What is personal branding?
There are many different definitions of personal branding, some outdated, some too niche and some that don’t really explain it at all. So, instead, we thought we’d ask our marketing team; here’s what they had to say:
“Your personal brand is the image you show and the perception of you as an individual. With personal branding, it really is about showcasing what is important to you both professionally and personally to set you apart from the rest and to allow people to understand who you are.
Personal branding is the process of establishing your personal brand. First, you need to ask yourself what your personal brand is and then think about how can you showcase this as much as possible.”
Why is personal branding important for lawyers?
Like networking, marketing has always been important for lawyers and law firms. This is because, when they reach a certain point in their career, there is a need for lawyers to secure both new business and repeat business for their firm, (just like in any other business!)
Personal branding allows a lawyer to stand out from the competition, build new connections, gain respect, recognition and trust, increase earning potential and attract more career opportunities.
LinkedIn – “The World’s Largest Professional Network.”
In the past, billboards, magazine adverts and nice business cards at a networking event used to do the trick and whilst they still have their merit there is a huge window of opportunity for lawyers online to use their personal brand to connect with clients and prospective clients.
LinkedIn has been a game-changer for many lawyers and this is because it provides a window into the life of the lawyer for the client. It gives the client assurance and trust in the capability of said lawyer. With the pandemic, developments in technology and more and more people being comfortable online, personal branding has become an increasingly effective form of marketing for lawyers to build and foster a community and showcase their knowledge and expertise. LinkedIn is the perfect platform for lawyers to promote their personal brands.
The challenge of using social media for lawyers
Whilst you will be using social media to promote your own personal brand, it’s important to keep things professional. For lawyers, you must remember what your job is and this includes a lot of client care and discretion and looking after the interests of the law firm and clients you work with. Your firm may also have rules or guidelines about what you can and can’t post, so it’s worth checking and being mindful of its social media policy. Be careful not to give away too many details about things that aren’t appropriate to be seen by everyone online. If you are worried that what you are going to say might upset someone, seek their permission first, then you don’t have to worry!
How to create a strong personal brand
First, you need to clean up your online presence, understand what is out there, and see if what you’ve communicated online in the past contradicts your current personal brand. To learn more about this, read our previous blog on cleaning up your online presence
Come up with the strategy
There are many different strategies you can come up with but the main thing to keep in mind is to remain you. It’s a PERSONAL brand for a reason.
One way to go about your personal brand is by figuring out your values and putting them into content pillars. Content pillars are key things about you that align with your personal and professional values. By seeing what you value you can refer back to help come up with ideas on how to post about them.
For example, your personal values could include mental health, learning, adventure, family time and walking. Then your professional values could include: ambition, client care, success and wellbeing.
Then using these lists you can create meaningful LinkedIn posts about things that you genuinely care about that can add value to the people you’re trying to capture the attention of, perhaps a client or a prospective employer.
A good way to categorise your posts that align with your values is to put them into 4 main buckets:
- Inspirational e.g. Throwbacks, motivational stories about cases or law school
- Insightful e.g. Industry news, interesting cases in the news or personally
- Yourself e.g. On your way to work or going for a walk or going on holiday
- Enraging Content e.g. content you feel very passionate about either that you disagree or agree with for example Law firms engaging with more charities is something to feel passionate about.
The key to personal branding is authenticity – don’t try to be someone you’re not but someone you are proud to be.
Don’t be afraid to change tack – as mentioned before, this is a process and nobody gets everything right, especially when starting. Your personal branding strategy will be a guide and a rough plan, but it’s useless if you’re not willing to adapt it. The perfect thing with social media is you will be able to see from the data (how many likes/comments/shares you get) to see what works and what doesn’t so make sure to learn from your previous posts.
Next, you’ve got to execute
Executing your personal brand is a journey and one that requires work. Consistency is key in order to stay at the forefront of your followers’ minds but be careful not to overindulge. Just as not posting often can lead people to forget, posting too much can lessen the impact of your posts.
The LinkedIn algorithm focuses on two main things, recency of post and engagement levels. If your followers aren’t engaging with your content LinkedIn, isn’t going to show it to many people. That is why you want to make sure you focus on quality over quantity.
Top tips for personal branding
Seize the moment – Maintaining your personal brand online isn’t for everyone but it’s important you take advantage of any moments of inspiration or blocks of time You have. Try pushing yourself and making three posts at once or a plan for the week ahead, this will then make it much easier for the times you know you should post but can’t and/or don’t want to think of anything to post.
Voice notes – Try to record your thoughts for a post and say it exactly how you want the post to sound. Often when we write, we are much more formal than how we would talk, however often when we read, we read in a conversational tone. Authenticity is key and writing how you would speak is going to really reflect that. Remember: you’re not writing a letter to the Queen; you are writing a post for social media.
Your service is the product – Law is a service-based business and the best way to differentiate yourself is to market yourself. There are hundreds of cola recipes but there always seems to be one winner and that’s the case through the power of marketing.
“If people like you, they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you” Zig Ziglar
Practice makes perfect
If one post doesn’t go down well or a month down the line, you haven’t had much success, persevere! Not only do your efforts pay off massively in the long term, it’s not just about attracting new clients – as mentioned before, there are many other benefits to personal branding. For instance, your personal brand might lead to you being considered for a new might career opportunity, so if you’re not clearly seeing the benefit, don’t fret – you never know who is watching and when something big could be waiting around the corner.