Social Media: Timing is Everything
A few weeks ago, I explained that one of the best pieces of advice that I’ve ever received was to start a law blog. And, that was absolutely true. That was the perfect piece of advice–for me, at that particular time, and given my intended career path.
Blogging was in its infancy and the legal blogging community was a relatively small, close knit group. It was easy to establish rapport with legal bloggers and inbound links from other blogs were easy to come by. Because there weren’t a ton of legal bloggers, competition for readers wasn’t nearly as fierce as it is today and, as long as you blogged regularly and created interesting content, it wasn’t all that difficult to make a name for yourself.
Back in the day, blogging was well worth the effort. My how times have changed. The benefits of blogging are much harder to attain these days. Everyone else is doing it and, as a result, it’s much more difficult to stand out from the crowd. Legitimate inbound links are much less frequent, in part because the conversations have moved. It used to be that discussion occurred either: 1) between different bloggers in blog posts on their respective blogs, or 2) in the comments sections of your blog. Now, unless your blog happens to be one of the well-established, high traffic blogs, much of the conversation about blog posts, if there even is any, occurs on social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and now, Google Plus, the newest entrant into the social media landscape.
Blogging today is a very different beast than what it was back in 2005 when I was advised to start a blog. Back then, it was great advice and it worked for me, in large part because I hopped onto the blogging train when it was just leaving the station. Of course, my passion for writing and my knowledge of the subject matters that I blogged about helped, but the biggest key to my success was that it was a new online tool, ripe for the picking.
The same could be said for my success on Twitter. I joined Twitter in March of 2008 and was part of the first wave of lawyers to join Twitter. As with blogging, my foray into a new online platform at a very early stage of the game made all the difference. I was able to establish a presence and make a name for myself before Twitter became saturated with lawyers.
Again, as was the case with blogging, of course I share content that interests people–otherwise I would have no followers on Twitter, just as I would have no readers on my respective blogs if I wasn’t providing useful information. But, the timing of my entrance into each online community made all the difference.
It is for that reason that lawyers considering using social media to forward their goals would be wise to consider investing their time spent engaging in social media on an emerging platform rather than mindlessly following the herd to already well-traveled sites.
In my opinion, Google Plus, which was launched at the end of June 2011, is the place to be right now. Joining it in its early phases will allow you to uniquely position yourself to take advantage of this emerging platform. Kevin O’Keefe offers a great explanation of why that is the case in this recent post. And, you can find my initial impressions regarding Google Plus here.
Now, please realize, I’m not suggesting that you forgo blogging or using other social media platforms. I’m simply suggesting that you choose your platforms and tools wisely and am strongly urging that Google Plus be included in your arsenal. Based on my experience, it will likely pay off in the long run.