Are you keeping the “social” in “social networking?”

hide-and-seekYou already know the basics of why lawyers should be using Facebook. Hopefully, you also took ten minutes to update your privacy settings on Facebook. Now that you are all set up, do you know what kind of information to share on Facebook and other social media sites?

A recent article from Harvard Business takes a look at the advantages of sharing personal information on social networking sites in addition to professional information.  The article points out that “sharing personal information further humanizes people whose roles may otherwise make them seem remote or inaccessible.”

It goes on to explain that the flow of information between two people requires reciprocity:  “why would you exchange a flow of knowledge without trusting me to do the same? Yet trust is difficult to build and maintain if we keep a significant part of ourselves hidden.”

The article makes a good point. Although it is intended for business executives, the idea applies equally to attorneys. As experts in our field, we run the risk of alienating clients by seeming aloof.  Social media allows us to show another side and become more humanized.

Now the real question is how much of your social media presence should be personal as opposed to business related. Diane Danielson of Downtown Women’s Club suggests the following breakdown:

30% about your own business/career.
30% about someone else’s business (promoting/retweeting/fan pages)
30% about your personal interests (your dog, the real housewives …, etc.)
10% of just plain funny or thought-provoking ideas

To make the most of social networking, lawyers and law students need to make sure they include the “social” aspect. Connections that flow in both directions are the strongest. You will be more likely to reach out to someone with a referral or ask them for advice if you know more about them than what is on their CV. At the same time, sharing more than your latest firm successes will allow people to get to know you and make it that much more likely they will approach you with their legal needs in the future.

If you are new to social networking, check out our Facebook 101 post.

What Does Your Facebook Profile Say About You? | Harvard Business

(photo: stuartpilbrow)

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