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With Social Media Week getting underway, we’re excited to see so much great content and advice around about using social media. To put our own spin on it, we’re looking in depth at how lawyers can use LinkedIn to their best advantage.
Our resident social media expert and Elephant Creative associate Jonathan Pollinger, who runs Intranet Future, has written a handy guide. If you want to get more tips from Jonathan then check out the #SocialTodayShow, every Monday from 8.45am via his live feed on Facebook
Over to Jonathan….
LinkedIn presents a tremendous opportunity for solicitors. The ‘professional’s network’ can play a worthwhile part in any law firm’s marketing strategy. There are many business benefits for solicitors who engage on LinkedIn which all contribute to what is probably the practice’s key goal – generating new business.

linkedin-for-law-firm
• Finding and communicating with prospects
• Building a good local reputation
• Brand awareness and thought leadership to the business community
• Accurate targeting of prospective clients
• Development of relationships with barristers and counsel
• Increased website visits via links and improved SEO

Finding and communicating with prospects

You can seek out prospects on LinkedIn using Advanced Search. This is a great feature which enables you to target and communicate with people who want to do business with you. For example, if you’re a commercial lawyer and you want to contact Managing and Commercial Directors of local companies, you can set up a search and obtain results in 5 minutes.

Once you’re happy with the search criteria you’ve selected, you can save your search making it easier to get updated results the next time you need them. You’ll also be emailed any new results on a weekly basis.

You can then communicate with a prospect by connecting with them or sending them a LinkedIn InMail; LinkedIn’s version of email. Whilst you do need to become a premium member to access, it’s extremely efficient and powerful way to communicate.

It gives you the ability to directly communicate with the 450 million members on LinkedIn, even if you don’t know their email address or phone number.

Building a good local reputation

You can also use Advanced Search on LinkedIn and to find local business people to network with and to demonstrate your knowledge and value. For example, would they find a guide on the latest legislation on employment law useful? Use the new Posts results tab on LinkedIn’s mobile apps to find updates from local businesses that you can engage with and share.
You can also connect with local influencers on LinkedIn. For example, if you practice personal injury law you could develop useful business relationships with health and safety experts, insurance brokers, constructions workers and electricians.
In terms of content, make sure you publish updates and post (blog) about any activity or involvement in the local community. For example, photos from sponsored events and charitable initiatives are likely to prove engaging.

Brand awareness and thought leadership to the wider community

The key to raising awareness of your brand on LinkedIn is to show an interest in others and to get active. More than any other social network, LinkedIn rewards engagement. For example, simply ‘Liking’ an update puts you in the news feed of your connections.
LinkedIn also rewards activity more than any other social network. For example, liking an update will result in the person whose update you’ve liked receiving an update just like other social networks but in addition your action of liking will be published in the news feed of your connections.
You can also use LinkedIn posts (blogs) to provide commentary and advice on the latest legal issues. Posts give you the ability to easily write blogs or articles on LinkedIn. It’s a simple, easy to use system – upload a photo, write your title and the article, hit the publish button and you’re done. Posts are great for raising awareness as all your connections are notified when you publish a new post, plus they might also be seen in the news feed. If you’re lucky LinkedIn will publish to people outside your network too. Encourage discussion and opinion at the end of your posts. For example, ‘I’d love to hear your feedback on how changes in Paternity legislation have affected your workplace. Please leave a comment below’.
The LinkedIn Group – Legal Marketing Network UK carries discussions on all aspects of marketing for law firms. It’s a good place to learn, contribute and network with your peers.

A LinkedIn company page gives your practice a corporate presence on LinkedIn from which you can post updates on news from your practice, links to your blog and website plus relevant articles. A good strategy to employ with your company page is to encourage partners, associates and paralegals to share the updates from the company page onto their personal profiles and therefore into their connections news feeds.

Accurate targeting of prospective clients

LinkedIn advertising allows you to communicate directly with potential clients who are interested in your services. LinkedIn’s advertising platform is easy to use and although pricier than other social networks, is still great value when compared to other forms of paid advertising. The key strength of LinkedIn advertising is being able to target business people who match very specific criteria. All the details contained in users’ profiles such as locations, job title and industry can be used when targeting.

Development of relationships with barrister and counsel

If you’re a law firm who works with a barrister or counsel, you’ll want to maintain a good working relationship. Learn more about them by viewing their profile or practice’s page on LinkedIn and show an interest in their activities, liking and sharing their updates and commenting on any posts. Once connected, you can use the recently revamped LinkedIn messaging feature for private conversations.
LinkedIn is a great resource for networking and developing relationships with other legal professionals. If you need an introduction to a barrister or counsel, ask your 2nd degree connections on LinkedIn if they’ll make an introduction.

Increased website visits via links on social networks and improved SEO

LinkedIn is becoming increasingly important when it comes to attracting more visitors to your website. Ensure that links to your website are included on your page and your associates and partners’ profiles as well as in updates and posts when appropriate. For example, if there’s more information on your website about the subject you’re writing about then make sure you include a link to the relevant page.
As well as gaining visitors from click on links, LinkedIn can also help your website appear higher in search engine results or to use the jargon, it can help your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). It’s not only your website that appears in search results but your brand gets exposure from other web assets too. Your LinkedIn page and associated and partner profiles are all surfaced in results and will help people find you.

Conclusion

In summary, there are risks regarding professionalism and confidentiality but like any other company, a law firm should provide training and have a social media policy in place (Elephant Creative can help with both!). For those advising on employment law, then you’ll already be advising clients on this area so you won’t have any problems drafting or updating your own policy.

As can be seen above there are many business benefits to be obtained for law firms and I’ve not even included other areas where LinkedIn can help, such as client services and employee engagement so the case for solicitors using LinkedIn is seriously strong.
Finally, you’re not confined to the desktop. LinkedIn offers a great range of mobile apps that keep you ‘LinkedIn’ when you’re out and about.
Are you a solicitor using LinkedIn? Let us know your experience in the comments below.

 

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