I want to use my platform to draw attention to what happened to George Floyd and many others, including Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Sean Reed who have been in his position and the protests going on around the world.

We can do better, we MUST do better. We’ve been having these conversations about police brutality for too long and it must stop.

The proceeds of my next few webinars will go to support the Minnesota Freedom Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to ending mass incarceration while investing restorative justice and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which supports racial justice through advocacy, litigation and education.

I encourage you to join me and give to these organizations. You can donate directly to them here:

And here is the link to my next webinar on how to use visuals and hashtags to enhance your social media and content efforts on June 19 at 1pm. Your registration fee will go to support the Minnesota Freedom Fund and the NAACP.

LinkedIn tip of the day: INCREASE YOUR CONNECTIONS

Now is an excellent time to build your connections, as we will be relying on online networking for the foreseeable future.

Be sure to connect with everyone at your most recent company, past companies, past vendors and clients, and anyone else you’ve worked with in the professional realm.

The more connections you have in common with a person, the higher you’ll come up in their searches—so keep building your network, especially within your own industry.

To be successful at LinkedIn, you must send connection request an actively build your network in addition to excepting requests. Don’t just sit back and wait to receive connections, take the initiative to reach out to people. Especially right now. This is a great time to get in touch with former colleagues and classmates.

It’s always good to send a message when you send a connection request, but it’s not a requirement in my opinion anymore. Especially if you’re on your mobile phone. Individuals are used to getting requests without a personalized note. Just make sure that you know the person you are requesting. If you send too many requests on LinkedIn to people who you don’t know, you can get penalized by LinkedIn and you won’t be able to send any additional requests for a certain period of time.

Remember, the goal is to have a robust professional network on LinkedIn with more than 500 connections, but always think quality over quantity.

I recently became an aunt again, in fact two times in two weeks. My brother and sister-in-law had a baby boy, and my best friend had a baby girl. These were the bright spots in a really rough few months because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

I love being an aunt, my first niece was born 19 months ago. I’ve been an honorary aunt many times, and I’ve watched my friends’ kids turn into amazing little people. I feel so lucky that I get to do this again.

A cool aunt delivers the fun, and she’s also the best cheerleader. Of course, I am often tasked with babysitting but for the most part, my job is to spoil the heck out of my favorite little kids. From park outings, museum visits, cheering from the sidelines at their soccer games and eating the best ice cream sundaes, these are the memories that will last a lifetime.

Being the cool aunt requires me to tap back into my childhood and just be silly. An aunt does things like read bedtime stories, play dress-up, host tea parties and spends summer afternoons swinging at the park with your nieces and nephews. Doing these activities helps you feel like a kid again.

The best thing in the world is getting a hug from nieces and nephews. Having kids in the family has brought my entire family closer together. They’ve taught us to remember just how amazing some things are. The holidays are so much more fun. (And this is coming from Mrs. Griswold herself, the queen of Christmas.)

While I don’t have any children of my own yet,  being an aunt is the next best thing. Being an aunt gives me the opportunity to practice for when I have kids of my own.

But for now, it’s comforting to know that at the end of the day, when it all gets a bit too much, I can hand them back to their parents.

 

 

Please join us for the next Women Who Wow virtual get-together featuring Kerrie Mohr, founder and director at A Good Place Therapy. We will focus on finding coping strategies during this uncertain times and anything else you want to discuss.

Kerrie has focused her career on seeking out solutions to individual, family and community problems through clinical work, advocacy, policy reform, community organizing, managing teams and building nonprofit social service programs.

It’s free to attend. Register here.

Please join me for a FREE virtual program on Thursday, June 4 at 1pm ET.

Online networking, social media and content marketing is crucial to market your firm and yourself in this climate.

The program will cover how to use social media for brand building, client retention and lead generation and will provide actionable tools to enhance your presence on the social media networks and utilize LinkedIn as a business development and thought leadership platform, especially now.

In a post-COVID-19 world, knowing HOW to use LinkedIn is more important than ever.

I will cover what kinds of content to write and post (and what not to post) now and how to market yourself and your firm in an appropriate way.

