If you’re not using social media professionally, you should be. Especially with the pandemic throwing a curveball into our lives over the past seven months and making online networking and branding more important than ever before

Here are a few benefits (and reasons) to incorporate social media into your marketing and business development strategy.

  • It’s cost-effective
  • It helps you disseminate information quickly and effectively
  • It gives you another way to highlight your organization and people (think featuring bios, practice groups, case studies, firm history, a TBT or FBF campaign to showcase old photos) – I call this owned media
  • It is an effective branding, recruiting and lead generation tool
  • It helps you stay top of mind with your network and other important audiences
  • It compliments your other marketing/business development efforts (use social media to help amplify your initiatives)
  • It helps to establish your organization and employees as thought leaders
  • It builds credibilityIt gives you an opportunity to be authentic
  • It helps your search engine optimization

I can’t stress the importance of staying top of mind in a crowded marketplace with clients, prospects, recruits and the media – especially during this extraordinary time of social distancing. Social media, when done right, enables you to do that at a very low or no cost.

Remember when crafting your social strategy to only focus on the social channels where your clients and prospects are. There’s no reason to be posting content on channels where your target audience won’t see it – that’s a waste of your time and effort.

I’d love to hear how your content creating is going. Feel free to reach out to me!

It’s so easy to forget to be client-centric all the time especially during this extraordinary past 7 months filled with new stressors and pressures.

It’s also easy to be forgotten during a time when we aren’t seeing others regularly in person and we aren’t front and center with our professional network.

But there are a lot of great lawyers in the industry, so you must find ways to stand out and stay top of mind with your network (thank god for LinkedIn!).

One way to do that is by going out of your way to help individuals in your network without expecting anything in return.

These are actions such as helping someone find a job, sending a newsworthy article, or congratulating someone on a professional or personal milestone. Cultivating relationships and helping people are the keys to professional success today.

You can still build relationships despite the pandemic – use LinkedIn, Zoom and other online networking tools and stay top of mind through producing a steady stream of value-added content.

In terms of Linkedin, having a strong LinkedIn profile is the first step but regularly liking, sharing and posting value-added content is how to effectively use social media for brand building and lead generation.

Use LinkedIn to reconnect with contacts from the past and to keep abreast of job moves and professional milestones of important contacts (through the notifications section – the little bell icon on the upper right hand side of your page). I have seen the conversations that stem from the notifications lead to new business over and over. Checking the notifications section and then sending out congratulatory messages is an easy daily marketing action to build into your schedule.

Regularly ask clients about their business goals, be attuned to their needs and then develop solutions to meet those needs.

Law is first and foremost a relationship and referral business, and this is why it’s so important for lawyers of all levels to cultivate and nurture connections throughout their careers – especially right now.

The bottom line is that you should treat everyone with whom you come into contact as if they could be a future client, employee or referral source – because you never know.

When it comes to personal and professional relationships with women, I’ve learned that boundaries are important and some relationships aren’t meant to last.

Friends will come in and out of your life who you thought were like family. People you never expected will stab you in the back. You will grow apart with others. Some friends are actually disguised as mean girls.

I try to look at everything as a learning experience, especially when bad things happen to me, such as being betrayed by someone or needing to end a friendship that I’ve outgrown.

I’ve learned that having a close circle of friends who you can really trust is more important than having a big circle of people in your life.

Here are a few other things this social butterfly has learned (the hard way) over the years.

Find your tribe. These are the people who will stand by you no matter what whether personally or professionally. These are the friends who are truly family. They will watch you ugly cry. They truly have your back in good times and most importantly bad times.

If a friend puts you down or doesn’t respect you, it’s time to walk away. I had a friend who constantly took jabs at me in groups and privately. We used to be close, but gradually something changed in her toward me. I began to retreat from her and it came out that she harbored a lot of resentment toward me from the past that she never addressed with me. Instead she took it out on me through passive aggressive comments.

There was always a sense of competitiveness and jealousy that I felt from her whenever things went well in my life. She seemed to enjoy when I faltered.

When we stopped speaking, I realized how much effort I had been putting into the friendship, and how harsh she had been to me. I felt stupid for putting up with that as long as I did.

