The Circle of Influence in the Digital Age

Attorney Steven Sweat

By social media guru, Steven Sweat: As an attorney that has had some decent success in running a law practice for the past decade and a half, I have been a student of various schools of thought on business marketing. Like most entrepreneurs, I’ve tried to stay educated and motivated by reading various “self-help” books. One of my favorites is the late Steven Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” In that book, Covey talks about the concept of the “circle of influence”. His idea was that the more you strive for mutually beneficial business relationships and the more positive influence you exude to others, the more you will be perceived as a business leader and the more success you will achieve. He also talked about “synergy”, which means combining the strengths of people through positive teamwork to achieve goals that one individual couldn’t achieve alone.  Put another way by the late Dale Carnegie in his landmark book, “How To Win Friends and Influence People”, when you become “genuinely interested in other people”, and not just fellow attorneys, and talk in terms of “their interest not yours”, you have a much greater chance to influence them to, in turn, help you.

Social Media Marketing - Circle of Legal Trust


How Does This Apply to the Concept of “Social Media Marketing”

The term “Social Media Marketing” is, in my mind, a bit of a misnomer. Hey you law firms, to find true success in using social media platforms to drive business to your door, you have to first be “social”.  The non attorneys are your online jury. This embodies Covey’s concept of trying to increase opportunities to influence other people in a positive way. You do this by engaging your audience in a meaningful and positive way so that they in turn share your ideas and thoughts which increases your reputation.  The latest catch-phrase for this seems to be  “author rank” but, in essence, it means boosting your online presence.

Some Examples of Ways You Can Increase Your Online Influence

I can’t think of any better example of positive online social interaction than this group, The Circle of Legal Trust. As Michael Ehline states in the mission statement of the group, it is a group designed to “mentor and assist other lawyers internationally and locally and to teach and share information with our peers.” By sharing ideas that have been successful for many of its members in increasing their online exposure, they have engaged and attracted more like minded persons, who then in turn share their ideas, mention the group and it’s members in various online forums and … everybody wins. Joining groups like this are the best way, in my opinion, to increase your internet reach and influence.

If you think about it, the possibilities for similar social interaction are boundless. Some other examples I have employed include the following:

(1) On platforms like Linked In – join as many legal type groups as possible that care about the things that interest you (e.g. legal practice groups, legal marketing groups, general marketing groups) and try to post articles in these group forums whenever you come across an article or news piece that you think would be interesting to the group. Like other people’s postings if you find it interesting.  Request and give endorsements for other attorneys and professionals on a regular basis. They will “return the favor”, rest assured and they will also have you fresh in their minds when it comes time to refer a case;

(2) On platforms like Twitter, it may be as simple as re-tweeting someone else’s posts or mentioning them often enough that they do the same with your posts; and

(3) On Google Plus: Read other people’s posts and “engage” with them by writing comments and sharing their posts with other people.  Form or participate in Google communities which foster “promotion” through the mutual exchange of ideas, website and other business information and the like.  You can also forward people news articles and other information that you think they may find interesting or that they may want to curate or comment upon as a post.  After reading a fair amount of posts from different people, you will get an idea of what peaks their interest.  For example, even  though I don’t practice family law, I like to sometimes forward news stories or post up stories and illicit comments from other attorneys that do practice in that area.  They seem to return the favor by putting me “in the loop” on stories about personal injury and other civil litigation matters and engaging with me when I put up posts on those topics.

I know some of you are now thinking, “OK Steve, this all seems a little ‘touchy feely’” but, don’t get me wrong, I am in the business of promoting my practice.  You non lawyers are the online jury and you fellow lawyers are judges of my content. I just think helping other people promote their information and ideas is the best way to encourage them to “get the word out” about me!

Provided by Attorney Steven Sweat – an injury attorney serving the state of California in all personal injury and employment law related matters.


Posts by Steven Sweat

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