LinkedIn for lawyers is one of the most powerful social networking tools available, thanks to its unique concentration of professionals prepared for networking. According to the American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Survey, nearly 76% of law firms use LinkedIn.
Potential clients are turning to LinkedIn as a source of information on lawyers and firms, making LinkedIn a crucial channel for your social media marketing strategy.
LinkedIn for lawyers—5 tips
The average time each individual person spends on social media platforms has been on an upward trajectory for over a decade. LinkedIn gives lawyers and law firms the opportunity to produce content that starts conversations by educating their target audience. This will boost engagement, establish the value of their law firm’s brand, and attract new clients.
The tips below are all LinkedIn best practices and have been carefully selected with the purpose of growing law firms, increasing their visibility, as well as expanding your personal brand on LinkedIn. Think of it this way: The more you network, the more likely you are to receive referrals. LinkedIn helps you create an environment of thriving professional legal connections, with minimal financial investment.
1. Join relevant groups and Bar Associations
LinkedIn groups can be great networking opportunities for lawyers in your practice area and beyond. They can also provide sources for peer knowledge content, and can keep you up to date on legal trends. Since groups are specialized communities, try to give as much as you take; you’ll get more from interacting with your fellow group members, no matter the topic of discussion.
2. Be careful about labeling yourself a specialist
In many jurisdictions lawyers are not permitted to label themselves as a specialist. Certain states have very specific protocols for becoming a specialist within an area of law, and the advertising rules surrounding specialization extend to every social network website.
A great feature of LinkedIn which provides unique value is the recommendations feature. LinkedIn offers your connections the chance to write a recommendation for you that you can then approve to put publicly on your profile. However, you need to monitor their language when they do this. Lawyers are responsible for meeting advertising requirements in their jurisdiction, so you cannot allow other LinkedIn users to label you as a specialist, no matter how tempting it may be. Keep an eye on the language of your profile recommendations, as well as skills and endorsements.
3. Import professional contacts from your email
Importing your connections from email is a fast and easy way to find connections you’ve already made. Once you give permission, LinkedIn will search your email account for addresses associated with accounts on LinkedIn, and you have the option of importing each contact at that time. It’s always good to aim for that magic number of 500 connections as it provides your account with an extra layer of credibility and authority.
Also, the great thing about social media in general is how it uncovers connections to people we didn’t even realize we had. LinkedIn has taken this concept and applied it to your professional life.
Through 2nd and 3rd degree connections, you can see who is connected with connections you would like to meet, for example hiring managers, law school alums, or colleagues in a similar practice area. From there, you can reach out to your connection and ask them to set up an introduction or business lunch.
4. Install the LinkedIn app on your phone.
It’s all about mobility. With the LinkedIn app, you can respond to InMail (LinkedIn’s version of email) and reply to comments in a timely manner, all while being on the go. You never know what kind of connection will come from a LinkedIn conversation or content you’ve posted, so, take the app with you, and don’t be afraid to add people to your network.
5. Write concise, yet meaningful descriptions of your professional experiences
Think of your LinkedIn profile as an online resume or business development tool. Anyone thinking about working with you is going to be interested in your professional background, simply because they want to ensure they’re going to be in the most capable hands.
Use the career history section of your profile to reassure any potential new clients. As we mentioned earlier in the article, it’s important to keep your skill set focused, but what’s also important is providing an easy-to-digest description of what you can do in general terms. Avoid confusing potential clients with densely written legal jargon, as this is likely to make them exit your profile and search for legal counsel they feel they can communicate with.
For those who have held similar positions in their career, avoid copying and pasting descriptions; it’s important to show as much professional growth as possible. Include links to firm pages, especially for your current firm, which you should ensure is up-to-date with details of how to contact for service inquiries.
LinkedIn for law firms—5 tips
While building out your personal LinkedIn profile is important, it’s equally as important to establish a presence for your firm. Here are six tips to keep in mind for your law firm’s LinkedIn company page.
1. Use updated, professionally shot photos
It’s important to remember that using LinkedIn is different from Facebook! Clients are not interested in what you had for dinner, your take on last night’s game, or where you’ve been on vacation. The emphasis should always be on business opportunities and professionalism.
With this principle in mind, the images you choose to post on your firm’s page set the tone for how your target audience and professional contacts perceive you—it’s your firm’s first impression online. That means no casual or inappropriate photos of yourself or your staff.
2. Share your blog posts and other published articles to your page
LinkedIn articles are a great tool to incorporate into your marketing efforts, they add an extra dimension to your firm’s page, shine another spotlight on your expertise and show professional focus. When you publish articles or blog content to your firm’s page, you take advantage of a multitude of benefits.
Firstly, writing insightful articles on current trends will help to establish you as a thought leader in your practice area, something that will be beneficial for both your personal brand and your firm’s brand.
Another benefit is posts published on LinkedIn can easily be shared by your connections. Creating useful content can help you attract the attention of your target audience, or find you professional opportunities like speaking engagements.
Lastly, consider the SEO benefit to your firm’s website. Articles written on LinkedIn are indexed by Google, meaning they will appear in search results for related keywords. By including a link to your website within your LinkedIn article content, you can create an extra stream of traffic to your website.
3. Write compelling company page descriptions
On your law firm’s LinkedIn company page, you have the opportunity to further describe your services and specializations. In the About section of your page, you get space to convince clients why they should choose you, how you work, and how you could help them.
You also have the opportunity to write a tagline that will appear under your law firm’s name. Ensure it concisely summarizes the value of your services to clients.
Tip: Remember to include legal industry related search terms to your tagline, e.g. ‘family law firm’ or ‘personal injury law firm’.
4. When it comes to LinkedIn for law firms, only post content relevant to your current practice area
A good marketing strategy always keeps its branding and messaging focused, and the way attorneys use their company pages shouldn’t be any different.
If you’re a family lawyer, you should not be posting content about personal injury law on your company’s page, unless it’s an additional specialization of your law firm. When posting content to your company’s page, stick to the latest news in your current area.
5. Create a posting schedule and a content calendar
Unfortunately there is no optimal number of times to post on LinkedIn per week or month. It all depends on what your firm has bandwidth to do as well as how big your firm is and what your practice area is. For example, a firm of 50+ lawyers will likely post more often than a firm of just two lawyers due to time constraints.
However, no matter the size of your firm, it’s typically best practice to create a monthly calendar for what you’ll be posting on your LinkedIn company page so you can plan out what will go out and when it will go out.
Final thoughts on LinkedIn for Lawyers
To be clear, the main purpose of all of your LinkedIn activity should be to drive engagement to your company page. Your page should be well optimized with the purpose of convincing your target audience to complete an action, whether that is contacting you with their email address, recommending you to someone else, or simply engaging with your content.
The first five best practices in the above list will form the elevator pitch of your profile, and following these steps will help to boost the conversion rate of your profile page considerably. After your profile is fully optimized, you can move onto optimizing your firm’s company page. Thereafter, you might decide to tackle LinkedIn advertising for law firms.
Once your personal profile and company page have begun to generate buzz, the next step is to monitor conversations around your law firm and then engage your followers. By searching for regular brand mentions you’ll get powerful insight into how you’re perceived in the industry. Also, don’t be shy about following other law firms using LinkedIn in your niche and observing what they’re doing.