• How lawyers can leverage LinkedIn to Attract Prospects

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    LinkedIn® is one of the most powerful ways to expand your professional network, control your law firm's 'brand' and generally increase your online visibility - if you know how to harness that power. 

    LinkedIn® is a free service, but they also offer a paid service that gives you even more detailed information about users who have viewed your profile. LinkedIn® is referenced as a 'referring' site in Google analytics.

    When running a SEO (search engine optimization) campaign or just using Google analytics as an analysis tool, you can see exactly how much traffic has been directed to your website specifically from LinkedIn, helping you gauge the effectiveness of your marketing and networking efforts. 

    With over 237 million members in over 200 countries, LinkedIn® has quickly become THE "go to" business-to-business directory and the most popular social networking platform dedicated to professional business development. Learning how to use LinkedIn® to your biggest advantage takes time and effort, but it is time well spent.

     

    It is important to know what LinkedIn® can help you accomplish:

    1. Build new relationships with your target market
    2. Establish and foster relationships with referral partners
    3. Strengthen the relationships you currently have  
    4. Increase your visibility online
    5. Enhance your personal brand
    6. Exchange and distribute information
    7. Obtain new inquiries and new business leads.

    To be effective, you will need to spend some time each week to keep your profile up to date and add new information about your practice area. LinkedIn® is always in the process of improving its site and adding new features that have the potential to increase the power of your professional network. For instance, it has a feature called InMaps which offers a visual representation of what your LinkedIn® networks look like.
     
    InMaps can show how your connections form groups, displaying very clearly how your connections are related to one another. It will also help you identify links within your professional associations you were not aware of, giving you the opportunity to expand your connections. 

    InMaps is very easy to use; simply visit the InMaps website (http://inmaps.linkedinlabs.com) and grant it permission to connect to your LinkedIn® account. InMaps will sort through your contacts and present you with a map of your affiliations. You will see different clusters of closely linked colleagues, and classmates and friends will appear as similarly colored groups.
     
    Within these groups, contacts whose names appear larger represent those who have the largest number of connections within the cluster, so by clicking on a contact within any circle, you can see their profile and how they are connected to your other contacts! 

    In the coming months, LinkedIn® will have the capability for one-click addition of your Facebook contacts into LinkedIn®, a highly anticipated application! 

    Here are some of the top tips from lawyers who have leveraged LinkedIn® to their advantage and gained new clients from its smart use:

    1. Keyword load your title and bio! Put in as much information about yourself and your law firm practice areas as you can. Use the same keywords prospects would use to search for an attorney in your practice area on Google. For example, in your title instead of putting non-helpful terms like:  , Shareholder, Owner, or Lawyer ; be descriptive: Stafford  Divorce Lawyer or  Gold Coast Workers Compensation Lawyer or Commercial Litigation Lawyer . 
    2. Upload A Photo. A profile with no picture is a bad thing. LinkedIn® is a social network for business professionals so your photo should convey that. Stay away from the photo of you on the golf course or holding a glass of wine. If you don't have a professional headshot, they are available from any photography business for a nominal fee or simply have a someone take a photo of you on your smartphone and upload it from there. 
    3. Use The Headline Below Your Profile To Make People Want to Know More. When you set up your profile, LinkedIn® uses your name, title or position as your headline, but you can edit this to make it more powerful. Think of your headline as your professional tagline. Describe the type of lawyer you are and the type of work you do. Don't list more than two areas of law here, as you want to appear as a specialist. Specialists generate more referrals than generalists. 
    4. Use The "Sharebox" Often. This is where you will find the social power of LinkedIn®. This area allows you to add a brief update of what you are doing, any new professional certifications you have received, interesting cases or any other information you feel comfortable sharing. This is a great place to put a small snippet from your blog to tell people what you are thinking or writing about. Here are a few other ideas: 
    • Ask people to like your Facebook fan page
    • Tell people what projects you are working on
    • Update them about a new staff person you recently added
    • Educate them about who your perfect client is
    • Ask them a pertinent question
    • Invite them to sign up for your monthly newsletter
    • Tell them what you learned at a seminar or conference you recently attended

    Educate them about a new law that was just passed or a court ruling

    1. Include All Your Web Links. You can add up to three links to your firm's websites. There are default settings, but these are also customizable.
    2. Make Your Profile Public. Remember, it's called "social media" for a reason-you need to be social. Be sure to make your LinkedIn® profile "public", which means all the information you put in it is available to search engines to make it easier for people to find and connect with you. 
    3. Don't Use The Same Copy For Your Summary As Your Bio. This is the place to position yourself as the go-to attorney in your particular practice area and geographical region. Focus on key practice areas, what your perfect client looks like, who you want to connect with, how you work with clients, and what makes you different from other attorneys out there.
    4. Use LinkedIn® Groups. LinkedIn® Groups can be a very effective way to increase your visibility among niche audiences, like your target market. I recommend you start by listening before diving in. There are some places you should start, such as alumni groups and groups in the industry segments you follow. 

     

    1. Add LinkedIn® To Your Email Signature. Most lawyers  put their contact information in their email signature; add a link to your LinkedIn® account.  
    2. Take the Relationship Offline. When you connect with a potential referral source on LinkedIn® make a point to like or comment on a few of their status updates. Since most people love it when someone notices their update, it is highly likely they will check out your profile. Do this a few times over a period of a week or two. They will begin to recognize your face and name.

    Then reach out to them on LinkedIn® using the "send a message" feature. Mention that you have been following their updates and found them very useful. Perhaps you have even passed one on to a client of yours. Invite them to meet for lunch so you can learn more about their business.