With over 330 million users, LinkedIn has become the fastest growing social network out there, far outpacing Facebook and Twitter. Savvy attorneys recognize the social media platform’s powerful potential as a marketing tool.
Networking & Prospecting on LinkedIn
First and foremost, LinkedIn is a networking behemoth that allows you to identify, connect with, and foster strategic partnerships with potential referral sources. Elder care attorneys can connect with local long term care providers, estate planning attorneys with funeral home directors and financial advisors, and real estate attorneys with accountants and CPAs.
LinkedIn is also a powerful tool for both finding clients in your target market and being found by them. Now, I’m not claiming that most folks think to themselves, “Hey, I need an attorney, let me browse for one on LinkedIn.” However, studies have shown that 71% of consumers are more likely to do business with a firm they have a social media connection with. By creating a strong profile and being active in relevant LinkedIn Groups, you allow prospects to become familiar with you and your firm, making them more likely to retain you.
The platform’s advanced search feature can be used to search for prospects by keywords, relationships, groups, location and industry.
Optimize Your Profile
Establishing a strong presence on LinkedIn is fairly easy to do, but requires some commitment. Here are five quick steps you can take today to improve your LinkedIn presence:
- Customize Your Link. Doing so will make you easier to find, plus visitors are more likely to click on a specific profile with a branded URL, rather than a generic link with random numbers (www.linkedin.com/in/ritachaires vs. www.linkedin.com/in/123456).
- Add a Professional Profile Picture. By displaying your actual picture, rather than LinkedIn’s default silhouette, you’re demonstrating your authenticity and inspiring trust. The image should be a color headshot and, if at all possible, should not resemble a mug shot.
- Enhance with Keywords. LinkedIn is a search engine unto itself, so placing keywords that are relevant to your practice area throughout your profile enables you to be found by the algorithm and ranked at the top of search results. That could be a huge advantage when prospects are searching LinkedIn for someone in your practice area. Keywords can easily be added to the Summary, Experience, Interests, and Skills sections of your profile.
- Complete Every Section.
- Headline – This field is indexed by search engines, so be sure to include your title, practice area and any other important information
- Education – Don’t stop with your law school; include your undergraduate education as well as any other institutions you’ve studied at. You never know when an alumn might be searching for an attorney
- Publications – Add links to all of the content you’ve created, including articles, presentations, and even video
- Volunteer Experience – Include any positions you’ve held on committees and any pro bono work you’ve done
- Skills – You can add up to 50 skills so this is a great section to include all of your target keywords
- Honors & Awards
- Make Quality Connections. A lot of them. There’s a great debate over whether it’s best to obtain a huge number of generic connections or to focus on quality connections that are more likely to lead to engagement. While LinkedIn doesn’t disclose the components of their ranking algorithm, some speculate that the more connections you have, the higher you rank. Others dispute that and suggest that engagement is more important. What’s the sense in having 1,000 connections if you never interact with any of them? Perhaps you’re better off having fewer connections with whom you actually have discussions and exchange information with. Those are the connections that are most likely to lead to a professional relationship.
I think the best course of action here is to focus on quality, but to strive to continuously growing your network. Commit to making new connections each week, join relevant groups, and engage in discussions.
Done right, you can leverage LinkedIn to establish yourself as an authority in your field, develop valuable professional relationships and turn your profile into a lead generating machine.
SEO and Social Media Manager
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555