LinkedIn is the world’s largest social media network, but many attorneys struggle with how to use the tool to achieve their personal and firm goals. Attorneys who harness the power of the tool can expand their visibility at low cost and maintain a robust professional network for referrals and collaboration.
Many law firms think of LinkedIn starting with their firm’s profile page, but on LinkedIn and most social networks, people trust people, not content promoted by businesses. It is great to update your firm’s LinkedIn business page with what makes the practice great, but since personal pages get much more engagement than business pages on LinkedIn, it is better to focus your efforts and prioritize sharing through individual attorney profiles.
The first step to driving results for your law firm is to tune up your personal LinkedIn profile and to encourage any other attorneys at your firm to do the same:
- Pick a great profile picture
LinkedIn profiles with pictures generate more views and make it easy for colleagues to recognize you. Keep it professional and choose a well-dressed, close-up headshot.
- Add a summary with what makes you memorable
Draft a compelling opening sentence covering what types of cases colleagues should send your way. Cover three to four bullets with career wins. Any extracurricular activities can give a personalized touch to the closing paragraph.
- Add a custom headline
You could just say “Attorney at Firm Name,” but what about highlighting what makes you great and what types of cases you want to handle? If you love working with startups in patents and have a great record of accomplishment, something like: “Globally Recognized IP Strategist, Patent Lawyer and Startup Attorney” could help to draw in more clients you want to work with and position you to receive the right referrals from colleagues.
- Keep your positions up to date
Keeping your roles and experience current with key wins will help you to build your network, show colleagues what you are up to, and help to win new business.
- Add your contact info
Add a link to your attorney bio on your firm website, and if you are comfortable, list your email or phone so colleagues or potential clients can get in touch.
- Add personality!
Think about what makes you exceptional and try to highlight that in your background photo. Do you love speaking? What about a photo of you on the podium? Do you love sports? What about a photo of you playing a sport you love to spark conversation? Standing out from the sea of profiles will help to connect with like-minded colleagues and clients. Stay away from the gavel, courthouse pillars, or city backgrounds.
- Add connections
Make your offline presence match your offline one, by adding connections you would like to share your content with. Target 500+ connections. That will be 500+ people seeing your posts and potentially re-posting, liking, or commenting on your content to their 500+ potential clients / colleagues.
- Ask for recommendations
LinkedIn makes it easy to ask for recommendations, and this will help your profile stand out. Recommendations can come from co-workers, clients, or colleagues, and all are valuable to show what makes you exceptional.
- Share content!
Most attorneys do not share content on a weekly basis. Try to share something at least once a week, whether that is something you find online that you have a unique perspective on, or content produced by your firm. Posting interesting content frequently is the best way to get results with the tool. Make your content relatable and tag people when appropriate to get more engagement.
Engage with others
The best way to deepen connections with your network is to engage with their posts. Like, comment or share posts from your colleagues, co-workers, and clients to encourage them to do the same on yours. LinkedIn’s algorithm prioritizes posts with high engagement within 24hrs after posting, so if you want to extend your reach and get more eyes on your posts, be sure to participate, not just watch from the sidelines.
Firms with extraordinarily successful LinkedIn strategies suggest content for attorneys to share on their personal profiles, so they do not need to draft every post themselves. Employee advocacy software can make this process easy, by helping to automate the steps of gathering, drafting, and sharing firm content with attorneys to post.
Great content to share (on both your firm page and to your attorneys) are things like
- New hire announcements
- Awards or cases won by the firm
- Upcoming conferences or speaking engagements attorneys are attending
- Photos from firm events
- Firm produced content such as blogs or articles
- Job posts
- Big news / articles in your practice areas that might be of interest to colleagues or clients
Lastly, get out of your comfort zone. Many attorneys do not pay attention to Linkedin as a business tool because they are uncomfortable with social media or do not see it as an effective use of time. Putting in a little effort can deliver results and help to drive momentum in your career.
About the Author
Colin Walsh is the general manager of Clearview Social, social media marketing software used by over 20% of the Am Law 100, along with many small to mid-sized law firms. Contact him at Colin.firstname.lastname@example.org