Specific areas to be covered will include:

– What to post and when

– How to build a strong LinkedIn profile and company page

– How to reuse and repurpose your content

– How to create content that resonates with clients and prospects

– How to grow your LinkedIn connections

– How to effectively network online

Anyone can join – consultants, in-house marketers of any level or lawyers.

https://bit.ly/3eyVlj4

It’s a challenging time for everyone in terms of generating new business.

Some clients are reluctant to engage with outside counsel and certain matters have been put on hold with the world being in such flux.

If you are a senior associate or junior partner who has lost momentum on building your book of business and/or brand due to the pandemic or you’re just starting to think about doing so, I have a few ideas for things you can do now to lay the groundwork to put yourself in a strong position in the future when it comes to lead generation.

Here are some ideas for how senior associates and junior partners can bring in business and build their brands:

  1. Develop a business development strategy. This is an important first step. A strategy based on a vision of the various components that you believe will lead to success and the individuals that will be “buyers” or connectors to “buyers” is essential. Without a clear strategy, and that includes an industry focus for most practice areas, your efforts will be scattered and inefficient. Start small and list out actionable goals and the steps you’ll need to take to accomplish them.
  2. Find internal and external champions. Having advocates and wise counsel of whom you can ask advice is very important for your career development. You can learn a lot from those who have walked in your shoes. Ask a trusted mentor or senior partner to recount what worked for them in marketing and rely on them as a sounding board.
  3. Use LinkedIn to develop relationships. LinkedIn is the most important social media network for professionals. Especially now. Use it often, and use it wisely. Reconnect with individuals with whom you haven’t spoken such as former colleagues from law school and former firms. Be active on LinkedIn by sharing posts and reacting to the posts of others in your network.
  4. Check in with individuals in your network. Right now, nothing is business as usual. The personal touch of reaching out to someone and asking them how they are doing will go a long way in terms of bolstering relationships. Your clients have a lot of choices when it comes to outside counsel. They often choose their lawyers based on likability, responsiveness and skills. The best thing you can do right now is to show your clients how much you care about them.
  5. Every interaction with a client or prospect is an opportunity to impress and build trust. Remember that you are always being evaluated so put your best foot forward, intently listen and think carefully about what you say and do.
  6. Set up an informal referral network. Choose a key group of contacts where there is mutual benefit. You can get together virtually, brainstorm ideas and share information about your practices. This is especially effective if you are a specialist in a certain area or if you work at a niche firm.
  7. Ask for help inside or outside of your firm to develop a cohesive plan based on the realities of the existing legal marketplace. Think about the various ways that business development will assist you to achieve your personal goals: income, impact, ideal way of practicing, independence, invulnerability, indulgence, etc. Keep whichever of these elements are important to you top of mind, they are your motivators and why you do this work.
  8. Offer to write client alerts and blog posts. One of the most effective ways to build your brand and become known as a subject matter expert is to become a published author. Offer to help out a busy partner on an alert and raise your hand to write for a firm blog. This will also help your search engine results, as content that is educational will move you up on Google and other major search platforms.
  9. Make the time for business development. In order to truly be successful at business development you must make time for it. It’s an investment in yourself. You will see great results if you commit to what you say you will do each month. Today, most established lawyers have to do some sort of business development and marketing in order to stay top of mind with their current clients, referrals and prospects. This is especially the case if you are trying to build your own client base and step outside the shadow of the senior lawyers with whom you work. Business development is an investment in your future. And it doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time. Effective business development efforts can be done in just five to ten minutes each day when you are organized.
  10. Create a strong biography and LinkedIn summary. Ensure that your profile is optimized and reflects what you currently do. Use keywords to describe what you do to enhance your search results. Look to competitors and peers for content inspiration.
  11. Get involved in a bar association, industry committee, alumni network or pro bono group. Raising your hand for a volunteer role will enable you to meet other people in the industry and acquire leadership skills, all of which are important along your professional journey.

Finally, there is no one way of successfully becoming a rainmaker, only your way. It’s never too early to start thinking about building your network, brand and business. You don’t have to sell, ask, schmooze, push, pressure anyone ever. I don’t believe in the elevator pitch. You DO need to develop relationships and be likable, and that can happen in many ways that fits your style, comfort zone, personality, values or goals. Remember that anyone who you meet can be a potential client, referral source or future employee/employer.