Friendships, just like romantic relationships can turn emotionally unhealthy. Friends are supposed to lift you up, have good intentions and be loyal. Of course no one is perfect and each of you will make mistakes and upset each other from time to time – but respect, kindness and having each others’ backs are non-negotiables. The length of a friendship is not what matters – it’s the substance.

Not everyone will like you and that’s perfectly okay. I used to really care what people thought of me and was a people pleaser. I wanted everyone to like me, and I went overboard trying to achieve this unachievable goal, which only led to me feeling disappointed all of the time.

I could not be luckier to have a close circle of friends who are truly family

Once I realized that that was impossible to accomplish, I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t have to walk on eggshells around certain people. This also counts for potential romantic partners and employers in addition to friends.

Bottom line – find people who encourage you to be yourself. The right people for you will gravitate to you as a result.

Not all of your friends want you to succeed. Unfortunately you will be stabbed in the back. Sometimes you will see it coming. Other times you won’t (this happened to me last year and it was a painful reminder that mean girls exist well into their 40s).

Be careful what you share with others. Less is often more because some women will use information you share against you.

These women always have my back. They are kind, supportive and let me be me.

And perhaps most importantly, be in tune with kinds of reactions your friends have to your successes and when good things happen to you. If you see signs of jealousy, competitiveness or hear they are gossiping about you, it may be time to cut ties and move on.

Here are some things you can do to cultivate healthy relationships with the women in your life who you care about:

  • Do more kind acts without expecting anything in return
  • Let go of grudges
  • Celebrate their successes
  • Tell them how much you appreciate them
  • Truly be there for your tribe when they need you
  • Don’t ever break the girl code
  • Keep secrets and confidences no matter what

Remember to always trust and follow your intuition when it comes to who you allow and keep in your life. Boundaries are a good thing.

You can have great female relationships by surrounding yourself with women who inspire, encourage and challenge you and weeding out the mean girls.

What is the secret sauce to effective social media content?

I always use the following principles to guide me when creating my personal social media posts, company posts and any posts for my clients – these are good reminders to keep in mind as you’re planning out your content strategy.

  • Reuse and repurpose – don’t just publish something once and be done with it – you can get at least three to six posts from every thought leadership piece
  • Create once, publish everywhere – but adjust the content and message to the platform (one size doesn’t fit all) and only focus on the social channels where your clients and prospects are
  • Visual content – every social media post should be accompanied by a visual period. If you don’t include a visual, the post just don’t get as high engagement levels as it would if it was brought to life with a visual. I use Canva to easily create all of my social media graphics.
  • Show vs. tell – write with this concept in mind and you will create more client-centric posts
  • Client-centric content – speaking of that, everything you post to social should be helpful and value added. Especially now during the pandemic. All content should be written with your target audience in mind – in their language. This is how you establish yourself as an expert and thought leader on LinkedIn and stand out in a crowded field.
  • Evergreen content (timeless content) – Every practice group and industry has those topics that keep coming up – they’re timeless in a sense. I call them gifts that keep giving because you can repost these over and over, and they do well in SEO. Work with different groups to identify these topics and write about them, especially when you have openings in your editorial calendar.
  • Value-added content – I covered this above but it’s worth its own bullet because I find so many organizations often post content for the sake of posting without really thinking about why they’re posting it and not keeping their clients’ needs in mind when creating it.
  • Use (the right) hashtags – if you know how to use hashtags, they can be an incredibly powerful tool to help you and your content become more discoverable.

I hope this visual helps you!

Bestselling author and motivational speaker Rachel Hollis recently published a new book, Didn’t See That Coming about how to put your life back together when your world falls apart such as facing the death of a loved one, a divorce, ending of a friendship or the loss of a job. We all have moments like this, and 2020 tested all of us.

Similar to Rachel, my world also fell apart (last year), I was blindsided by it (which my regular blog readers know) and I used that painful experience to build an even better life for myself, while sharing some of my experiences and lessons learned along the way with my readers to hopefully help others.

I thought I knew what I wanted, as Rachel says as well in the book. My life looked great from the outside, but I was unhappy at work, in an unhealthy relationship with a controlling and insecure partner who did not want the same things as me and who kept trying to change me into someone else, and was surrounded by friends who did not have my best intentions at heart.

Instead of taking charge of my life, I pretended everything was fine and let things happen to me. I ignored red flags both professionally and personally, and I didn’t trust or listen to my intuition.

