Utilizing LinkedIn will not only build your legal network, but it will allow you to reach and gain more clients.
LinkedIn is the number one social media network for businesses and law firms, and believe it or not, it is utilized in almost every country in the world. LinkedIn has 80 million users, and it’s estimated that a new member joins every second.
So that means 80 million people who might be your next client, right? Wrong. What LinkedIn doesn’t tell you, is that you are only as visible as the size of your network. So if you have a small (5 million or less) network (1st, 2nd, 3rd tier + group members) you are missing out on both your own ability to be seen by others, as well as the ability to find and target strategic clients for your law firm.
Steps to Growing your Network:
- ONLY invite people already using LinkedIn when using LinkedIn’s connection tool. (Due to 3K limit)
- Join Groups that have a lot of members (toplinked, LinkedHR, Open Networkers) as well as law groups such as Legal Marketing Association (that I’m apart of). You can join up to 50 groups – which will grow your network.
- Go to www.toplinked.com/top50.html and invite the top linked people (who have less than 30K connections – another limit imposed by LinkedIn)
- Join www.opennetworker.com (an affiliate site) and for $49 a year YOU will receive invitations – from complete strangers – but they might know someone you need to know. (And you can use this opportunity to ‘touch’ new folks who might become a client.)
Targeting your Ideal Client
Once you have grown a decent-sized network, you will have access to more people, including target clients:
- Use the Advanced Search feature, which will allow you to specifically target the “type” of person who would make an ideal client (sort by “relevance” and “expanded” view). Use a Boolean Search (AND, OR, NOT “”). Invite the strategic people you find to connect using Groups, if possible, or get “Introduced” through a mutual connection.
- Find and “follow” ideal clients in groups. (This is not the same as connecting – but gives you many of the same benefits). Use search within the member section of a group (Boolean).
- Search “law firms” to find key people you might want to connect with (a wealth a valuable information is often over-looked here).
- Use the new “tagging” option in your LinkedIn contacts list once you are connected (only good for 1st level).
- Download vCards of your 1st level connections and organize them using Outlook, Act, Apple Mail, etc.
Optimizing Your Profile:
- Your LinkedIn Profile is your professional identity, autobiography, brochure or ad on LinkedIn. Think of it as a website showcasing your career and your law firm. Like any brochure, make sure your content is grammatically correct and free of spelling errors. Use secondary applications like Slideshare.com and Box.net to import legal literature and videos.
- Use the professional headline on your profile to share your areas of expertise and interest. You have 200 characters to work with. This field is weighted heavily in both the LinkedIn search and Google search, so use your keywords.
- Use the summary section to expand upon information in your profile. This section is searchable, so include keywords that are appropriate for your industry (example: law firm, legal, practice areas, etc.). Sometimes it’s easier to write your summary in a Word document first and then cut/paste it into LinkedIn. This allows you to check spelling and grammar, as well as create attractive formatting with bullets and spacing. The most common symbols and bullets will transfer over. You have 2,000 characters to use.
- Change the link/url in your Profile by editing Public Profile so that it includes your name, your law firm and/or practice area expertise (www.linkedin.com/in/legalmarketingexpert) and include it in your email signatures, business card and resume.
- Put ALL your job titles in the Title Field of the “experience” section. This field is also heavily ranked in a LinkedIn Search.
By creating a rich profile, and taking advantage of the many tools LinkedIn provides, you’ll make the contacts you need to expand your practice.