Social Media Marketing for Law Firms Series –
Geoff Burnett* One of the major social media marketing for law firms networks is clearly LinkedIn. Not as loose as Facebook and with a professional, buttoned-down approach, the network has over 660 million users, LinkedIn for lawyers is hands down a must-have network for generating online profile.
LinkedIn is a more ‘professional’ social media network for lawyers both in tone and its requirement for interactivity, unlike Twitter, for instance.
It is also untainted by much of the fluff and spam that has hindered the other major social media networks. That is good for the LinkedIn attorney seeking to market effectively and powerfully.
The fact is that around 80 per cent of US law firms use LinkedIn according to an American Bar Association report, using the network regularly or otherwise, and the stats are similar for other Western jurisdictions like the UK.
It is an ideal network to develop relationships and build trust and authority, but many law firms are poor at setting up and optimizing their LinkedIn account for maximum effect.
Instead, many will simply build their contacts and ‘like’ articles or share their congratulations to those whose posts are highlighted on the platform.
It is badly underused and often does little more than provide a summary or resume of the lawyer or law firm, rather than providing a platform to actively engage with clients.
It is a super-powerful means to generate leads and connections, as well as permitting an ability to promote your skills and abilities to a wide audience.
Why Are Lawyers Dubious About LinkedIn
It appears that many lawyers are dubious about the effectiveness of LinkedIn as a means of using social media marketing for their law firm. They think LinkedIn is ‘quiet’ and relatively non-responsive to law firm marketing activity.
They are, however, wrong.
Reports show that LinkedIn contacts generally watch their LinkedIn feeds and their notifications and it has been shown that most in-house lawyers regularly log-in to LinkedIn and read quality posts from those in their network.
Furthermore, most lawyers will favor LinkedIn over the other social media networks like Twitter and Facebook and use it to build their expertise and to research other counsel and law firms.
But many law firms fail to properly optimized their LinkedIn profile for maximum online marketing and SEO.
Here are 5 key steps that should – as a minimum – be used to ensure your law firm LinkedIn profile is properly set up.
LinkedIn Law Firm Example – Baker & McKenzie
Baker & McKenzie consistently earns top honors for its social media marketing and branding and its LinkedIn page is a good example of how to do it – even though the firm is one of the largest in the world there remain tips for any attorney using LinkedIn to learn here.
With over 270,000 followers the firm is the largest of the AmLaw 200 firms surveyed in their Social Law Firm Index, but the secret here is to have a well thought-threw site with regular postings and plenty of non promotional content. This is not just about marketing – its about building quality content, trust and authority too.
Creating a LinkedIn page gives lawyers using LinkedIn to really harness the power of LinkedIn. Users need to start the process at this link and then
1. Use LinkedIn to Project To Your Law Firm ‘Audience’
Lawyers should know who their audience is anyway for any marketing, but before you start promoting your law firm using social media you need to ensure that you become a thought leader in your geographical/practice area space. LinkedIn is a perfect way to do that.
You don’t need to target every potential client in every area, you are going to succeed much more effectively by targeting an audience that you know is likely to need your professional expertise and provide articles and posts accordingly.
This also means your LinkedIn profile will be tailored to your expertise. The Baker & McKenzie example demonstrates that the firm not only shows its expertise but is also a regular and useful non-promotional content provider on the network – that is a key to its success on the network.
The first and most important step to ensure that your profile is optimized for the platform is to fill out each section completely. The more information you add, the more powerful, robust and complete your profile is.
Are you most interested in finding new professional opportunities for yourself, or promoting your practice within your firm? Perhaps you’re hoping to better position yourself as a thought leader in the legal space so that you can speak at conferences or on podcasts.
Whatever you’re trying to accomplish, think through who you’re hoping to reach to help you with those goals. From there, you can better tailor your profile so it speaks to your target audience.
Target Your Audience
One of the great features with LinkedIn is that you can filter and target the audience you’re after.
You’re able to search people by various filters, including their location, industry, current position, previous positions, school, language and interests. LinkedIn’s advanced search feature is a powerful addition to the marketing armory, even when there is no paid membership.
Using the matched audience tool on LinkedIn permits a powerful ability for LinkedIn lawyers to use this tool, which is like Facebook’s retargeting tool, to reach a target audience.
You can use the LinkedIn matched audience tool to create sponsored content, regular text ads, or even send targeted messages with a sponsored InMail to your selected audience.
Remember that the more professional nature of the LinkedIn audience means they are more interested in your LinkedIn posts and content and your LinkedIn law news. So play that to your advantage by playing the game properly and professionally.
And remember as you post more LinkedIn law content you will also grow your audience. The bigger and better your existing network, the greater your chances of finding warm prospects.
2. Use Your LinkedIn Bio With Great Keywords In Even Better Headlines
The LinkedIn bio for lawyers is a key element to using LinkedIn, along with the subsequent headlines, and are two further reasons why you can use the network’s massive power and audience to reach a wide and potentially lucrative audience.
Part of the ‘bio’ is the image of course. It is very important that this is properly handled for any firm, but particularly for smaller law firms. Don’t overlook the LinkedIn bio for lawyers and its importance.
This requires a little blood sweat and tears here to generate something that is enticing and also clever and well-optimized to reach your audience.
