For most service based organisations, they can invest squillions into restructuring, advertising, processes, logos etc. But the most common thing organisations seem to forget is that their people are their brand. Service offering organisations like law firms don’t have a product. We don’t have a fancy piece of technology that can be touched, seen, heard etc. You are our brand. Accept it.
Embrace it. You represent us.
LinkedIn has introduced as part of many law firm’s social media strategies into to assist lawyers in promoting the firm’s brand, and to help lawyers in their business development efforts.
LinkedIn can be used as a powerful tool to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. But how can you really make it worth your while? How can you use the social network to generate new business?
You should be using LinkedIn as a way to connect with your referrers and other professionals within the legal industry. However, simply accepting connection requests isn’t going to cut it. Do you think that the third largest social networking site would have attained over 260 million members by making the site’s main feature the accepting and declining of connection invitations? I don’t think so.
So why is it that so many people have a LinkedIn profile and do nothing with it? Most likely, they don’t understand how they can make the most of their presence on the social network.
We all know LinkedIn gives us the opportunity to read other user’s content, share that content, and participate in discussion groups etc. – So how do we make these features benefit you?
Like going to a professional development seminar with no pen, being on LinkedIn and not using these other features is exactly the same thing – absolutely pointless.
What’s the point of using the features?
Sharing articles, participating in active discussion groups, connecting and communicating with your professional contacts is utilising LinkedIn. Demonstrating your expertise and knowledge by sharing topical articles that relate to your practice shows your network that you know your stuff.
Why? To keep you top of mind. However, simply clicking ‘share’ won’t cut it, but complimenting the article with a two to three sentence status will help. Of course doing it regularly also assists.
Let’s say there is an IP lawyer who regularly shares articles with her network in discussion groups that relate to trademarks or copyright and accompanies the article with a two to three sentence status summarising the article’s main contention or commenting on its relevance to her network. She has been doing this for 6 months. It’s routine for her. She followed trade press even before LinkedIn, so it’s not much of a task for her now. When the time comes where someone in her network needs IP advice, who do you think they are going to think of first? ‘Isabelle IP’ who regularly shares articles or ‘Nomatters Natalie’ who doesn’t even know where the share button is?
Now let’s assume you’re really motivated and you really want to take advantage of these free features. You post articles, write statuses, join groups and participate in discussions for two months. And you notice that none of your work is from your social media efforts.
My response: Of course you won’t get any work out of it straight away! Nothing in marketing or business development is instant. It takes time, possibly years – but Goldman Sachs wasn’t built in a day. (it took 145 years to be exact). Play at it. Because when someone in your network is hit with legal action, you will most likely be top of mind.
To be a fairly active user on LinkedIn only takes 10 – 15 minutes two to three times a week. Go on give it a shot. Make it part of your routine and wait for the results!