Most attorneys I know who are even somewhat savvy when it comes to law firm marketing have already set up a profile on LinkedIn. Frankly, every attorney should have a profile on LinkedIn, no matter what type of law you practice. Don’t think that just because LinkedIn is the business social media network that there is no opportunity there for you consumer attorneys. There’s plenty!
Business professionals get divorced, get into car accidents, need estate planning, have to grapple with bankruptcy and have the same legal needs as “regular” people because that’s what they are! And that’s what taking your LinkedIn game to the next level is all about — finding lead and referral opportunities no matter what your practice area.
- Join the community — LinkedIn groups.
Lawyers have long used community involvement to general leads and referral sources because you know the importance of building a strong brand in order to establish authority and trust in the community where you live and work. Think of LinkedIn groups as your online community.
Joining groups where you can interact with like-minded professionals is a highly effective way to establish and grow your social network online. Joining groups that are relevant to your practice area helps you create a valuable network of professionals who may eventually turn into good referral sources for your firm.
These groups are diverse and you can find groups that are very topic-specific or those that are broader, such as industry-specific groups. And if there is not a group that serves your interests, you can always start your own.
Whichever groups you join, just be sure to participate, even if it’s just adding your commentary to other posts.
- Use LinkedIn ProFinder.
There are a lot of people who are not even aware that LinkedIn has a pretty robust freelance search tool called ProFinder. This tool lets people search across the LinkedIn network for a wide range of professionals, including attorneys in many areas of practice:
To most effectively use ProFinder for lead generation, you must have your profile in great working order. That means putting on your SEO hat and ensuring that the keywords people who need your services would use are included in your profile. You also need to structure your profile to portray you as an expert in your practice area.
LinkedIn uses what they call a concierge team to determine which profiles appear first on a particular page, so using best SEO practices for your profile will help you rank higher in search on ProFinder.
- Build your brand with content.
LinkedIn is a great venue to get real traction for your professional content since those who frequent the platform typically enjoy longer articles than those users on Facebook and Twitter. So if you have an article where you really get into the weeds on a particular legal topics, you can generally find more interest in it from like-minded professionals in your circle.
But you don’t have to create 2,000+-word articles to get attention on LinkedIn. If you’ve read something in a professional publication you believe will interest your followers, by all means share it. Adding your own spin to it is even better. Remember, you want to use this platform to continually be building your brand as an expert (without actually saying the word “expert” if your bar association forbids it) in your practice area.
- Publish across platforms.
Cross-posting your LinkedIn content on Facebook and Twitter will not only increase the audience for your content, it will also spread your LinkedIn profile far and wide.
- Connect like crazy.
LinkedIn is for networking and making connections and to be successful on this platform means you have to reach out to people. LinkedIn will import your address book and search your email account to suggest connections. Then you simply send those people a connection request and soon your network will be up and running.
Connect with potential clients. The first task in connecting with potential clients on LinkedIn is finding them:
- Use the site’s search features to look by industry or to see if you have any first- or second-degree connections at companies you think might benefit from your services.
- If you have a first-tier connection to a prospect, call that connection or shoot them an email asking for an introduction.
- Use the InMail feature to invite people to connect with you. Be sure you provide some context for the connection.
- When you receive an alert that one of your connections is celebrating a work anniversary or has a new job, use that as an opportunity to reconnect with them to rekindle your professional relationship.
- When you receive a LinkedIn alert that someone has viewed your profile, send that person an InMail and ask if you can help them. They may have looked at your profile because they need an attorney!
Connect with referral sources. LinkedIn provides probably the best opportunity of any social media site to cultivate referral sources. Here’s how:
- Join LinkedIn groups that align with your practice area. You are much more likely to be able to drive traffic to your profile from participating in groups.
- Start your own LinkedIn group to attract likeminded connections and showcase your expertise.
- Use status updates to post relevant blog posts, articles, announcements, press releases or alerts to your connections. Also post to your LinkedIn groups.
- Search your connections’ networks for potential referral sources and then ask for an introduction.
Stepping up your game on LinkedIn will yield you an ongoing supply of new leads and referral sources if you just follow these tips.