Make it rain on LinkedIn

By Sandra Bekhor November 30, 201830 November 2018

Make it rain on LinkedIn

 

A few short years ago, LinkedIn was a single bullet in a law firm marketing plan, if that. Now, lawyers are asking themselves whether they might need a complete marketing plan dedicated to LinkedIn.

Some do. Some don’t. It depends on your audience. 

While LinkedIn isn’t necessarily the best fit for a personal injury lawyer targeting the general public, it might be just the ticket for a commercial litigator targeting large businesses or a criminal lawyer targeting referrals from complimentary professionals.

It comes down to this: If your audience is there, it stands to reason that opportunity is there too. It may take a bit of creativity to maneuver it. But that’s what any successful marketing campaign would take, online or off. 

So, the question is this. If LinkedIn is a fit for your firm, how do you craft a plan that propels you from wallflower to rainmaker?

Reach beyond all-star

From photo to education, past jobs and skills, LinkedIn’s bots will prod you to complete your profile to an all-star level. And getting there is good. But you haven’t reached the finish line. The gap between LinkedIn all-star and LinkedIn rainmaker is wide and deep.

To advance beyond all-star, you will need text that doesn’t just inform, but actually connects. Text that makes people feel supported, understood and empowered.

If this is a firm-wide initiative, consider developing that approach in a more cohesive manner. Here are some questions to guide you:

  • What message do you want to deliver about the firm and the roles of the lawyers and staff?
  • Is there any specific language that needs to be used consistently across profiles?
  • From facial expressions to attire, background, cropping and colours, what is the right look for your headshots?
  • Is there a particular writing style that would embody the firm’s professional identity? If so, how can that best be carried forward on titles, profiles and posts?
  • Does the firm need assistance from a marketing professional to develop this communication strategy and / or to coach the lawyers and staff through implementation? 
  • Do you need a plan to optimize profiles and posts for search results?

Build your connections

LinkedIn’s draw is its ability to broadcast content to a large professional audience easily, quickly and for free. A power that is limited only by the number and fit of your own connections.

So, if you want to use this platform well, you will need to build a robust network. Send invitations to clients, referrers, classmates, peers from previous jobs, people in your community, family and friends. Give special consideration to people you know who know the people you want to know. 

There are lots of approaches to do this, from manually searching for specific individuals to batch exporting contacts or scanning companies and institutions for old acquaintances.

To further expand your network to new contacts, ask your connections to introduce you to their connections. Or, you can reach out directly with a personal note to introduce yourself.

This is a networking site. Follow the same best practices you would at a networking event. Be friendly. Be helpful. Be focused. And remember that the right people will want to connect with you.

Engage your community

Think about your objectives for the site. Who is your target market? How can you get in front of that audience?

  • When you post content, your audience can see it. If they respond, your content becomes visible to all of their connections. So, consider how to engage with individuals that are connected to your target market.
  • To go a step further, identity people who are not only connected to your market, but who have the ability to influence them. Consider how you can engage those individuals to generate higher authority likes, comments and shares of your content.
  • Join groups that target your market. Seek active groups that present the opportunity to engage with other members.
  • Offer to write recommendations and ask to receive them.
  • Be aware that not everything on LinkedIn happens on the main stage. You can also go behind the scenes, with direct messages to continue to build existing relationships. 

And remember, engaging your community on LinkedIn is good. But it will only take you so far. A rainmaker knows when to pick up the phone, meet for coffee or attend an event.

Develop a big idea to tie it all together

You may want a comprehensive LinkedIn plan, as opposed to just simply having a presence on the site. If so, give some consideration to a larger concept, a strategy that ties all your content together, makes your materials compelling, graphically pops from the clutter and feels connected to your firm’s identity.

LinkedIn may have the numbers. But without a strategy that really connects with your audience, it won’t actually do anything substantial for your firm. If you start a group that really offers something of value, people will join, participate and share. If you post content that offers a point of view, people will react and when they do their networks will see your posts.

Just like any other marketing campaign, it may require finessing. Don’t just stop at the first signs of a challenge. Your LinkedIn plan should account for clear, realistic, goal-oriented metrics and a process to regularly review results so you can assess effectiveness.

LinkedIn is, simply put, an anchor for your law firm marketing plan. At the end of the day, as with other marketing anchors (like, speaking engagements or publications) being successful on LinkedIn hinges on the same key ingredients as other campaigns – focus, strategy and determination!

Sandra Bekhor is a practice management consulting with Bekhor Management. You can find her on her website, and reach her at sandrabekhor@bekhor.ca

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