In this two part series, we’ll be providing some information to help commercial law firms get started on LinkedIn and also help lawyers improve their individual LinkedIn profiles.
For a law firm, it’s important that LinkedIn is utilised at two levels; the lawyer’s individual LinkedIn accounts and the firm’s company LinkedIn account.
The individuals’ accounts and firm account reinforce each other to create greater followers and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) across all accounts.
For those not familiar with SEO, it’s the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines such as Google or Bing.
To get the most out of LinkedIn, we recommend:
For a demonstration on how to implement any of the suggestions in this article, please see our webinar: LinkedIn for Beginners
Individual LinkedIn Profiles
How to Improve Your Profiles
1. Adding All Email Addresses
The first step is to add all your email addresses, including from previous roles in other organisations. LinkedIn will search your gmail/yahoo/hotmail, etc contacts to see who is already on LinkedIn. It will also use the configuration of your organisational emails to find others on LinkedIn who are or have been at the same organisation.
This allows you to expand your number of connections and the more connections you have, the more likely it is that third parties will find you through their own network of contacts.
The more contacts, the fewer the degrees of separation between you and the people that you want to find you on LinkedIn.
A Bit of Background on LinkedIn
LinkedIn ranks people in relation to how close they are to you:
In a practical sense, this means you can only send invitations to second degree contacts and for third degree contacts, you can only view some of the information and you can’t contact them. Finally, there is very limited information you can obtain about anyone who is not a first, second or third degree contact unless you have a sales navigator account.
So, the more contacts you can make by inputting different email addresses, the more second degree connections you can generate. This increases the likelihood that the right people will be able to view your profile and get in touch.
2. Change Your Personal LinkedIn URL to Your Name
LinkedIn generates a unique URL for your profile. By changing this URL to include your name and perhaps your company name as well, you can increase your SEO. In a practical sense, that means if someone types your name into Google, they are much more likely to find your LinkedIn profile.
3. Follow and Connect with Your Clients
This may sound obvious, but you would be surprised how many people don’t think to do this.
The benefits are clear. Connecting to your clients' company LinkedIn profile is a great way to keep up with what is happening within their organisation. It can provide insights on the company's projects and strategic direction which can help you sound informed and interested when speaking to individuals at the company.
Connecting with the individuals you know (and perhaps some you don't know) within your client companies also helps with the growth of your firm’s LinkedIn profile. If your staff share your content, your clients will see it and follow. Your clients’ contacts will then also see the content and hopefully follow your firm’s LinkedIn profile as well, and so on. Of course, connecting with individuals also helps you keep track of their movements, eg. promotions or if they move on, etc.
How to Make Your LinkedIn Profile More Professional
The photo sets the tone of your profile, so if it doesn't look professional, your profile won't appear professional either.
There are some basic rules. Don’t use blurry photos or photos cropped from a group shot. Also, photos taken in a casual environment like a sports game or your backyard don’t look professional. Avatars and selfies are also unacceptable.
Depending on the size of your firm, it may be worthwhile to get a professional photographer who specialises in head shots to come into your firm and take everyone’s photos on the same day. This way, all the photos will be posed and framed the same way and have the same background. These photos can be distributed to staff to upload to their LinkedIn profile and also used for your website and marketing collateral.
2. ‘About’ Section
The ‘About’ section of your profile is very important, so make your summary as good as you can. Many people won't bother to scroll further, so put all the most impressive information here – awards, special accreditations, honours, unique specialisations, years of experience, testimonials, etc.
3. Update Your Profile
As a professional, your work email address should be visible on your LinkedIn account. Your work email address will need to be your primary email address on LinkedIn before it can be made visible.
How to Improve Your SEO
To boost your SEO, the best thing to do is to post material consistently. Sites that are constantly adding or updating material are higher on Google rankings. Activity gets noticed by the Google search engine and the more, the better.
1. Join More Groups
If you join more groups, it decreases the 'degrees of difference' between you and the people you may want to connect with in future. Also, it generates activity on your LinkedIn account which helps with SEO.
You don’t have to participate in any of the group's activities, but it does help your SEO if you do.
2. Follow Some Influencers
Follow some 'influencers' in the industry you work in. If you comment on their content, this is another easy way of constantly creating activity on your profile which helps improve your SEO.
3. Push Out Content
There are some very quick and easy ideas to generate content that doesn’t take too much time or effort.
- Participate in polls and share your vote
- Share interesting insights or posts from your connections
- Participate in group discussions
- Let your connections know if you’re giving a seminar or presenting at a conference
- Post about any projects (non-client related) you may be working on, eg. Community/charity, environmental, certifications/qualifications, pro bono, work anniversaries, etc.
- Keep updating your profile – any awards, accreditations, other accomplishments
- Post about events you attend that your connections may find interesting
- Share links to interesting websites with your connections
In Part 2, we will focus on how to improve the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for the firm’s LinkedIn account and how to measure its success on LinkedIn over time.