Are you leveraging social media to make your law practice visible to potential clients? We’re not talking about Twitter. That’s where you go for news and information as it happens in real-time. We’re not talking about Instagram either, because, let’s face it – that’s an entirely visual platform created for sharing photos and video content.
What we mean is leveraging the largest professional networking site to attract new clients and establish yourself as a thought leader in the field of law you specialize in. At this point, you might ask – Why use LinkedIn at all?
For starters, the platform has 722+ million active users, 170 million of whom are in the US alone. That’s 170 million potential clients who might not know anything about your firm. Even tapping into just one percent of that pool translates into a whopping 1.7 million prospects.
To do this, you’ll need to focus on building a personal brand. This begins with creating the perfect lawyer LinkedIn profile. Here’s how to do it.
Your “personal brand” is quite simply how you differentiate yourself from other lawyers in your field. It’s the lens through which people view you. It’s a combination of how people see you in real life, the impression they get from the information that comes up when they Google your name, and even how the media portrays you. All these feed into your personal brand. It is the impression your existing and potential clients have of you.
Why is LinkedIn important when building a personal brand? The answer to this is simple – It ensures that people see you the way you want them to, as opposed to viewing you in some arbitrary and, quite possibly, detrimental light.
The first step involves using a professional LinkedIn profile picture for your page. According to LinkedIn, users with a profile photo receive 21 times more profile views than those without.
Make sure your photo looks like you. Don’t be tempted to make yourself appear older or younger. This may be misleading for someone who meets you in real life after they view your profile.
Get a professional photographer to take your headshot photo. Whatever you do, don’t take a selfie!
Never skip an opportunity to communicate something about your personal brand and practice to your audience. The best lawyer LinkedIn profiles have a customized cover photo that visually reinforces the written portions of their profiles.
Use stock photos that communicate the messaging you’re trying to project or have a graphic designer or professional photographer create one for you. Using the generic photo that comes with your profile sends a powerful message to your page visitors that you don’t pay too much attention to detail, or worse, that you’re lazy.
No hard and fast rule says your headline has to be your job title. As mentioned before, every opportunity is a chance to give prospective clients an idea of who you are.
Use the 120 characters provided to communicate what you do, your field of practice, and what it is that sets you apart from the competition. It needs to be able to grab your audience’s attention without sounding gimmicky. Ensure that you’re clear on the specific legal expertise and specialties you offer.
Next, you need to learn how to write a LinkedIn summary that draws in anyone who visits your profile. It’s the next place people inevitably land on once they view your name, image, and headline. Use this portion as an “elevator pitch,” – which you’ve undoubtedly perfected by this point in your career. Be creative and focus on telling a compelling story about yourself rather than just listing your accomplishments.
Keep your keywords in mind when crafting a summary. Remember, there are 722+ million users in the database. You want to target those typing queries into the search bar related to your specific field of practice. The idea is for your LinkedIn profile to appear among the top suggestions for the listings containing the relevant search keywords.
For instance, if your specialty lies in criminal law, ensure your summary contains keywords like “criminal attorney,” “defense attorney,” “criminal lawyer US,” “best criminal defense lawyer,” and other relevant phrases.
Since the summary section of your profile is likely to be the longest, ensure you follow writing best practices to increase the chances of your page visitors taking the time to read it. It includes breaking up large chunks of text with bullet points, using basic formatting, and proofreading what you wrote to correct any spelling and grammar errors.
Leaving this out is a classic rookie mistake. It doesn’t matter how compelling your LinkedIn profile is. If you don’t provide a way for prospective clients to reach you, it’s all a zero-sum game.
Include details like your firm’s website URL, email address, and work phone number to make it easier for potential clients to get in touch with you. The easier it is for people to get a hold of you, the more likely they’ll be to do so.
Once you have your profile information down to a T, the next step involves building a relationship with your audience. You do this by learning how to post on LinkedIn.
You can use LinkedIn Publisher to create captivating blog posts or share compelling articles on your page to spark debate and discussions. Remember, you’re looking to build your brand, expand your network, create new mutually-beneficial relationships, and establish yourself as a thought leader in your field of practice.
The idea is to remain active on the platform so that you’re always at the top of people’s minds when they eventually need your services. Keep in mind that remaining active goes beyond simply posting content. You also need to understand your audience’s behavior to figure out the best time to post on LinkedIn. That way, you get the highest level of engagement.
For maximum visibility, post from 8-10 a.m. and/or noon on Wednesday, 9 a.m. on Thursday, and 9 a.m. and/or 1-2 p.m. on Friday. Sunday is generally the worst day to post on the platform.
Creating the perfect lawyer LinkedIn profile is the first step towards leveraging the networking site marketing and referrals. It is what a potential client will see before they reach out to you for your services, so make sure it appeals to them.
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