Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Three Ways to Use LinkedIn to Build Your Law Practice

It hurts to admit this. And I never thought I would.
But I like LInkedIn.
I really do.
I think that’s because LinkedIn takes a lot of the “social” out of social media and gets down to business. And if you ‘re one of those people who doesn’t care about tweeting from every restaurant you go to, lamenting your latest relationship or sharing videos of your 2-year-old nephew’s latest antics, then Linkedin provides a great forum for you and your firm.
It does so in a number of ways.
First, LinkedIn offers the opportunity to highlight your professional accomplishments. But as, if not more important, it allows law firms a platform for “bragging” about the organization’s accomplishments. This can be as simple as just having a company page on the site or as detailed as adding “showcase” pages highlighting specific practice groups and/or legal services. Content relative to such groups or services can then be posted onto these showcase pages. If your organization is already developing content for other social media sites, a blog or the firm newsletter, then having something to post becomes relatively easy.
Second, in addition to its content publishing capabilities, as a social media site, LinkedIn obviously allows you to build personal networks of professional connections. Where it departs from other types of social media is in its ability to facilitate interaction with what it labels as second and third connections. Reaching out to friends and colleagues (i.e., first connections) is a no-brainer. But attempting to meet (online or off) second connections opens up a world of opportunity. And you do it by actually working off of your first connections. For example, in reviewing the connections of your connections, you notice that your friend Suzy is also connected to Joe, the head of that big bank you’ve been trying to get in to see for years. By reaching out to Suzy, you can ask for a “warm” introduction to Joe. And we all know that warm leads will top cold ones any day of the week.  There are actually systems you can put into place that allow you to explore the connections of your connections as based on very specific criteria on a regular and automated basis.
Finally, there are the LinkedIn groups which allow users to reach out to individuals in the same industry, from the same college, with similar interests or who may be potential clients of the firm.  I say “reaching out,” but I could just as easily say “targeting,” because that is what using the groups (and the aforementioned second degree connections) allows you to do – target. In some ways, it can even replace the renting of lists in your marketing arsenal. If your firm is marketing B2B services, then developing a program through Linkedin may actually be more effective (and less costly) than doing so through such lists of addresses, email addresses or telephone numbers.  That is because, on LinkedIn, the data is usually more up-to-date, the individuals have elected to be involved and the opportunity for warmer referrals is significantly greater.
There’s a lot more to it, but I believe LinkedIn has the potential to be a great marketing tool for law firms – particularly now when the number of individuals on board has reached a critical mass. Like anything else, it does require some elbow grease, but the results can be well worth it. 
If you would like more information on how we can help you publish content online and build your social media network, contact us at (856) 810-0400.

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