LinkedIn 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. It has never been more important to build relationships online. The pandemic has under scored the importance of having a strong online professional brand. It is never too late or early to start using LinkedIn.

Most people take the time to create a LinkedIn profile but they miss the mark when it comes to how they interact with their connections and actively cultivate their network. Your success on LinkedIn hinges on your ability to be top of mind, relevant and helpful with a robust network.

Not only is LinkedIn mostly free and easy to use, but it regularly leads to new business and referrals for many business professionals.

LinkedIn also gives you a treasure trove of valuable competitive intelligence, which can help you gain an advantage over your competitors and help you to better understand your clients’ needs (you should follow the LinkedIn company pages of your peers as well as your clients and prospects – information is power).

Here are some quick and easy examples of actions you can take on the platform to strengthen relationships:

  • Did someone you know just land a new job? Spend a few minutes sending them a quick congratulatory note. I have seen this type of interaction serve as the catalyst to reengaging a relationship, leading to a new client engagement.
  • Are you attending or speaking at an industry event? Tell your network about it by posting a LinkedIn status update. The benefit of this is threefold – you can establish yourself as a subject-matter expert and also potentially find people with whom you can connect at the event. You can also reignite relationships similar to the above bullet, staying top of mind with your network.
  • Did you or a colleague write an article that would be valuable to your network? Yes, your marketing team will post it to your firm’s web site and social media channels, but you should go the extra mile and tap into your own valuable social network by sharing it from your LinkedIn profile. Otherwise, you are missing out on reaching a prime target audience.

None of the activities that I suggested above are very time consuming but can yield great results in generating new business leads and enhancing your professional brand. LinkedIn easily enables you to keep your network “warm” and stay top of mind with key connections right from your desk or mobile device.

Today, networking online is just as important as making in-person connections especially today. And LinkedIn continues to be the most important social media channel for business development. Don’t forget that your LinkedIn profile is often the first or second Google search result when someone searches for you online.

While in-person interactions will always be vital to maintaining relationships, in the current environment we can’t meet up in person. LinkedIn makes it easier and more efficient than ever to nurture relationships.

That being said, when you engage online, you must do two things – make your professional network feel good and offer valuable content that showcases your expertise on a consistent basis.

These light touches will help to keep you top of mind with your contacts. They often lead to new business, or at the very least, can help you elevate your brand to be seen as a subject-matter expert.

Here’s how to use LinkedIn to your business development and branding advantage.

1. Get the Basics Down First

You can’t effectively use LinkedIn’s advanced features if you don’t have a strong profile. Spend the time to develop a profile that highlights your professional attributes, successes and background, while letting your uniqueness shine through. This should not be a regurgitation of your web site bio or resume. In fact, Linkedin is sneaky and has character limits, so it won’t even allow you to do that. Here are some profile basics to ensure yours is optimized:

  • Create a dynamic LinkedIn headline with descriptive keywords (Note: This is THE most important line of your profile because it gets pulled into Google).
  • Craft a dynamic LinkedIn summary. I could write an entire article on best practices for this (come to think of it – stay tuned for that!). But for now, I would just say describe who you are, what you do and notable accomplishments and don’t make it too formal in tone (never use surnames such as Mr. or Ms. – you’d be surprised how many lawyer bios at major firms still include those titles!). Include relevant keywords in the summary section to assist with searchability. Think about what truly differentiates you. The summary should be written in a professional tone but not as formal as your web bio. Note – there is a word limit of 300 characters. Tip: Write your summary in a tone you would use to address someone over coffee.
  • Add a profile photo – profiles with photos are 14x(!) more likely to be viewed. Ensure that the photo is the correct size and that it is a professional headshot. (It amazes me that there is still an abundance of casual, inappropriate and incorrectly sized photos being used as profile photos on LinkedIn, which is a huge misstep on this social platform). There is no excuse to not have a professional photo today!
  • Make sure that your contact information is included front and center in your profile – what’s the point of having a profile if no one can find you? If you make it difficult for someone to get in touch with you, they won’t. Many people make this mistake.
  • Create a custom friendly LinkedIn URL. Otherwise, you’ll have a bunch of numbers, letters and odd characters next to your name. A shortened, custom LinkedIn URL is much cleaner and web savvy.

