By Hélène Tournier
In our current remote work environment, LinkedIn has become an increasingly important way to network and maintain visibility. While the American Bar Association reports that 72% of lawyers have a profile on LinkedIn, it remains an underused platform, relegated to a stagnant online resume.Encourage lawyers at your firm to review these five steps to help them take full advantage of this platform.
- Profile: Ensure each lawyer has the basics: an up-to-date profile that is linked to the firm's page, a robust number of contacts and a recent professional headshot. Help them make their profiles memorable through small but impactful upgrades: creating a vanity URL, selecting a striking cover image, and a headline that speaks to the type of law they practice and for what industry.
- Summary: Review the lawyer’s summary with SEO in mind — this section impacts searchability on Google, so it's important to include key terms. Keep this elevator pitch concise (no more than 200 words) and use it to differentiate the lawyer from their competition.
- Engagement: Lawyers should follow their clients’ pages, both business and personal. Liking and commenting on clients’ posts will ensure that practitioners appear in client feeds, taking advantage of cognitive bias. Further configure lawyers’ feeds by following curators and news sources that are relevant to their practice. Encourage your whole team to like and share the firm's and each other's posts — doing this will both expand their personal reach and promote the firm. The LinkedIn algorithm favors posts which quickly accumulate engagement.
- Contributions: Know the difference between being a collector and a contributor. Collectors share other people's content, but contributors take it to the next level by creating content. This will establish your lawyers as thought leaders. They can use LinkedIn to share topical firm alerts they have authored or self-publish directly, which can generate new business. To make posts compelling, lawyers can showcase their interests and knowledge on a subject, include imagery and offer value. To further increase reach, include relevant industry and topic hashtags.
- Leverage: By promoting speaking engagements on LinkedIn, lawyers can expand their reach. Before participating in a webinar, the lawyer should post, tagging the host organization and co-presenters, with a call to action to register. Including the lawyer’s LinkedIn QR code on the contact slide will encourage attendees to connect. After the webinar, the lawyer can post on LinkedIn summarizing the key takeaways. They should connect with attendees before and after the event, reaching out to deepen relationships.
If you need help convincing reluctant lawyers to use the platform, explain that they have control over their professional brand and prime Google real estate, as LinkedIn profiles are among the top results that appear when searching for individuals online. Inform them of how LinkedIn is connected to the firm’s marketing objectives, and showcase a best practice case study with analytics to show its impact. Finally, resolve one of the biggest complaints — email volume — by modifying their email settings for daily or weekly recaps instead of individual emails.
After the market shake-up caused by COVID-19, LinkedIn can serve as a living CRM to keep a pulse on where contacts have landed. By keeping your lawyers steadily engaged on the platform, especially at a time when many are seeking virtual connection, you will help build potential to grow their presence as a thought leader during this uncertain time and beyond.
Hélène Tournier has almost a decade of business development and legal marketing experience on three continents, with some of the most prestigious BigLaw firms globally (Am Law 100, Silver Circle and Africa's largest law firm). She is a trusted adviser to partners in developing and strengthening key client relationships.