While many lawyers don’t have social media profiles due to ethics concerns, the professional nature of LinkedIn has led more than 85% of attorneys from firms of all sizes to have a presence there, according to the 2016 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report. However, having a profile is very different than maximizing the results you get from your online presence and the interactions that come along with it. To make the most out of LinkedIn and turn it into a business tool, you can update and manage your account effectively to get immediate results and improve performance.
When you take a look at your LinkedIn feed, it can be easy to feel like it’s not a worthwhile time investment when you don’t see the majority of your network posting and actively engaging on the platform. But for every person who posts each day, there are a hundred who are logging in to see what’s taking place without engaging. In-house lawyers especially tend to lean toward LinkedIn and blogs over any other social media platform, according to a 2018 survey.
If you want to be seen and build relationships, LinkedIn is the way to do it. Once you’ve set up your profile, you don’t need to make a huge time commitment to get results. Ten minutes a day is ample time to create a post, comment on or like a few items, and potentially send a message or two.
Build a Strong Profile
Before you even have a conversation with someone, it’s very possible in today’s world that they’re looking you up online. Put your best foot forward with a complete and professional profile that highlights all your accomplishments and expertise. A thorough profile will also go a long way toward helping to build trust among those you’re connecting with on LinkedIn.
Your profile picture creates an initial impression and for lawyers, it’s especially important to convey a certain level of professionalism, so steer clear of pixelated photos or vacation pictures. Instead, opt for a professional photo that’s clear and easy to see. When creating your job title, focus on being professional but consider using something that better describes what you have to offer potential clients. Which sounds better: “Managing Partner” or “Managing Partner & Litigation Attorney with over 20 years of experience”?
Spend some time crafting your summary, the part of your profile that highlights what you do, how you do it, and how you can help others. This area should focus on your expertise but also not read like a typical bio. You want to intrigue profile visitors to read its entirety while targeting your ideal client. To make it more interesting, think of it as telling a story, such as why practicing law is your calling or how you help those you work with.
As with any type of marketing, be careful to word your profile in accordance with your local attorney marketing rules and state bar regulations, including wording about being an expert or specializing in a particular area. To make sure you’re in accordance with your bar association rules, check out this National Law Review article: Is Your LinkedIn Profile Violating Attorney Ethics Rules?
In your offline interactions, you’re likely to meet people you want to stay in touch with, but it’s impossible to maintain relationships with everyone you meet. LinkedIn is the perfect way to stay connected and be top-of-mind without having to invest time into individual outreach (which, of course, is still a necessary action for key relationships). Send a connection request to each of these individuals along with a short note as a way to continue to build upon your last interaction.
If you have a profile and haven’t invested much time in creating connections or are just getting started, don’t forget to include old connections. This could be classmates from law school, lawyers from a firm you used to work at, or past clients. When connecting, it’s helpful to send a brief message explaining how you know them, which will significantly increase the likelihood of them accepting the request.
Sharing posts on LinkedIn doesn’t have to be complicated. Think about content that would be helpful or relevant to your network. Sharing current news with your own short commentary or case law updates that will have an impact on your practice area are great ways to show your expertise while providing valuable information, which can help generate referrals.
To find information to post, consider setting up a Google Alert. This email notification from Google will let you know about recent, relevant news and online postings related to particular keywords you select. For more information on how to set this up, check out Why Every Lawyer Needs to Use Google Alerts. Law360 and JDSupra are also known for their delivery of up-to-date legal news, making it a powerful resource for finding relevant content to post.
In addition to sharing your own posts, consider commenting on others’ posts with links to articles or related information they could use. This type of information giving is known in the world of sales as the law of reciprocity, which leaves others feeling motivated to giving something in return – which hopefully is a referral!
When it comes to LinkedIn, the most important thing (aside from always keeping ethics and marketing rules in mind) is to simply get started. It may take some time to build up your network or to feel comfortable with how the platform works, but the benefits of using it correctly have been proven time and again. Set aside an hour to work on your profile and then from there spend a few minutes a day posting content, commenting, liking, and connecting with others.
People do business with others they know, like, and trust, making LinkedIn the perfect platform to cultivate relationships and turn them into clients.