When I finally started to take charge of my life and cut ties with toxic and abusive people and situations, things finally started to fall in to place for me. I finally put up boundaries. I finally stood up for myself. I found the courage to start my own business, end toxic friendships and get out of a relationship in which I never should have been.

Me today – more resilient and stronger with a new puppy

Rachel says in the book, “unless we experience hardship, we will never truly appreciate and remember the good that was always good.”

She also says we should make peace with the idea that we really don’t have control over anything in life but ourselves, and that our life can change in an instant.

“We don’t ever truly know what life is going to look like from one day to the next. Even from one hour to the next. We’ve never been able to accurately predict the future. I want you to understand that you haven’t lost control of life . . . because you never had control to begin with…We are only ever in control of ourselves and our actions in the moment. That statement holds utter limitation or ultimate opportunity, and the only thing that will decide which way it lands in your life is how you choose to view those words.”

If you are looking for a book to help you process and move past hard times such as being betrayed by a significant other or friends, accepting the abrupt end of a marriage or long-term relationship, the death of a loved one, dealing with your career going off course, and to make sense of things that just don’t make sense, check this out. If you’re someone who doesn’t do well with sudden change like me, it’s a great resource.

I’ve always been a fan of Rachel’s straightforward approach in empowering and motivating women both professionally and personally. She’s a great example of someone who strikes the right balance between being vulnerable, authentic and real while professional.

It took me awhile to feel like myself again but now I couldn’t be happier and more thankful to have my life turned upside down so that I didn’t wind up on the wrong path

Remember, it’s okay to not be okay all of the time. If anything has been reinforced for me during the pandemic, is that nothing is perfect, no one is perfect and it’s okay to say you need help sometimes.

Books are of course helpful to help make sense of a hard time, but there’s no substitution for personalized counseling, so if you feel that you need more help than a book can provide, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a trained professional for help.

Many of us have had to do that at different inflection points in our lives. When my mom passed away from cancer four years ago, my therapist very much helped me move past the different stages of grief.

No one’s life is perfect no matter what they portray on social media. And as someone who is often thought of as a social media “expert,” I want to make that very clear.

There’s such an opportunity to use our platforms for good, and to share both the highlights of our lives and also sometimes when things go off course. These are often times the moments when others will best relate to you, which is why Rachel is someone I turn to over and over.

Let me know what you think of her book.

I have some major LinkedIn news to report – company pages in the U.S. can now use LinkedIn Stories starting today.

If you’re a LinkedIn geek like me, you’ve been waiting for this day for a LONG time and it’s incredibly exciting for companies of all kinds.

COVID has turned even more people into LinkedIn power users – LinkedIn Stories gives companies and individual users the ability to engage with followers in a new way. LinkedIn Stories can also be a powerful tool for personal branding.

Currently you can only add and view LinkedIn Stories from your mobile device.

Stories disappear in 24 hours similar to Facebook and Instagram stories, but the content appears prominently on the top of the Linked mobile app’s home page, so it’s a great place to highlight information. It’s very image-based, so use big images, callouts and be creative.

If you manage multiple LinkedIn company pages, you will see options to add stories to each of them horizontally along the top of your home screen.

So how can your organization use LinkedIn Stories to their advantage?

  • Highlight your thought leadership (blog posts, client alerts, article placements)
  • Share quick tips (top 5 lists)
  • Post short teaser videos to promote various initiatives
  • Highlight firm history (this is a great way to use old photos)
  • Spotlight employees, alumni and clients through Q&As
  • Share available job postings
  • Promote lateral arrivals – you can promote their initial arrival and then do a short Q&A with them
  • Post event photos (for now consider past events for a #TBT/#FBF campaign but post from live events in the future)

LinkedIn Stories provide a great way to showcase a more authentic side to your brand on social media and to engage with followers, especially as target audiences and clients continue to get younger.

Remember to keep your content suited to the fast and easy-to-digest nature of stories.

I am optimistic that LinkedIn will add a swipe up link similar to Instagram’s to make it easy to include a URL to an article or a registration page – stay tuned for that!

Contact me to learn more about how to incorporate LinkedIn Stories into your marketing strategy.

It’s important to keep in mind that so many people only post their perfect moments on social media, creating an illusion that they have a perfect life both professionally and personally. They airbrush their lives just like they airbrush their photos, taking away any imperfections and creating a fantasy that often makes others feel inferior.

