The summer is a great time to reconnect with your network and focus on your business development and branding efforts. Here are some ideas on how you can do it using online networking techniques despite the breakdown in personal interactions due to the pandemic:
- Make it a weekly practice to connect with VIP contacts – mentors, former professors, former colleagues – anyone who you think can be a valuable connection or a referral source. Remember that everyone you know could be a potential source of business or a new position someday. Continue to invest in and cultivate those relationships.
- Volunteer on a bar association committee, for a social cause or a pro bono project – this is a great way to meet others, even if it’s virtually for the time being.
- Consider teaching CLE seminars or a course. Adjunct professor work is a great way to connect with people who can be future referrals or colleagues.
- Become involved with your alumni associations – make sure you join the online alumni groups of your former educational institutions and employers – they often have robust online presences. It it totally acceptable to reconnect with someone with whom you haven’t been in touch in many years in today’s environment. I find people are more receptive to cultivating relationships in this time of social distancing.
- Find ways to help your contacts. Always give without expecting anything in return. This is key for building strong relationships.
- Every day, like and/or share others’ posts in your industry and at your firm. Strategically congratulate successes of others.
- Write content that you can then also share on social media. This will help you build your personal brand and stay top of mind with network.
- Make a connections plan for LinkedIn and strategically increase your network each month.
- Ensure the contact information in your address book is updated so that the great content you are creating is actually reaching your intended audience. Make sure to reconcile your LinkedIn address book with your email address book. You can export your LinkedIn Contacts into Excel, but depending on the user’s privacy settings, their email address may or may not make its way into the spreadsheet and you still need to abide by CAN-SPAM and GDPR rules.
- Write a client alert, a blog post, an article or all of these! If you hate writing, buddy up with a colleague and co-author a piece together. Remember, content no longer needs to be long to be good. Most individuals skim articles
- Learn how to use hashtags if you don’t already know how to – and if you don’t know what a hashtag is, well, then we really do need to talk.
- Update your bio. Make sure that your bio accurately reflect what you do and for whom – use buzzwords throughout the body copy to help you with your search engine results. While you’re at it, use this bio as a basis for updating your LinkedIn About section (formerly known as the Summary section) but remember that your LinkedIn bio should be written in the first person.
- Ensure that all practice area and industry descriptions reflect current market conditions and what you can do for clients. Again, this will help with SEO as well as let clients know that you can help them in a tumultuous time. If you don’t say you do it, they may not think you do.
- Go back and look at the analytics of last year’s blog posts and client alerts to see which ones did well and which did not. Look for trends and use this information to inform your future content strategy. Perhaps write a part 2 or update a piece that did well.
Make the time for business development and marketing – consider this an investment in yourself. There is no time like the present to develop these skills, and it’s never too late or too early to market yourself and your unique skill set. Remember, that marketing is not selling yourself or creating an elevator pitch – it’s about being helpful, showcasing your expertise, being client-focused and being someone your clients want to work with.