Lately, I’ve been receiving a lot of LinkedIn requests from people I don’t know, which I don’t accept, because, well I don’t know them and they’re usually trying to pitch something to me.  But one caught my eye because his name was listed so unconventionally. 

DRUM ROLL – he included a grape emoji before and after his name. Yes, a grape emoji. Actually two grape emojis. I’m pausing now for emphasis. He was in the wine business so at least the fruit-themed emoji was somewhat relevant, but using emojis in your LinkedIn profile, especially in your name, is a big no no. I think they are unnecessary and take away from the overall big picture of YOU. Instead, let your profile’s powerful words describe you. They also don’t always translate visually to desktop, which is how many people still use LinkedIn. Think of your LinkedIn profile as your online resume. Don’t be trite or silly in it. Think gravitas. Perhaps in a creative field, an emoji may work, but what if you turn off someone? It’s just not worth it.

For me, the only place on LinkedIn where an emoji might be acceptable would be in a comment, and even there, you’d need to exercise caution on which ones you chose to use and how many you selected. It is my opinion  that no matter how blurry the lines are getting between personal and professional, I still don’t think that emojis are the right symbols to help visually convey aspects of your professional brand on this platform. There are so many more effective ways to do it – but again, this is just my opinion and others in more creative fields can feel free to disagree.

I thought it would be a good idea to post my JD Supra article on LinkedIn don’ts and add a #51 – don’t use emojis on LinkedIn especially in the listing of your actual name. Read on for more LinkedIn don’ts: Read on for more LinkedIn don’ts.

Today, networking online is just as important as networking in person. And in the professional world, LinkedIn continues to be the most important social media channel for business development. It enables you to quickly build and grow relationships, strengthen your brand and stay top of mind with key individuals in your professional network regardless of where they live. LinkedIn also gives you a treasure trove of valuable competitive intelligence, which can help you gain a serious advantage over your competitors.

I know that many of you have LinkedIn profiles but you aren’t maximizing the platform because you’re busy, or you don’t know really how to use it or you just aren’t convinced that it’s worth your time. Let me assure you that it is 100% worth your time especially given that we have five generations in the workforce right now and clients are getting younger and are using social media more frequently.

In fact, to further underscore the importance of the social network, your LinkedIn profile is often the first or second Google search result when someone searches for you online. In addition, LinkedIn is free and easy to use.

To show you just how easy (and beneficial) it is to use, here are some quick and easy examples of actions you can take today to more meaningfully engage with your connections, strengthen your brand, position yourself as a subject matter expert and bring in leads:  Continue Reading Why You Should Say Yes to LinkedIn (and Four Easy Ways to Engage With Your Connections)

I recently achieved two major professional successes by putting myself out there and asking for them. I know it sounds a bit, well, basic, but I felt really good about going out on a limb and seizing the right moment to make a big ask in each of these situations.

So often, we are afraid of the word “no” and of rejection that we don’t put ourselves out there to even ask for what we want or to pursue a great idea in the first place, and that is a huge mistake and missed opportunity. Stop being afraid. Do what makes you uncomfortable. Say yes to taking chances. Not everything in life is going to easily come to you and sometimes you are going to have to  get out of your comfort zone and ask for what you want. While you won’t always get it, often these are the times in which we grow and learn the most about ourselves.

Here are a few tips on how to ask and get what you want:

  • Be sincere – there is nothing, I repeat, nothing, more compelling than a passionate request on why someone should help someone or do something. Pour your professional heart into this.
  • Don’t over ask – be realistic in what you are asking for and practical.
  • Explain what’s in it for them – so by this, I mean clearly outline how the person who is on the receiving end of your ask will benefit from what you want.
  • If at first you don’t succeed, try again! There could be a million reasons why someone declines a particular opportunity or says no to you at that moment in time.No is not forever and it is not personal.

While you’ll hear much more about these two successes soon (they’re still under wraps!), I just wanted to post something about the the fact that life is short, and we all need to seize the moments and opportunities before us more frequently to get what we want and to help steer us along the right paths. No is not necessarily a bad word to hear – it just means that it wasn’t the right choice for you and that situation at that particular moment in time.

The reason why I wrote this was because sometimes I feel like so many of us just never bother to ask for what we want or try for things because we think they are out of our grasp. If you believe that you can do it and that anything is possible, it will be. So shift your mindset and watch how things change right before you. And get stay tuned for two big announcements!

