16 Easy Ways to Network, Connect with Clients, & Build Brand While Social Distancing

JD Supra Perspectives
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... your job right now is to lay the foundation for when things return to 'normal'

I know so many of you feel out of sorts right now. Me, too. Our daily routines have been thrown a huge curveball, but this is not the time to stop marketing yourself, or your firm.

In fact, you want to be top of mind, and you can easily do that through the many online channels available to us - with LinkedIn being the most powerful social platform to build professional relationships.

When I speak at conferences or conduct client trainings, I usually end my presentations with "homework" for attendees. I always suggest that attendees take the time to complete these to-do items, because I always want to leave attendees with actionable takeaways they can implement right away to enhance their business and brand.

In case you are looking for some "homework" in the marketing and business development area, here are a few ideas to keep you busy. Reach out to me with any questions.

  • Show genuine care and concern for your clients and don't only rely on email to communicate. This is the time to call your clients and ask how they are doing. It's not business as usual.
  • Update your bio and LinkedIn profile.
  • Taking LinkedIn one step further, create a strong LinkedIn headline and profile cover image.
  • Make a list of future conferences that you'd like to attend and even better, speak at, and reach out to the conference organizers to express your interest, once we're back to safely gathering in groups.
  • Create a virtual CLE program for clients and prospects. You will become a trusted resource if you offer to provide your clients with CLE credits and learning during this time.
  • Write coronavirus-related legal alerts. Explore how the current crisis affects your clients’ businesses and report on updates in the law. Look to see what your competitors are writing about for inspiration and competitive intelligence.
  • Get involved with a bar association or industry committee. There is plenty of work you can do virtually to help out organizations you care about.
  • Make a list of your top matters and achievements - you'll need this down the road.
  • Do more pro bono work - again, much of this work can be done virtually, so raise your hand to help out those who need you the most - there will be a lot of pro bono opportunities as this crisis continues.
  • Set up Google alerts for yourself (so you know what's being said about you) as well as your top clients and VIP contacts so you can keep abreast of significant news about them
  • Set up at least three video conferences and virtual happy hours/coffee breaks each week - these are great outlets for you and others to maintain relationships while social distancing.
  • Create a virtual group of key former colleagues and alumni to foster relationship building. Get together by Zoom every other week or monthly- the best part is that you will be connecting individuals in your network to each other, which will be appreciated by everyone.
  • Reach out to five contacts with whom you haven’t been in touch. This is a great time to rekindle relationships.
  • Read the great networking bible Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. If you've already read this book, choose another business book or podcast - reading is a great outlet during this stay at home time.
  • Create a podcast or video series related to the coronavirus crisis - this does not have to be a high-budget production -right now no one expects that. Speak from the heart about how the coronavirus affects your clients, invite special guests to provide insights. Podcasts and video engagement was growing before the COVID-19 outbreak, and I think it will only continue to do so with so many people looking for a way to break up their days at home.
  • Engage on LinkedIn in some way every day – comment on a status, share an article or “like” someone’s post

I am seeing the lines between our personal and professional lives become blurrier by the day as many of us want to be more connected to people in general. This may result in you receiving friend requests on Facebook and follow requests on Instagram from colleagues and clients. It's up to you how you want to handle these but please always exercise caution with what you post on any social media platform, and stay away from discussing politics and religion.

Remember this too shall pass and things will return to "normal" - your job now is to lay the foundation for when that does happen and also to be ready, willing, and able to assist your clients during this time of great change, confusion, and stress.

Empathy is the single most important characteristic you can have right now to build stronger relationships.

*

Stefanie Marrone helps law firms effectively tell their stories and find their unique voices. Over the last 18 years, she has worked with some of the most prominent and innovative law firms in the world, developing and executing global revenue generating business development and communications strategies, including media relations, branding, and multi-channel content marketing and social media campaigns. She is very passionate about using social media for lead generation and brand building. She has a diverse range of experience in both Big Law and mid-size/small-law firms. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her latest writing on JD Supra as well as her blog The Social Media Butterfly

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