When it comes to social media, lawyers are overwhelmingly active on LinkedIn. In order to get the most out of your LinkedIn profile, here are 4 Ways to Get LinkedIn Working for Lawyers.
1) Professionalize Your Profile
Your LinkedIn profile is the “front door” to your law practice.
If anyone searches Google for you, your law firm, or associated keywords for your website, your LinkedIn profile will undoubtedly be one of the first things to pop up. Everyone – opposing counsel, current clients, the next potential client – will be reviewing your LinkedIn profile.
- Start with the Picture – It doesn’t have to be fan-on Beyoncé fierce, but you do need a good headshot for your LinkedIn profile pic. Upload a recent and decent photo of you looking trustworthy.
- Background and Experience – Round out your sections on educational and legal background. Don’t go too in depth, but make sure you give yourself credit for the work you’ve done.
- Strong Copywriting – Craft a strong the headline and summary sections that focus your profile, identifies your audience, outlines your expertise, and draws them in. This is not the time for generalities. Be specific.
- For the Headline – Create a sales sentence that identifies your audience, their problems, and how you solve them. EXAMPLE – John Smith, professional liability defense trial lawyer representing medical and legal professionals across the US.
- For the Summary – This is your chance to clarify your headline and get specific. Is there an aspect of liability defense law that fascinates you, or you’ve shown aptitude for throughout your career? Do you really like dispute resolution? Do you connect with risk managers or administrators and know their strife? Do you like to read books on psychology and trial strategies? Feature specific interests in your Summary that round out your approach to benefitting your clients.
- Skills – While being sure to observe the ethical guidelines for advertising in your state, adding industry-relevant skills to your profile is a great way to share your expertise and generate endorsements in return – e.g. “trial law” “litigation” “depositions.” Be sure to endorse the skills of your fellow staff members, as well as everyone in your connected LinkedIn network you’ve worked directly with. Avoid endorsing strangers. It’s … weird, and possibly unethical.
2) Expand Your Network
LinkedIn is not just a static bulletin board. It’s about connecting with others.
LinkedIn has built-in tools to help you make the most connections. Locate colleagues, classmates, and organizations that you already know and send them an invitation to connect.
- Personalize the invitation. Rather than sending out a generic LinkedIn invite, add a personal touch to the invitation – “thought of you” – “interested to hear what you’re up to” – “saw that you’re with this company, would love to hear more” – or better yet, offer something. Include a link to an article “saw this article – what do you think?” Seems simple, but a little personal touch can go a long way.
Once you’ve connected with people, add them to your follow list, engage on their posts when necessary, and reach out occasionally. LinkedIn will provide you with notifications of your colleagues’ achievements via email or within the app, making it easy for you to track their successes and send your congratulations. HOWEVER:
- Notifications may not be accurate. One thing we’ve noticed is that some updates on a connection’s career changes or work anniversary may not be accurate. Mostly this is because those users are not keeping their profiles up-to-date. If a connection hasn’t visited their LinkedIn profile in years, and has switched jobs in that time, the anniversary notification you get will not be current.
- But don’t let that stop you. I have congratulated plenty of connections on out-of-date information and, thankfully, it’s always led to an interesting conversation. The rules of social engagement apply offline and on. If you’re adamant and earnest in your communication, folks recognize it and will reciprocate.
3) Focus on Expertise
Expertise is important for getting new clients, but the way you highlight it on LinkedIn makes a huge difference.
LinkedIn offers several ways to feature your expertise in a marketable way. You can publish directly on the platform, or upload articles you’ve written and share them with your network. You can list publications you’ve authored, awards and recognitions you’ve received, and languages you speak.
Through SlideShare, LinkedIn’s home for professional, visual presentations, you can share slides from seminars you’ve prepared. LinkedIn makes it easy to share your portfolio of professional content, so don’t hold back.
- Beware of Endorsements – LinkedIn endorsements have caused problems and have conflicted with lawyer advertising rules and specialization prohibitions in the past. Before you go accepting and handing out endorsements, be sure to do your research and contact your local bar association. Here is a great article on the ethical minefield of legal advertising on LinkedIn.
4) Learn to Share
LinkedIn and social media work on reciprocity. If you give, you’ll get.
LinkedIn is a fantastic resource for curating and sharing knowledge relevant to your industry, but it only works if you are active and engaged. Liking a post and commenting on a post is fine, but writing an article, sharing a link, and posting will drive your profile’s performance up in the LinkedIn algorithm. Sharing is the best way to create additional attention on your profile.
- Curate Content – You can rely on your newsfeed, which is filled with your connections’ posts, to find quality content to share. Seek out and follow leaders in your field to discover relevant content to share. LinkedIn can (and will if you don’t Manage your LinkedIn Email Notifications) send you daily emails of what’s trending, or you can set aside time each day to log on and see what’s happening.
Sharing news about your practice area or an industry-relevant article shows you’ve got your finger on the professional pulse and will encourage referrals.
- Offline Offerings – Another quick way to score expertise points is to review a book you’re reading. Write a brief summary, link the author, and tag a few friends who may be interested. This can be VERY powerful! It doesn’t have to be in your industry either. Share your passion and make connections.
The steps above are important for anyone to take in regards to generating more traction from using professional social media, but lawyers are uniquely served by LinkedIn.
Getting LinkedIn working for you is a great way to improve perception of the legal profession and stand out in a saturated market. Have goals, craft an inspiring and expert profile, establish purposeful connections, and curate relatable, focused content. Lawyers who take control of their presence online are doing more than just drumming up leads, so get out there and make LinkedIn work for your law firm.
Want More LinkedIn Tips for Lawyers?
LinkedIn Coaching Expert Rachel Tombs visited the LAWsome Podcast earlier this year, and explained why lawyers have to be on LinkedIn to succeed. Listen to “The LinkedIn Lawyer” on the LAWsome Podcast! Here are a few other links from her company, Links2Leads:
How to Make 2018 the best year ever on LinkedIn
I’m on LinkedIn – Now what?