I recently had the opportunity to participate in an interview series with the Legal Marketing Association where they asked some of the speakers of the upcoming LMA19 conference to respond to questions on why they submitted to speak at the LMA Annual Conference, what they hope attendees will learn from their presentation, what they think are the keys for success for legal marketers today and which other sessions they are most excited to attend. Here are my responses. I’m looking forward to seeing many of you in Atlanta on April 8-10, and I hope you will join me and Jennifer Carr for our deep-dive workshop session on April 10 at 1:30pm on “Beyond Branding: Aligning Social Media Strategy With Business Development Goals.” Learn more about the sessionContinue Reading Here’s a Sneak Peek Into my 2019 LMA Annual Conference Session in This Q&A

I can’t wait to speak at the 2019 Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference on April 10 at 1:30pm in Atlanta on “Beyond Branding: Aligning Social Media Strategy with Business Development Goals.” The conference is now less than three weeks away, and while I still have so much to do to prepare for my presentation, I get so energized at the idea of being around my peers and sharing ideas and takeaways with them. My co-presenter and good friend Jennifer Simpson Carr from Knapp Marketing and I have so many exciting things to show everyone about how to take your social media and content marketing efforts to the next level and actually use them for lead generation and client retention.

Today, social media is so much more than getting a like, comment or a share, or being just a brand building tool if you do it right, which any firm can regardless of their budget or size! We will show attendees how during our session, which is a deep-dive immersive workshop. Learn more about our session. You can also read a speaker Q&A featuring yours truly to learn more about why I submitted to speak at the LMA Annual Conference, what I hope attendees will learn from my presentation, what I think are the keys for success for legal marketers today and which other sessions I am most excited to attend.

Also, it’s so important to find a firm that promotes you and your successes like my firm does as you can see from this image, which was posted on Tarter Krinsky & Drogin’s LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. The firm doesn’t draw any lines between staff and lawyers, and I can’t imagine ever working for a firm again that does. It is so refreshing to work at a company that supports me and allows me to be me. Yes I work very hard but I am also rewarded with the ability to pursue the professional passions that are important to me, such as speaking and writing,  and I hope everyone finds that type of professional home. Since it’s Women’s History Month, and just because, let’s celebrate our achievements and just keep rocking on and supporting each other.

So what are you most excited about when it comes to the LMA Annual Conference? Is it the networking or the education? Or both? And do you work at a firm that supports your pursuits inside and outside of the office? Let me know!

Many of those who have come to see me speak at conferences and who read my articles have heard me say over and over again how important it is to never post anything to social media without an image. If you need more reasons why, here are some stats that help to back me up: your audience is much more willing to engage with visual content. In fact, 40% of online users will provide a more favorable response to visual content than plain textual content. For instance, tweets with images get 150% more retweets than tweets without images, while Facebook posts with images generate 2.3 times more engagement than posts without them (all stats from this article).

Simply put, visuals make your readers stop and pay attention. Without them, your content falls flat and it just doesn’t “pop” – you need to use every trick in the book to capture your audience’s attention in this very competitive market.

Including images in your posts makes your content (and your firm) more engaging, interactive, relatable and memorable, and can help attract new followers as well as keep your existing audiences interested in what you have to say. You also look like a modern, 21st century firm, and in the legal industry where the bar in social media can at many times be low, this is a very good thing. Stand out from the pack whenever you can. Also, keep in mind that visual social content is a quick way to:

  • uniquely express your brand enabling you to stand out from your competitors
  • bring boring information to life
  • highlight important data
  • differentiate your firm and lawyers
  • showcase your practices/industries and news about the firm and lawyers
  • increase traffic to your web site (including lawyer bios, which are the most-visited and I think the most important pages on law firm web sites) and blogs

One of the worst things you can do today is to post an incorrectly sized photo to social media accompanying your content. That demonstrates that you 1.) lack fundamental understanding of the social networks on which you are posting and 2.) did not take the time to resize your photos for each platform (remember one size does not fit all when it comes the content you post on each social platform or the photos you use), which isn’t being very client-centric or putting yourself in the shoes of your audience.

