In this week’s edition of Things I Wish I Knew, solo attorney, Joleena Louis, explains how using networking on social media has made getting new clients easier for her.
As a solo attorney, networking is the primary way I grow my practice, which usually requires me to attend a lot of events. This can be a bit of a challenge for me because I am an introvert by nature.
When discussing how being an introvert affects an attorney’s networking abilities, it’s important to note the difference between being shy and being an introvert. According to Merriam-Webster, shy is feeling nervous and uncomfortable about meeting or talking to people. And Psychology Today says introverts are drained by social encounters and energized by solitary, often creative pursuits. Essentially, many introverts socialize easily; however, they just strongly prefer not to.
As a litigator, I certainly don’t feel nervous or uncomfortable when talking to people so I don’t consider myself shy. Although, I do find too much socializing to be draining and I prefer to be with a small group or alone.
That’s why networking on social media works well for me. I can socialize with many people at once without feeling the drain of a social event. While many attorneys already use social media to support their online brand, I have learned it is also the ideal networking tool. I gravitate towards social media because it is a more comfortable outlet for me to share thoughts and participate in conversations.Social media is the ideal networking tool for introverts Click To Tweet
Engage according to your preferences
As a busy solo, I often don’t have adequate time to attend networking events or go out and meet people. Networking on social media allows me to make connections online at any time, whether it’s on the subway or in between court appearances.
When talking to people in person, it’s easy to get stuck in a conversation you have no interest in. In my experience, I’ve found it challenging to find a way to politely end conversations with people who are too chatty.
Social media gives introverts the freedom to decide which conversations to join, as well as the ability to easily end or leave a conversation that they are no longer interested in. It’s as easy as not responding or logging out if you don’t want to continue.Social media gives introverts the freedom to decide which conversations to join Click To Tweet
Easily control and support conversations
Impressing potential referral sources during a brief networking event can be a challenge. It’s hard to demonstrate your abilities and qualifications within a few minutes of meeting someone without sounding too self-promotional.
Unlike face-to-face conversations, I’m able to use my social media presence to easily establish my credibility and competence by sharing valuable information. When engaging in conversation, I can take time to write a thoughtful, persuasive comment and I can easily add links to support my argument. This often provides a more useful exchange of information than when discussing a subject in person.
Build relationships you can take offline
The biggest way I have used social media to form connections is by building online relationships first and then turning them into in-person relationships. By chatting in a Facebook or LinkedIn group, on Twitter or on Instagram before meeting in person you build a better connection and will have a more productive conversation when you meet in person.
I’ve had lunch with several attorneys that I “met” on social media by commenting on their post and articles. These individuals turned out to be trusted resources who have given me many referrals and it feels more like meeting a friend when we finally meet in person.
Introverts can make great connections by focusing on networking on social media. You can build relationships by sharing content you think others may be interested in, commenting on their shares, and sending them personal messages with questions or comments. Making the connection online first makes it much easier to grow that relationship when you meet in person.