The header image is important, but often overlooked or relegated as a less-than-interesting bit of humbug. But LinkedIn themselves say that professionals using the network are a huge, 14 times more likely to get found on the network with an image with a recent report saying you are 21 times more likely to get views than those without photos. They’re suggested size is 1400 x 425 with a maximum file size of 4MB.
The picture should be of your face, not something taken with your girl or boyfriend 10 years ago or showing your fun time in Honolulu. This is not Facebook – your face is enough, whether you love it or not.
Headlines are always vital in garnering interest and never more so than LinkedIn. After your profile the headline is the next thing that the searchers will see, so make sure it tells the right story.
You need to work on a catchy, informative or enticing headline in 120 characters or less but use keywords that can help you reach your ‘target’ audience in a powerful way.
In doing to, try and be specific. Your law audience is looking for good content not fluff. Don’t use hyperboles to promote your greatness – you’re not Donald Trump after all – but instead create the needed authority, without being boring.
Ideally you should write something that is brief and professional but also trust and convey trust and genuineness. Leave the reader wanting to know more and entice people to click through for that additional information about your firm.
3. Use LinkedIn To Engage Effectively
The nature of a social media network is interactivity and you should not lose that opportunity. LinkedIn requires you to ensure you are regularly sharing content, which will also see a major – up to two-times according to LinkedIn – the engagement that you would otherwise have.
You should also include rich media – images, video and the like – particularly video which can achieve up to five times the engagement that would otherwise be obtained when shared on the network.
We’ve shown below a Big Law example with White & Case who regularly use video on their LinkedIn page and generate very high engagement as a result.
And you can also use business-related hashtags to the page, which lets firms, including small businesses, to associate various conversations and discussions with their brand, entering the hashtag’s feed and interacting from a business, rather than a personal perspective.
LinkedIn Law Firm Example – White & Case
The high video usage used by White & Case permits a far higher engagement and lets their LinkedIn attorneys showcase their experise and the firm’s diversity and other advantages.
Using attorneys in video also creates a nice human dimension to a firm’s otherwise perhaps intimidating image and drives very high usage. In fact, the LinkedIn algorithm actually provides preferential treatment towards video in the same way that Google does with video.
4. Use LinkedIn to Highlight Expertise Through ‘Passive Promotion’
Although LinkedIn should not be used by lawyers to boast and brag, it can nonetheless be as massively effective way to summarise and focus on their expertise.
The trick is not to become some over-hyped kid who is endlessly saying how terrific they are. But many law firms overlook this step when they can use their content to ‘passively promote’ what they do by providing information about legal developments and other developments or issues of interest to clients.
Using content to create conversions is something of an art and LinkedIn have shown that it might take 10 pieces of content to achieve one conversion.
You need to focus on the right, active wording in your writing and create compelling content that informs and/or builds curiosity about an issue.
Entice readers with information or questions that lead them to your site for the full story.
Establishing your credibility is part of the LinkedIn lawyer’s must-have requirements but when doing so don’t be boring in terms of either content or layout.
And a key advantage is to properly use hashtags to help promote your firm. Morgan Lewis (below) are a good example where they use the #wearemorganlewis hashtag to help build their community by having the frequent usage via not only the firm’s content, but also by staffers on their personal pages also.
Remember that the delivery of this content should be properly delivered by using breaks and bullet points rather than writing an academic piece that is ill-suited to a professional social media platform designed to garner interest in a legal topic.
LinkedIn Law Firm Example – Morgan Lewis
5. Use the LinkedIn Network To Leverage Law Groups & Testimonials
You need to use LinkedIn Groups as a way to connect and interact with other lawyers and those seeking legal news about your areas of expertise.
There are over 1 million active groups on LinkedIn.
And you should look at starting your own group if you wish, where you can focus on a particular area of practice and demonstrate not only your own knowledge in the area but also engage with other professionals to build your network and your profile.
It’s a place where you can go to create conversations about what’s happening in your world with the people who will appreciate it most.
And these groups have come a long way from being a confused jumble in the search results of LinkedIn. A good group will be curated and ‘governed’ in a way that should generate useful, interactive communication of genuine value.
By contributing and playing a role in the group you build your own authority and credibility so that you become a ‘LinkedIn lawyer’ who has standing and higher value to colleagues and clients alike.
Use Testimonial ‘Pulling Power’
The use of testimonials is time-proven as a major selling point for any professional or business.
And LinkedIn lets you use its power to generate greater client awareness of what you do and who you are.
Let your network speak on your behalf.
LinkedIn offers the opportunity to feature endorsements and recommendations, and you should take full advantage of these. Ask past clients or colleagues to write a brief review of your work together, or endorse you for particular specialties. It’s best if you can return the favor, so be considerate about who you ask to help in this area.
The LinkedIn For Lawyers Secret
There really is a power of value in properly using LInkedIn for maximum effect and it is an ideal platform for lawyers to use in order to create a powerful online presence. Being useful, relevant and responsible with content via LinkedIn means lawyers can genuinely profit by lifting their exposure massively – and create valuable new clients in the process.k
*Geoff Burnett is a marketing and SEO writer and consultant specialising in social media marketing for professionals.