The good news is that it’s very easy to resize, compress, edit, crop and convert your photos today for most people even from your mobile phone. You certainly do not need a graphic designer or Photoshop to do it. There are many free online tools that will easily enable you to do it such as picresize.comresizeimage.netsimpleimageresizer.com and more. These sites are all pretty no frills and easy to use. You just upload your photo, make the adjustments and then resave it.

If you are on the go and trying to edit a photo and post it from your mobile device, just know that what you can do is somewhat limited. You can’t natively resize an image from your iPhone (which is a huge bummer), so you’ll need to download an app like Image Size, Resize Image, Photo & Picture Resizer, PicsArt or one of the other photo resize apps available today on iTunes for iOS users. Many of these are also available for Android users of which I am not going to pretend I am an expert (insert smiley face). By using a tool like this, you can take headshots, practice area images and other snapshots and easily resize and then post them to your social media channels. Reusing and repurposing visual and content assets to your advantage is one my favorite social media tricks, and one of which so many companies do not take enough advantage.

If you want to do more than just use a single image, try using Canva.com to create custom images with graphics and text. They have many templates already designed in which you can just upload your photo or text and depending on your membership, you can gain access to their robust stock image library as well, which is very useful when trying to add visual interest to a post. For example, I made the image above using one of Canva’s templates, which I edited a bit. In total, it took me 5 minutes to create from start to finish, and I am not graphic design savvy in the least, so if I can do it, you can do it! I’ve created so many other images like this and it’s been really fun to explore my creative side in doing these, which I don’t always get to do working in a law firm.

In my free time, I volunteer for the Legal Marketing Association, because I really enjoy giving back to the professional association that has given me so much in terms of education and lifelong connections. I do a lot of social media and content for the LMA Northeast region and use all of the same principles that I use in marketing a law firm to promote our programs and members. The images featured here in the post are just a few of the ones that I created to highlight our activities. The LMANext Fellows is one I created using one of Canva’s pre-existing templates. I just swapped out the colors (it was originally an engagement announcement – ha!), made a few design and font tweaks, uploaded headshots, added captions, a logo and voila! – I have a professional-looking, custom social media image to accompany my social post.

Sometimes the optimum image sizes for the various social platforms will change, so it’s a good idea to do a Google search every few months for the latest specs. Here’s a handy cheat sheet on the latest image sizes to use when posting images from Social Media Today. In short, it’s never been easier to post an image to social media – and armed with these tools, now you have no excuse not to post an image with your social content!

 

I recently heard a very inspiring story about how a client referral came from a conversation that a lawyer had with the cleaning service employee who was assigned to his floor. They had grown somewhat friendly over the course of a year through casual conversations, and it turned out that the janitor’s brother had growing (and very successful) business for which he needed legal representation and he did not know where to look for legal counsel.

The janitor knew that the firm for which he cleaned was a good law firm from his basic Google research and that the people who worked there had steady work (many employees were still there after 6pm when he started his shift) and were nice, especially the lawyer I mentioned above who he would consider his closest contact there, but as far as law firms went, he didn’t know much more other than he liked that lawyer enough to introduce him to his brother.

After having an introductory phone conversation with the brother to learn more about his legal needs (and conducting a good amount of online research into the business and the brother), the lawyer was able to determine that this was something worth pursuing and suggested they have a casual in-person meeting to further discuss things. There were no pitchbooks or lawyer bios handed out, and no suits worn. This was a casual meeting because that reflected the prospective client’s style, which the lawyer was able to glean from his due diligence process. It is tantamount to always make the prospect feel comfortable around you. It is also important to do your homework about them and come prepared to the meeting with talking points about how you can solve their legal issues and be an advisor to them. Going the extra mile at the outset can often help sway them to want to work with you.

The end result was far more than the lawyer could have imagined – the new client needed not only corporate advice, but labor and employment, trusts and estates and real estate counsel. It is likely that the relationship will be expanded down the road to include litigation work as well – and who knows what else may result from this, perhaps additional matters or referrals. Of course not every situation will result in a new matter, but it every now and then it very well may happen if you just take the time to get to know people – all kinds of people.

My point with this story is to remind everyone that every single person you ever meet is someone who is in or will potentially be in a position to be a client or a referral. The person sitting next to you on the train or on the buffet line at a family function or who is cleaning your office could be a potential source of business. Someone else I know acquired a new client by striking up a casual conversation sitting in the bleachers at his son’s Little League game.

