The Head of Community Development at Ironclad is a LinkedIn Legend
Introducing the first interview of our Angel Squad series, where we talk to rising Creators about their approach and motivation to explore content creation as a part of their online identity. Today we are speaking with Alex Su, head of community development at Ironclad.
Alex Su is a former lawyer who’s the Head of Community Development at Ironclad, a legal AI company that helps accelerate the contracting process. He maintains an active social media presence, with over 250,000 total followers across LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Tik Tok. Alex also publishes a newsletter about technology & AI, career pivots, and the unspoken rules of the legal profession.
Prior to joining Ironclad, Alex spent five years selling technology to law firms and legal departments. Before that, he was an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell and clerked for the Hon. Edmond E. Chang of the Northern District of Illinois. Alex is a graduate of Northwestern Law, where he was an editor of the law review and the student commencement speaker.
Alex, on your LinkedIn, it says you lead community development at Ironclad. Could you tell us a bit more about this job and what it entails?
Ironclad is a contract technology company that primarily serves in-house legal. The community function in our company isn't exactly marketing. It's really about engaging with the broader community, including the legal community and other groups we serve. My job involves engaging with people online and in the real world.
Online engagement means using social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and occasionally TikTok. In person, it involves meetups, events, and conferences. It's about engaging with the community and fostering a two-way dialogue between the company and the customers we serve.
Was this a role created for you, or did you specifically seek it?
Ironclad has always believed in the importance of community. They had a community lead for many years. When I connected with the company, it was because my viral TikToks spread rapidly among the legal community, particularly among buyers of contract technology.
I was working at a competitor as a salesperson when Ironclad's leadership heard about me. They recruited me and brought on Mary O’Carroll, a big name in legal operations, to be the chief community officer. They offered me a lot of freedom in choosing my role and title. I didn't put too much thought into the title, I just prioritized the work I’d be doing.
What was your transition like from law to becoming an operator at a growth-stage startup?
I started my career practicing law for six years, aspiring to be a trial lawyer. However, the reality was different from my expectations. I pivoted to the startup world at 33, leveraging my legal experience for legal tech.
This niche was gaining traction in 2016, coinciding with the cloud becoming mainstream. Joining a startup, I sold software to law firms. At 33, I started off as a BDR, an entry-level sales role. To stand out, I began creating content, choosing LinkedIn for its legal community presence. During the pandemic, as lawyers flocked to LinkedIn, my following grew significantly.
As of this interview, you have nearly 90,000 followers on LinkedIn. Could you share what makes LinkedIn a great platform for growing your brand as a creator?
LinkedIn is unique for creators. I have the most followers on TikTok, but LinkedIn was my main focus because it aligns with my goal to engage with lawyers. Lawyers predominantly use LinkedIn. I expanded to Twitter and Instagram later. Understanding the different dynamics of each platform is crucial. I first mastered LinkedIn, deeply understanding my lawyer audience, which made it easier to expand to other platforms.
Could you describe a perfect LinkedIn post?
A perfect LinkedIn post on LinkedIn is optimistic, encourages dialogue in the comments, and is safe for a corporate audience. If you want lots of engagement and views on LinkedIn, you should avoid risky content that people would feel uncomfortable with their bosses seeing.
Could you talk about your newsletter, Off the Record, and your goals with it?
The goals for Off the Record are twofold: First, to have a direct line of communication with my audience, independent of platform algorithms and ownership changes. Second, to provide more nuanced and deeper content than the punchy, quick hits on social media. This helps add nuance to my online presence.
Reflecting on your decade as a creator, what would you do differently if you were starting now, and what advice helped you grow?
The key advice I'd offer is to know your goals and align your social media and content creation efforts with them. Understand the impact of your content and how it fits into your life goals. That doesn’t mean that you necessarily need a clear career path along the way. But you do need to think a lot about why you’re engaging online in the first place, and whether you’re getting closer to your goals, or just wasting time.
Finally, what do you envision for the future of your media presence?
I'm keeping an open mind about the future, focusing on how my content aligns with my personal life, and with my goal of having a bit impact on the legal industry. Content creation is unique in that it offers leverage, allowing for impact without a huge amount of time. Your content gets broadcast while you’re busy living your life. That’s why I want to ensure sustainability and alignment with my life goals.
Thank you, Alex, for sharing these insights. We'll be following your growth as a creator. Readers, check out alexofftherecord.com for more.
Thank you to Alex Su for sharing his insights about why he became a creator! Alex is a part of Angel Squad, our community of aspiring angel investors. He’s just one of 1,500+ talented people in our community. If you’re interested in learning about angel investing, we encourage you to check out Angel Squad at: hustlefund.vc/squad.