Here’s how you can make the most of your LinkedIn account.
(Editor’s Note: At Appara, we serve both the Canadian and US markets, which is why we use the terms “lawyer” and “attorney” interchangeably.)
If you’re a lawyer, chances are you have a LinkedIn account. But are you actively using that account to engage with potential clients, employers, and peers? Or are you simply using it in place of a paper resume?
Believe it or not, clients are actively using LinkedIn to search for attorneys and law firms. That means LinkedIn can be a powerful marketing tool, but it’s more than just a glorified professional directory – and it requires a particular strategy to make the most of the platform. From ads, to groups, to videos, to SEO and more, there’s no shortage of ways you can use LinkedIn to boost yourself professionally and promote your firm. Here are just a few ways you can get started with LinkedIn marketing and tap into the power of your professional network.
Having an effective profile is the first step in making use of LinkedIn. Your profile is where potential clients will go to learn about you, so make sure you’re making a good first impression.
For starters, a professional headshot is a must. Your headshot is the first thing prospects will see when they visit your profile – and if they see something they don’t like, they’ll scroll on by. The best professional headshots are fairly simple; your headshot should show you in professional clothing with a smile. You can show off a bit more personality in your background photo, but even that should still be relevant to your work.
You’ll also want to ensure that your profile headline is optimized for LinkedIn’s search engine. If you’re a corporate lawyer, for instance, you’ll want to put “corporate lawyer” at the very start of your headline as well as in your current role.
Finally, make the most of your written summary – it’s your chance to audition for potential clients and demonstrate what sets you apart from other attorneys. A professional summary will showcase your accomplishments and give a bird’s eye view of who you are as a lawyer.
One of the best ways to stand out on LinkedIn is to create value through your profile. LinkedIn is much more than a simple networking site – it’s also the world’s leading channel for B2B content distribution and consumption. You can easily stand out from the crowd by sharing insightful articles you’ve come across and adding your own insights.
For instance, perhaps you’re an estate lawyer, and a major newspaper just covered a topic related to estate planning. You can easily gain profile views by sharing that article and adding your own personal insights. Sharing content like this is a good way to continually show up on your followers’ timelines, keeping you top-of-mind for when they need an attorney.
LinkedIn groups are great venues for connecting with other professionals who have something in common with you. They’re also one of the best ways to expand your reach beyond your professional network. LinkedIn has over 700 million members; most of these members have joined at least one group. A group is usually dedicated to a single topic, making it easy to create content around that topic and share it in said group.
For instance, if your firm works with a lot of tech startups, you could join LinkedIn startup groups and share legal content in that group. This is a great advertising tactic because it enables you to reach people you wouldn’t normally come into contact with; it’s also an advertising method that requires zero budget.
While sharing other people’s content can help you generate profile views, there’s no better way to be seen as an authority in your niche than to create your own LinkedIn content. Creating content is the LinkedIn equivalent of chatting up strangers at a networking event – it starts conversations and gets people interested in what you have to say.
But creating content doesn’t have to be time-consuming. LinkedIn gives users the option of writing shorter updates or longer articles; for best results, you’ll want to vary the length of your posts. Sometimes you might just want to pose a thought-provoking question and let your network chime in; other times, you might have a thoroughly-researched view on a complex subject that you want to share.
While LinkedIn can be a powerful way to build your network and get word out about your firm, there are a few pitfalls you’ll want to steer clear of.
First of all, do not use LinkedIn as a replacement for email when talking to clients. LinkedIn messages aren’t necessarily private; unlike email, you can’t assume that your messages will only be read by the intended recipient.
You’ll also want to be careful with your connections. Connections with people you know are great; connections with people you don’t know might be risky. Furthermore, avoid connecting with judges or opposing counsel – it could be perceived as a conflict of interest.
Finally, don’t write a series of updates and publish them all at once. While it can be tempting to batch your work and post several LinkedIn updates all in a row, this method doesn’t tend to get the best engagement. If you’re the kind of person who likes to batch work, you’ll want to use a social media scheduler like TweetDeck or HootSuite to schedule out your LinkedIn posts.
LinkedIn is a great platform to connect with colleagues, get in front of potential clients, show off your CV, and demonstrate your expertise with thought leadership content. While having a LinkedIn profile is considered the minimum expectation in today’s professional atmosphere, there’s much more you can do to make use of this platform and attract potential clients. If you’re going to invest time into LinkedIn, you’ll want to balance that time between engaging with other people’s content and creating content of your own. You can even share articles or videos in LinkedIn groups to expand your reach. The key with LinkedIn is to focus on engagement rather than “selling” – be genuine and professional, and people will come to respect you on LinkedIn.
How are you leveraging your LinkedIn profile to create engagement and cultivate clients?
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