2. Use Information to Your Advantage

LinkedIn provides great excuses to reach out to those in your network through its notifications section.

Log in during during down time and check out what people in your network are posting, who has switched jobs, who is celebrating a work anniversary, who is speaking at an event, or has written a blog post or article.

Then use these professional milestones to reach out to those individuals who you’ve been meaning to contact – this is powerful information, don’t let it go to waste. I have seen these notifications serve as the catalyst to reigniting a relationship and leading to a new client engagement multiple times. They can serve as the “hook” you need to get your foot back in the door with someone important.

3. Add Value to Your Network

Make a note to regularly follow up with important contacts by sending them value-added content with a personal note. Perhaps it’s an article, blog post or industry study that you saw – or better yet – wrote yourself.

Take this one step further and keep a content feed – for me, this is a spreadsheet of articles, studies and infographics from publications and other sources that I follow. I regularly post this content to LinkedIn (and Twitter) to stay top of mind.

Sharing information of worth to your network will position you as a thought leader and can lead to business and referrals.

4. Make it Personal

Send quick messages to people who have recently connected with you. Easily build your network through LinkedIn’s helpful “People You May Know” feature (the more you use it, the better the people suggestions will be).

Also, send a personalized note with every connection request – it doesn’t have to be long, but something short that references how and when you met and why you wanted to connect with them works well.

Tip: it is not easy to personalize connection requests when sending them from your mobile device – it’s more of a quick click and send from there, so send  VIP connection requests from your desktop if you want to craft a personal note.

5. Sharing Is Caring

You can easily share an update from your LinkedIn home page. All you need to do is copy the link to an article and hit “Share.” What types of content should you share? Articles that are helpful to your practice; articles written by other attorneys in your firm; general business or economics articles that you like or that made you think. If you find it interesting, most likely your contacts will, too. But keep in mind to not overshare, especially about yourself.

I make an effort to post content about others in my network (and tag them in the posts). You can build stronger relationships by giving these “LinkedIn shout outs” and endorsements. It doesn’t take a lot of time to share an article written by someone in your network or to congratulate a VIP contact on an honor. Make an effort and stick to it. If you have trouble remembering to do this, create a social media editorial calendar, which has greatly helped me curate posts.

Taking the time to like, comment or share on important connections’ posts helps to build relationships and keeps you top of mind within your network.

6. Compliment Someone

Always remember that compliments are a great way to build stronger relationships with people in your professional network. Be genuine with your praise – perhaps you enjoyed their article, blog post, webinar, podcast, etc. – reference something specific from that touchpoint when you reach out to them. This is also a great way to introduce yourself and connect with someone you don’t know. No one dislikes a compliment ever.

7. Information is Power

Everyone Googles everyone, period. With so much information on the internet, why not use LinkedIn to help with your competitive intelligence efforts?

For example, follow the LinkedIn accounts of your top competitor firms. Link in with your competitors as well so that you can gain access to seeing not only what they are up to and how they brand themselves, but most importantly, the individuals in their professional networks. This will give you a treasure trove of valuable information on who may be their clients and referral sources.

Also, LinkedIn has some cool tools, such as “People Also Viewed,” which can tell you a lot about the LinkedIn profiles that the viewers of your profile also looked at. It can be interesting to see who is your “competition.” Note – you can turn this feature off if you don’t want to be included in it.

8. Channel Your Inner Bob Ross

Visual content greatly outperforms posts with just text on every social media platform. So take photos at events, use canva.com to create free custom graphics, use Picstitch and repurpose headshots.

Take a look at this article I published on “17 Low Cost (or Free!) Social Media MarTech Tools to Try For Your Law Firm Today” that may help to inspire you and the best part? They’re all either free or cheap.