But no one’s life is perfect all of the time, no matter what they show on social. Trust me.

It bothers me when I see others pay such meticulous attention to creating a fake Instagram photo perfect life to the outside world. Nothing could be more fake or detached from reality.

Real life is perfectly imperfect and often complicated, messy and inconvenient. Don’t fall into the trap of letting others’ social media feeds make you feel as if you’re inferior or someone else’s life is better than yours.

You all know how much I value social media as a tool for branding and lead generation, but I also see it as a way we can help others and be our authentic selves without having to pretend to be perfect.

Sometimes it’s better not to post anything to social media. I used to be much more public with what I posted on my personal social accounts. And after a rough 2020, I decided that less was more. I don’t think that everyone needs to know everything about you all the time. It tends to foster jealousy among some friends and colleagues and can complicate life in general. Being private is one of the best things you can do. Let people wonder what you’re doing.

So be brave enough to share your reality, your challenging moments and failures in order to help, motivate and educate others – that’s what I try to do. Social media can be such a powerful tool to reach and connect with others – use it for good.

Be inspired by others’ successes, humbled by your own achievements and excited about the growth opportunities ahead of you.

Don’t compare yourself to anyone and remember that you’re exactly where you are supposed to be.

 

Here’s an idea for you – stop posting items to social media the way you’ve been posting unless you have a clear strategy.

I find that so many individuals who are in charge of posting to social media on behalf of their companies or who post for themselves to build their brand and business get to a point where they’re posting without focus and strategy.

Perhaps a lawyer told them to post something right away. Or they found something cool that they think they should post. Whatever the case may be, many times we’re posting items to social without really thinking about why we are posting it and that’s a big mistake. We aren’t robots and we need to customize and tailor our posts to ensure they resonate with our followers.

Then there’s a whole other issue of whether or not you’re posting content to the right channels. Or whether you even need to be on certain channels.

I can’t tell you how many times my clients have said to me “we need an Instagram account!” to which I reply “no we don’t!” Because you should only focus on the social media channels used by your clients and prospects. Only go where your clients are. Not because of channel is cool or because others are using it. It’s so much more strategic and efficient to use one or two channels really well than to be stretched thin by having to manage content on four channels.

It’s so important to always post to social media with a purpose and to have clear goals in mind. Ensure that your content is aligned with those goals (such as lead generation or increasing visibility for key practices, industries or lawyers, launching a new product or announcing big news) and you will have much more ROI.

Here are some questions to always keep in mind before you post anything to any social media channel to help you be more strategic about your posts.

  • What am I trying to achieve with this content?
  • Why does this content matter to my audience?
  • Where is the benefit of this content?
  •  Who needs to see this content?

Then think about:

  • What kind of image would bring my content to life?
  • What are the best channels to reach my target audience?
  • What are the best keywords that describe my content?

The answers to the second set of questions will help you create your accompanying social media image, headline and hashtag.

I know this seems like a lot of work, but before long, this process will be ingrained in you and you will just be accustomed to asking yourself these questions and answering them automatically as you craft posts.

I ask myself these questions with every post I write for myself and for my clients. I take into consideration business goals, key employees and market conditions. And I write every single post with a client-centric tone. Everything you post to social media should be crafted with your clients in mind. That means right in their language, put yourself in their shoes and provide them with content that is helpful, to the point and interesting.

By adopting this process, you’ll save yourself time as well because your posts will be more focused and you’ll wind up creating a formula as you craft them.

In addition, start looking at your analytics regularly if you aren’t already to see which posts resonate with your audience so you can create more of those.

I always say that social media success is so much more than the number of likes, comments and shares. It’s about reaching the right people at the right time with the right content. And it takes time to get it right.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions and I always love to hear your ideas on what works for you.

Working from home without any separation between actual work and home is not easy for many of us.

Before March of this year, I had never really worked from home. Now it’s my every day life.

I just moved into a bigger apartment so that I could have a dedicated office space since this will be my new normal for the foreseeable future.

I share my home with a rambunctious and quite high-maintenance French bulldog puppy, which is not so easy all the time when she wants to play and I’m trying to work and host meetings. I know a lot of you are managing working from home while having kids who are at home and attending school remotely, which is incredibly challenging.

