Estelle Metayer (@Competia), a leadership and strategic consultant has a nice piece in Sunday’s Globe and Mail challenging executives and professionals to make having a social media presence your goal for the coming year.

She asks why not commit to launching yourself into the social media world?

I’m referring to going beyond having your own website to begin participating in the world of social media platforms. Statistics confirm that having a strong social media presence – whether it’s on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or any combination of these – can boost your career, help you land a new job, or build up your reputation.

Prospective clients are Googling you when they get your name by word of mouth or referral.

Some lawyers have profiles limited to website profiles and an incomplete LinkedIn bio. Other lawyers have a history of activity, created through social media, showcasing their expertise and passion for their area of the law. They have a growing network of connections from whom they learn, get cited, and land referrals.

Metayer, an adjunct professor in McGill University’s leadership business program, shares five steps to realize your resolution. Here are her five with some liberal annotating by me as to how they could apply to you, as a lawyer.

Check the current status of your personal profile. Google your name. See what, if anything, people have said about you and your expertise. Look across each of the social networking sites to see what people would find on you – Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. I’m not a big believer in Klout, which measures ones social media influence, but checking it out can give you an idea of where you stand compared to lawyers who have established an online presence.

Claim your profiles and make them consistent. 2015 is the time to protect your name and reputation by registering on all social networks – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ Slideshare, Instagram, and Pinterest. You need not use all social networks, but you ought to be registering them in your name.

Be consistent with your profile across each of the social networks. Include the same professional photo. Describe how you serve consumers or businesses as a lawyer. List presentations, publications, and recognition you have received.

Be strategic – what do you want your social capital to be about? What do you want to be known for? In which area do you want to be a “got to” lawyer? How you can contribute to online engagement among leading lawyers, bloggers, reporters and others in your target audience? Be prepared to show your human and personal side. Many lawyers get known for those things that are important to them outside the law. They build relationships as a result, it’s the same online.

Be consistently active on your social media sites. You needn’t be active everyday on the social networks you choose to use. However, many lawyers choose to share and post on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook a few times a week, if not daily. Posting once or twice and then going dark for a month shouts lack of commitment to being a good lawyer. You’ll need to learn how to use a news aggregator and social sharing tools to use social media in a time effective manner.

Become a regular, either listening or participating. Give social media time. Like most lawyers, you’ll think you will never understand social media. By watching other lawyers and picking up what they do, you’ll find that you want to comment and share.

I am with Metayer. Make 2015 the year to get known online via social media. Doing so will provide dividends that’ll last a lifetime as a lawyer. You’ll grow professionally and personally through connections you’d have never met. You’ll grow a reputation as a trusted and reliable authority in your of the law and/or locale.

Put creating an online presence by learning how to use social media near the top of your resolutions for 2015.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Ed Donahue