9. Actively Cultivate Your Network

While quality is always better than quantity, most people could greatly increase the number of connections they have on LinkedIn. Here are some ideas on how to create a strategic connections plan to find contacts and maximize your network:

  • Follow your former firms/companies, alumni groups and trade associations.
  • Search for contacts through their companies.
  • Review your connections’ connections – who do they know who you know?
  • Utilize the “People You May Know” feature. The more you use it, the more targeted the suggestions will be. (Note: This is a great tool to browse while on your commute – it can really make the time pass!)
  • Reconcile your LinkedIn contacts with your Outlook address book and CRM system. The point of this bullet is that most people today just don’t always send an email to let you know that they are leaving their job along with their new contact information/vCard. Today, they usually update the information on LinkedIn, so it’s up to you to do the due diligence to find out where they landed and then most importantly, to update their contact information in your CRM system to ensure that they still receive client alerts/invites, etc. (What’s the point of having all of these great professional contacts if they aren’t getting your updates? At the very least, make sure to share them on LinkedIn.)
  • Beware of LinkedIn’s mass “Import Your Contacts” feature. Never click on any of the prompts on LinkedIn where it asks you to upload your address book or send a LinkedIn invite to your contacts. You can wind up inviting every single person in your address from the history of time. Like your gardener. Your grandma. Your high school boyfriend. Only do this if you really want to be in touch with these people and field their confused questions about why you’re suddenly adding them to your professional network.

Putting it All Together

In-house counsel regularly hire outside counsel whom they know and trust, and so nurturing relationships is vital to your business development success. This is why social networks like LinkedIn are so powerful – they can help you reinforce relationships and build on them.

LinkedIn is primarily a free tool (the free version will usually meet most of the average business person’s needs unless you are job searching or doing a lot of prospecting), so use it smartly by sharing content that your firm produces, or better yet, content that you wrote and use it often (especially when your target audiences are using it). Connect and engage with former colleagues and classmates. Download the LinkedIn app if you haven’t yet.

I have never seen LinkedIn directly lead to new business more than I have in the last couple of years.

While I can’t promise you that LinkedIn will bring you scores of new clients, I can promise you that spending the time and effort in building a strong profile, learning all you can about its features and regularly using it to network and share information is a wise investment in your brand and your future.

Continue Reading How to Use LinkedIn to Build a Stronger Professional Network

I wanted to demonstrate one of the iPhone’s super cool tools that many people aren’t using on social media but should be.

It’s the screen recording feature. It enables you to record a webpage, and scroll through it like I have below. This is a great way to highlight a client alert, a blog post or a page on your website and incorporate a compelling visual that skims through your article.

Before you can begin using the new screen recorder tool, you’ll first need to add the feature’s button to Control Center. On your iOS device go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls then tap the green plus button next to Screen Recording.

After adding the shortcut, you begin by opening Control Center. On iPhones older than the X, get there by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. On newer iPhones, swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen.

Then tap the Screen Recording button, which will prompt a countdown followed by it turning red to indicate to begin capturing what is on your screen. Once you stop recording, you can save the video to the Photos app. Then edit and share the video.

Here’s a look at how it works by showcasing my JD Supra articles.

Note: you can also do this on an android, I am not as familiar with a droid device but I found this helpful article on how to do it.

It’s never been more important to have a strong online presence than it is today.

Social media offers a powerful platform to strategically and authentically present yourself, your capabilities, your interests and more. It also enables you to build your network, which is crucial for brand building and lead generation, especially right now.

Perhaps you’re already on social networks, but feel they aren’t working for you.

Or perhaps you’ve avoided social media because you’re not sure of the benefit or how to go about it.

This is where I can help.

I’ll work with you to create a customized social media strategy that aligns with your professional goals.

I’ll train you on the merits of each social network and how to use them strategically. I will also help you build your profile, content strategy and connections to turn online interactions to offline meetings.

I offer a variety of training formats: one-on-one coaching (virtually or in-person), small group training and workshops for large groups. My clients include professionals at all experience levels and career stages.

  • Job-Seekers: Between roles and want to position yourself as an expert to increase opportunities? I can help you strengthen your personal brand and convey it through LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and other social networks.
  • Executives: My tailored approach draws on an individual’s expertise, reputation and aspirations, plus the company’s visibility and goals, to engage with clients, prospects and other target audiences. I can train you on how to use social media yourself, or manage your social media presence for you and/or your company page. My clients include C-level executives at private and public companies, and business leaders across industries.

Reach out to me at stefanie@stefaniemarroneconsulting.com to learn more.