Of all the social media and networking platforms we’re consistently told are essential to success in our professional lives, LinkedIn may be the most daunting.
With 433 million members from 200 countries and territories already on LinkedIn, it’s quite possible that you have already filled out your profile with a professional picture, a comprehensive overview of your experience and services, and even developed a large network of connections with colleagues and clients. If you’ve done all of that, you’re on the right path.
But that isn’t all that LinkedIn has to offer attorneys and law firms.
Taking Your LinkedIn Game to Another Level
This is where the majority of people get stuck with the ever-popular networking platform. Because many people don’t utilize LinkedIn in an effective manner, it’s easy to think there aren’t many ways to do so, or that trying may be more effort than it’s worth.
Besides, the majority of the advice online about using LinkedIn is relatively vague and uninformative, the kind of general advice like “be engaging” that doesn’t really help you in a practical sense.
Nevertheless, while using social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter is more intuitive, LinkedIn may actually give you the most effective ways to reach a professional audience. (Which, depending on your legal niche, will vary in importance to your practice – though we recommend all attorneys at least be present on the network.)
With that, this post is meant to give you a few practical, usable ways for using LinkedIn to your business’ advantage once you’ve already got your profile looking all nice and spiffy.
By implementing these practices and paying attention to trends within the platform, your LinkedIn profile will be more than a reference for prospective clients and industry professionals, but an important outlet for building your firm’s brand, cultivating your own authority within your niche, and finding new leads.
Build Your Authority – Join LinkedIn Groups
Attorneys and law firms generally make a concerted effort to become well-known and established within the communities they serve. Being an active member of the community establishes trust and name recognition, leading to more clients and more business.
Think of LinkedIn the same way you might think of the geographical area you serve, with a variety of community members that offer different services, insights, and perspectives. And within your LinkedIn community, you can network with like-minded professionals in groups, much like it would work in organizations like a bar association in your own community.
LinkedIn groups are some of the most effective ways of establishing and growing a social network online. While every group you join on LinkedIn won’t always offer you the knowledge or experience you desire, joining a couple of groups that relate to your experience can help create a valuable network of professionals.
The groups you join on LinkedIn can range from the very specific, dealing with particular legal issues, to the very broad, such as general networking and industry-related groups. Chances are that if you’re interested in learning more about a certain aspect of the legal profession, there is a LinkedIn group dedicated to dealing with it.
Better yet, if there’s not a group dedicated to what you’re interested in, starting up a group to discuss trends and issues would definitely help your online presence.
But don’t just join groups – participate
Regardless of which groups you decide to join, make sure to contribute in some form of fashion. You don’t have to always be the person to post scintillating updates on tort reform, but contributing with comments and pushing discussion will help establish you as a competent resource for the legal issues you regularly deal with. And, this should go without saying, always make sure to treat everybody in the groups you join with respect, just as you would in any other professional setting.
Find Clients – Use ProFinder
With all the new ways for people to find the professionals they need online, it’s no surprise that LinkedIn is getting itself established in the freelance search world. The newly created ProFinder is a tool for people to search for freelance workers across a large range of professions, including attorneys, through LinkedIn.
At Black Fin, we’re particularly intrigued about ProFinder because of the SEO implications it should have on the attorney and legal community. With the weight and credibility that a social network like LinkedIn has for search engines, we’re pretty confident that establishing yourself in ProFinder will have a positive impact on how your firm ranks in Google searches in the future.
So how can you use ProFinder to help connect with people and, ultimately, land clients? As it so happens, by thinking of your LinkedIn profile in SEO terms. The company uses a ProFinder concierge team to determine the order of who comes up for each type of law. If you’re a real estate attorney, you’ll want to rank as highly as possible in the “Real Estate Law” section of ProFinder. That means structuring your LinkedIn profile to portray you as an expert in real estate law.
Unsure of how to do that?
Use the examples from the top of the ProFinder results for a start. Emulating the positive aspects of their profiles is a great way to give yourself a chance at being looked at by the the ProFinder concierge team.
These aspects generally include the regular LinkedIn advice you’ve received in the past, like having a professional profile picture, filling out all the required fields, and differentiating the content between your bio and summary rather than copying and pasting the same text.
For a little closer look at the platform, check out this short video from Gerrid Smith, our CEO.
It’s important to remember that one of the best ways to come up in any search engine, on LinkedIn or Google, is to actively participate online. Which brings us to our next point…
Build Your Brand – Post Content
Content is king. You’ve probably heard it a million times, but that doesn’t make it any less important. LinkedIn is an excellent platform to post content about your profession, as it’s tailored specifically to the professional community.
While the content you post on Facebook or Twitter may or may not be appreciated for its professional insight, you can generally assume any content you post on LinkedIn is being read by like-minded attorneys that have a vested interest in your content.
Posting content is the hands-down best way to establish yourself on any social media or networking platform online. The best part is that you don’t always have to contribute original, thrilling, mind-blowing content. Writing your own blog posts and sharing your own experiences is great, but sometimes sharing content from an organization or page that you respect and admire can be the best option for posting content.
Publish across multiple platforms
If you do decide to post your own original content on LinkedIn, the best way to get that content shared and noticed is actually off of LinkedIn. Make sure you post any original content originally on LinkedIn to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Not only will cross posting increase the audience for your content, but it will help establish awareness of your LinkedIn profile.
Establishing yourself as a consistent purveyor of great content on LinkedIn can help both in the LinkedIn groups you decide to join and with the ProFinder concierge team, ultimately making your LinkedIn profile more powerful and leading to more leads and clients. To really make the most out of your content, though…
Don’t Be Afraid To Reach Out
LinkedIn is all about making connections and networking. In order to do that successfully, you’ve got to make sure you’re reaching out to people. Make sure the people you reach out to and connect with are people that you know, are familiar with or have some reason for connecting with. If you can manage to stay within those bounds, you’ll be able to make tons of valuable connections for your firm. Connections will lead to great testimonials of both your practice and your expertise in your field.
And if you have questions…
Reach Out To Us!
If you have questions about the best ways to utilize LinkedIn, or about anything related to marketing online for attorneys and law firms, we’re certainly here to help. Feel free to fill out a contact form and we’ll get back to you before you can say “search engine optimization.”