To a certain degree, everyone is in the same boat, but each of our situations is unique. Have compassion, understanding and empathy for others – your colleagues, friends and family and most importantly yourself.

Self-isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic presents challenges, but along with them lies opportunities for new perspectives and positive habits.

I personally never thought I would like working from home – and although I miss seeing people every day and getting dressed for work, I know I’m more efficient at home due to less distractions and the absence of a commute.

Here are a few tips on how to leave your work at work when working from home. 

  1. Shower and get dressed for the day. I am not suggesting that you put on full work clothes like we used to wear BP (before pandemic). I personally have not worn real business attire since March 16 myself and my heels are wondering what happening to me (I’m not sure I even remember how to walk in heels to be honest). It’s important to be comfortable (Target leggings are my go-to) while always looking professional. I put on a bit of makeup and do my hair if I know I will be on a videoconference. It also gives me a pick me up and helps me feel more like myself.
  2. Visualize the day. Spend a little time early in the morning thinking about your day and planning it out. To the greatest extent possible, focus on important (not urgent) projects first and avoid distractions – research shows that most people are more alert and productive in the morning versus afternoon. Know that your day will likely get highjacked at least for a time because things pop up. Just go with the flow – the job market is tight and it’s nearly bonus time at most firms.
  3. Create a dedicated and inviting workspace. Your workspace doesn’t have to be its own room—in my apartment, it’s a corner—but it should feel as separate from the rest of your home as possible. Try to make your workspace as comfortable as you can with a chair you can sit in for eight hours a day (I got mine from Wayfair) and a few decorations and framed photos of the people you love. Find an area with good natural lighting too.
  4. Plan out your meals and snacks ahead of time, such as at the beginning of the week or workday. This prevents you from working to the point of hunger and then scrambling to decide what to eat. You should also avoid eating at your workstation.
  5. Take occasional breaks outside. Incorporate more exercise into your daily routine and make a point to get outside if you can. I have a dog so it’s easy for me to take her out for walks. If you don’t have a pet, get some fresh air at some point during the day.
  6. In addition to making sure your work gets done, take care of your physical and mental well-being during this stressful time. Try yoga or meditation. I got a Peloton bike. Maybe you like running – whatever it is just keep moving.
  7. Create a daily ritual to mark the end of professional time – I write a to-do list for the next day and tidy up my desk area. It feels great to start the next day with an organized workspace and when I write that list of to-do items, I’m reminded of exactly what needs to be done.
  8. Taking the to-do list one step further, write out either on paper or digitally – whatever you prefer – all the tasks you need to accomplish, ideally in order of importance.
  9. Finish one small but important task before you stop working for the day.
  10. Start your personal time after work on a positive note – for me, it’s walking my puppy and then making dinner – two things that make me incredibly happy.

Working from home during this time may not be what any of us planned but we can make the most of it.

Remember to be kind to yourself and your colleagues as we all continue to adjust to this new normal.

Have faith in your ability to adapt and find the sweet spot in your work-life balance.

It’s not always easy to be happy even if you are by nature a happy person like I am, especially as the pandemic and our new normal of social distancing continues into the fall months.

Here are some things you can do to find more happiness in your everyday life despite what’s going on in the world.

  1. Do more kind acts for those you care about 
  2. Give back to your community (you can do this virtually)
  3. Eat well
  4. Go to bed earlier and stick to a regular sleep schedule
  5. Exercise
  6. Try meditation or yoga
  7. Don’t sweat the small stuff
  8. Cross things off your to-do list – there is something so satisfying about this simple action (also stop procrastinating – that’s my number one stress trigger and I know many of you also struggle with it)
  9. Adopt an attitude of gratitude
  10. Focus on the things you love and less of those that you don’t
  11. Let go of grudges and be more forgiving of others
  12. Take baby steps toward a big goal or dream of yours
  13. Watch a favorite movie or listen to an album you love
  14. Celebrate the successes of others
  15. Smile more – the simple act of smiling makes you feel happier!
  16. Play with your pet (if you don’t have a pet, borrow one from a friend or family member)
  17. Spend time with friends and family who lift you up

Number 16 is my #1 way to instantly find more happiness. My puppy Lucy brightens up every single day. One of the silver linings of the pandemic is being able to spend so much time with our pets.

What else would you add to this list that brings you happiness?