Mitch Joel (@mitchjoel) writes in his new book, Ctrl Alt Delete, that the most effective way to connect with people online so as to build a reputation is to imagine the person you’re connecting with is standing right there in front of you.
If the person were standing there — right in your face — would you…
- Cover your face? Imagine speaking with someone, but they kept their identity unknown. How awkward would that be? Post a real, and current, picture of yourself on social networks.
- Use a fake name? How can you build trust with someone using a nickname or the company they work for? Imagine asking someone, “What’s your name?” and their response is, “My law firm is Smith Peabody.”
- Give your business card to everyone? Do you like the person who is passing out their business card to everyone at an event? It’s not so important to connect with everyone, it’s more important to connect with the right people by taking the time to engage them — and really get to know them.
- Be so pushy? Standing face to face would you try to sell something to a person you just met. I run across blogs where lawyers and services providers have a call to action at the bottom of blog posts to contact them for legal services or register to attend an event.
- Ask them to do something for you without really knowing them? Could you imagine someone you just met at cocktail party asking you for a reference? I regularly receive requests for recommendations from lawyers for whom I don’t know their capabilities.
Social media works for lawyers because its all about relationships and building a reputation. Common sense and etiquette is required though. You can’t be a jerk.
For lawyers and law firms unsure of proper protocol for establishing a reputation via the net just imagine the person you’re looking to connect with is standing right there in front of you.