outweigh their desire to build positive relationships with others.
Now don't get me wrong – sometimes a polite disagreement on the internets can be a good way to engage with a particular topic.
But if all your time is spent beating your intellectual chest by pointing out the errors of others, I think that's probably just a lost opportunity. It might seem like you're demonstrating your legal expertise, but more likely you're just positioning yourself as somebody who isn't that pleasant.
Aim for Positive Likeability
Generally speaking these issues come about because we do the internet on auto-pilot.
Instead, take a deliberate and pro-active approach to ensuring that your interactions are ticking the “likeable” box, and you'll see a lot more success.
You'll probably also have a better time along the way.