So never turn your nose down at anyone. Vow to be less dismissive of others. Never think that it is not worth your time getting to know someone even when to the eye may seem unconventional (like the janitor in this case). You never know to whom they are related or who they know. And always be able to explain what you do in laypeople’s terms (no elevator pitches!) and remember to be genuinely interested in others (meaning listen intently, put your phone away and ask questions versus only talking about yourself).

Also, most of all, be friendly and kind to everyone regardless of how busy you are. Treat each person with whom you come into contact as if they could be a future client/referral. Because you just never know.

How many of you put off doctor’s appointments and other important items on your personal to-do list because you are just “too busy?” I’m certainly guilty of it, more times than I’d like to admit. I have a list of personal to-do items several pages long that I never seem to quite get to because of work commitments and a laundry list of other excuses if I’m being perfectly honest. I often tell myself, “There are just never enough hours in the day,” and while that’s true, it’s not like there’s suddenly going to be a cure for that.

Here’s the thing – everyone is busy, and that’s not going to change. There’s never a good time for anything. So we must make time for the things that are important. Like doctor’s appointments, especially a mammogram and annual checkups, going to our kids’ dance recitals and visiting elderly family members (in this case before it’s too late).

The photo I’m sharing is of me is right before I got my mammogram today. I am breaking one of my own rules about sharing personal photos here, but it’s to demonstrate that when it comes to something like a mammogram (given my family history of breast cancer andthe fact that my mom passed away not too long ago from another cancer, Multiple Myeloma), I don’t mess around when it comes to stuff like this no matter how busy I am.

Life is inconvenient sometimes and everything seems to take more time than you think it will. Just accept it and get on with your day – it will be okay and those around you will understand that you sometimes need to leave early or come in late to go to a doctor’s appointment because guess what? They do too!  Here’s what you do – be a superstar on most days during the week (and in general) so that when you need a little time off for something like this, you’ve built up the trust equity with your company and your boss to be OOO.

Every single one of us regardless of our job title or  industry, can say that we are super busy at any point of the day, but no one is too busy to make time for the things that are really important to them. It’s about balance, and we all need to get better about finding it. That being said, if something has to give, don’t ever procrastinate with anything related to your health. In some cases, early detection through a screening can make all of the difference. Remember that your work will always be there waiting for you to return. Take the time for your health too. Okay that’s the end of my PSA (for today at least)!❤️.

Kindness, trust and empathy are among the characteristics I look for in my professional “wolfpack,” and I am so lucky to have found a group of strong women who support and get me in a very cutthroat world. 

Unfortunately not all women are supportive of each other in the workplace. I think sometimes competition and jealousy brings out “mean girls” behavior in some. I’ve been on the receiving end of this many times in our industry from women young and old – and it is not fun to say the least.

And although I’ve gotten knocked down, I always dust myself off and I’m always okay, because I have learned how to be resilient. A lot of times these women act atrocious because something about you makes them feel bad about themselves that they wish they could do. It is good old-fashioned jealousy rearing its ugly head. Here’s what you do – keep being you, pay them no mind and feel sorry for them instead. 

So on this International Women’s Day, I just wanted to thank all of the women in my life who support me, talk me off my professional ledges and make me a better version of me – you know who you are. Together we can ensure that we will have strong women leaders in our field for generations to come. It has never been more important to stand by other women as it is today. Now find your Wolfpack and howl together.

When creating content and managing your social media channels, it is very important to always remember that there is much more than meets the eye to your analytics and readership data.

In fact, according to Greentarget (which produces my favorite annual study on the content and social media consumption of in-house counsel), nearly 80 percent of in-house counsel use social media (and consume content) in listen-only mode (meaning they aren’t actively liking, sharing or commenting) – while only 27 percent disseminate information and engage with other users. This is what I call “the invisible user trend.”

The lack of public engagement by in-house counsel may cause the number of likes on your pages to be low or for it to seem like no one is engaging with your content or social posts – but they are! Just not publicly.

This is great information for you to have in your back pocket with your lawyers and team members for a rainy day. It’s so important to create great content every single day of the week and not be deterred by engagement levels. There’s so much more going on behind the scenes that helps to paint the full content picture and scope of reach of your content assets. For more on content marketing strategy best practices and tips, see my latest JD Supra article, “15 Content Marketing Strategy Best Practices for Law Firms of All Sizes.”