So you have only started setting up your profile… and now all these questions bubble up: What photo should you use (if any at all!)? How about contact details? How do you present yourself in a way that not only benefits you, but protects you as well?
If you have already set up your profile and have tips and advice to share, please feel free to add to this post using the ‘comments’ below.
The General rule….is that there aren’t any rules, as long as you follow 3 simple guidelines:
a) Build Trust
b) Establish Credibility
c) Don’t put anything that could make you feel awkward with anyone at any point in future
Think about how you would present yourself in ‘real life’ to whomever you are trying to communicate with. Regardless of professional or personal, you would probably want to make the other person interested and comfortable speaking with you. Well, the same rules apply for the online world. This is your calling card into the legal community – you want to use it to make connections and new business, not turn them off.
So what are key ingredients of a good, solid online profile?
Are you real? First thing’s first. People want to know you are real and that this is not just a test, empty profile. They want to know they are not talking to someone who isn’t there, right? That could be pretty awkward… that’s fundamental to building Trust. Just like you would like to know who is the person behind a profile, if they are real or not, make sure to give that assurance to those looking at your profile: add a photo, put your name and give some detail as to who you are. How much? Well that’s what the following item (‘it’s all about details’) is about
Watch out from… inappropriate photos. Your profile pic doesn’t have to be taken at a professional studio with each hair in the right place and lighting in a 45 degrees angles. A ‘home-made’ one can be just as good. But maybe not the one at the pub, during Halloween, when you were wearing that Star Trek suit.
It’s all in the details – the more you give, the more you get!
Make it easy for prospective clients, former colleagues, etc. to know who you are and contact you. Social networks are meant to help you with connections, so the more information you put in, the more Trust you will gain from other members, and the more suggested connections will be offered to you by the network.
Watch out from… revealing too much on the wrong site/with wrong settings. Which brings me to the next point…
Set your communication and privacy settings
One of the most important places to visit on a site is the Privacy Settings area to allow you to control which bits of your profile are seen by whom.
A tip for Facebook users….
A very common question I hear frequently is about Facebook where one might share both professional and social connections, and doesn’t always want that picture where you are making a fool of yourself with friends, to be shared with your potential/current clients and office partners, direct manager and colleagues. Using Facebook’s profile privacy settings (if you are on Facebook, look at top Navigation, just a little to the right where it says: “setting”, when you click on it, it opens a dropdown with 3 options – click on ‘privacy settings’. This page gives you enough control to be visible to only who you choose to be visible to, and to make sure you control which of your ‘friends’ sees what content. viva la flexibility!
Keep your profile up-to-date
Just like you won’t present yourself as a student 5 years after graduation and well into your office career, make sure your profile reflects who you are today, not who you were.
Your online profile is your online resume. Be detailed, be accurate, provide information/links where needed.
Showcase your expertise (without jeopardizing client etiquette and confidentiality)
This is your place to shine and one of the greatest features of online social networking. Whereas in ‘real life’ you cannot really approach someone and start a conversation by handing your resume, highlighting your remarkable cases, awards and unique Egyptian Art History hobby – in the online world you can easily do that, in a respectable manner, and find common grounds and build rapport a lot quicker.
Watch out from…. Exaggerating. Be honest – don’t pretend you are someone who you are not.
A profile allows you to control they way people see you, literally. Use it wisely.