How Legal Professionals Can Leverage LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for inbound marketing – but it has a unique audience with specific requirements
Two new users joined LinkedIn by the time you opened this article and scrolled past the image. LinkedIn is the world’s largest network of its kind in existence. Is it bigger than Facebook? No. But Facebook is a social media network. LinkedIn is a professional network, and it’s your digital entrée to prospecting in the 21st century.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for inbound marketing, and it’s the only platform that specializes in business networking. Nearly 80% of its members are 35 years or older, almost 40% of them earn over $75,000 annually, and at least half of all American college graduates are participants. Does this sound like who you want to reach? Here’s how you can use LinkedIn to prospect.
Polish your profile
Your firm should have a profile and each member should have an individual profile – start with the firm’s first. We all know what’s said about first impressions. Invest in professional photography. Don’t go crazy with legal jargon, but do sum up your firm with a concise benefit statement so prospects don’t have to figure out how you can help them. Don’t go keyword-crazy, but do embed those which help people find you. These keywords should be about their problems, not your solutions.
You have a choice of using a company page or showcase pages. Does you firm specialize? You’ll likely find a company page works best. If you have several specialty areas, the showcase pages can help you promote these distinct areas. Generally, if you have a compact target audience, just a company page will do.
Once you’ve got your firm’s page polished up, it’s time to turn the attention to the profile of each associate. Don’t skimp on an impactful headshot for everyone. These are especially important because the images will be prominently featured on mobile devices. Don’t forget to take advantage of the background photo; it’s a great opportunity to associate each member with the firm.
There are plenty of best practices associated with building a profile. It’s up to you to view LinkedIn power user profiles and adopt what works best. Continuity is your ally. Yes, these profiles are opportunities to present individual characteristics of the team, but they are also a way to present a united brand message about your company’s value proposition.
Last but not least, your company and individual profiles are not meant to be static. Keep them updated. Use the built-in functionality that allows your network of followers to be notified whenever something is changed or added.
LinkedIn will ask for permission to sync with your email accounts. It’s an excellent way to build a measurable network right away. The platform will also find your off-network contacts. It wasn’t always this way, but LinkedIn now helps connect people who don’t know each other but have much in common. And hey, isn’t that pretty much what a prospect is?
While the LinkedIn mobile version is great, it doesn’t always give you the complete functionality of the desktop version. Make it a best practice to customize every invitation to connect that you send out to prospects. There are also limits on how many people you can invite to connect. Choose your prospects wisely.
One way to keep from inviting yourself into a limit is to be active in LinkedIn’s groups. There are more than 2 million of them. Join the ones your clients belong to – you’ll find prospects there, as well. It’s a no-brainer to seek out groups with legal topical discussions. Those are fine, but think about topics representing your prospect’s problems, rather than merely your solutions. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it was the advice about keywords you read just a minute ago.
Look for active groups. Big means nothing if the last time someone posted to one was over a month ago. Your contributions are ways to start establishing yourself – and your firm – as a subject authority. The majority of LinkedIn groups are moderated, so keep in mind that you’ll lose the privilege of membership if you push too hard with self-promotion.
Publish! Publish! Publish!
LinkedIn continues to evolve, and one thing it’s done to help content and inbound marketing succeed is to transform itself into a major publishing hub. It used to be open only to “influencers,” but now anyone can contribute. How powerful is it? LinkedIn says that these hosted articles get seven times more views than member updates.
If you’re already a believer that content is key to your inbound marketing efforts (and it is), you’ll want to frequently publish. It’s not just good for finding prospects on LinkedIn. Google and LinkedIn play nice together, so articles published on LinkedIn can generate great results in search rankings, too.
Finally, upgrade to a paid premium membership. It allows you to see who’s viewed your profile. Talk about a hot potential prospect!
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