Making the most of the online community is about being discerning – choosing what aspects of your personality and skillset you want to showcase in the public arena and using the best platforms and tools to help you achieve this. You also need to be willing to interact – it isn’t enough to share the highlights of your plans and daily life with energy and humour. The commitment to engaging with others in chats, groups and feeds will help grow your influence in a sector or micro-network.
By Elena Carruthers. Published 11 August 2021. Last updated 21 August 2023.
LinkedIn can be a professional thought-leader’s paradise. Once you’ve signed-up and connected with a body of professionals and scholars you respect, you have a captive audience for your thoughts, observations, and projects…and an appreciative audience too. Your connections will be present for the purpose of business or self-development within the work-sphere – so give them some food for thought on your feed. Blog, video, audio, and image content can all be used here as well as links to your website, project, or company website. Post about personal or company wins, events/people that inspire you or a reflection on the climate of the field in which you work. Remember to applaud and comment on others’ work too, to pique their interest in your activities and warm them up to message. One message can lead to that all important contact that could change the course of your career. If you are a self-employed lawyer or businessperson, LinkedIn also has a sales platform which subtly allows you to follow leads…but perhaps this is a tool for the future.
Twitter is an excellent place to be if you want to publish your work in the future or appeal to new readers for your content. The reason for this is that academia and the media (certainly in the UK and US) love Twitter. It is the platform of rapid conversation, and if you have bold and clear thinking that others can relate to, you are sure to get noticed by audiences who would be interested to hear more from you. Make sure you define your tone of voice when tweeting as it is easy to be swept-up in a debate and tweet something you end up deleting later. It’s also a great referral platform where you can tease audiences with trailers of interviews/explainers/podcasts
Facebook is now commonly considered a place for older millennials and their parents to keep in touch. However, it also provides a secure space for blossoming communities. The interactive and multimedia options in specific groups and on group pages provide excellent tools for sharing new work, commenting/critiquing that of others and generating a sense of buzz and anticipation around what you are working on.
If you’re a Gen Z, this may be your go-to spot for rallying support from students and colleagues who are a natural fit for your network. Support the content that reflects your own values by like-ing and sharing and your following will grow. It’s advisable to make visual choices that are different from the rest of the image-posts in your network. Choose some different subjects, angles or filters.
There are numerous global professional networking sites that you may never have heard of. These all echo Linkedin in the way they connect you with the profiles of other professionals and groups, although some allow you to narrow the field, specifying your areas of interest and expertise. They include: Xing, Bark and Opportunity. If you would like to blend your personal networking with seeking contacts and leads, social favourite, ‘Meet-Up,’ allows you to join all manner of networking events that are tailored to sectors, locales, and communities.
Building your l brand in the professional cyber-sphere is a learning-curve that can reveal your strengths, aims and prospects. Remember – less is more when thinking about quality – it is better to share some high-quality images and words a few times a week rather than scattergun lots of less engaging content across channels, throughout the day. Regardless, enjoy watching your community grow and creating an evolving strategy for your online presence.
To learn more about how you can start your legal journey online, visit our Online Campus page.