With more than 400 million people using LinkedIn, including an estimated 800,000 attorneys, LinkedIn has become the most popular business-¬to–business social networking site. In fact, according to the American Bar Association’s TECHREPORT 2014, 56% of law firms and 75% of individual lawyers use LinkedIn for professional purposes. From researching cases to developing new business to seeking local counsel to looking for new employment opportunities, LinkedIn is a valuable tool for attorneys.
However, many lawyers still are unaware of the benefits they can gain from using LinkedIn. We have found reasons you’ll want to harness the power of this in-¬demand social networking platform:
1. Nurture relationships with your existing clients: Once someone becomes your client, you shouldn’t stop working to build your relationship. After all, people do business with people that they feel comfortable with, like and trust – not necessarily because they’re associated with a particular law firm. LinkedIn enables you to stay visible with current clients through ongoing communications via an exclusive client group. You can send articles, blog posts, or other resources to keep them informed about your practice or to provide information related to legal topics they may be interested in. This may also help with client retention.
2. You can build relationships with potential clients: You can use LinkedIn to network for potential clients who need any legal specialty. The people you are currently connected to are your first-¬degree connections. The people who are connected to your first-¬degree connections are second-¬degree connections. You can look through your current connections to see who they are connected to. If you find a second-¬degree connection that you would be interested in connecting with, you can ask your current connection to introduce you to this person. Once the introduction is made, you can follow up with the potential client via phone, email or a face-¬to-¬face meeting. By educating these potential clients about your practice and the types of legal cases you work on, they’ll be more apt to come to you with any legal issues they may be experiencing. LinkedIn’s Advanced Search feature may also help you find people to connect with.
3. You can connect with potential referral sources: Similar to searching for potential clients, you can also search for potential referral sources. For example, if you’re a criminal defense attorney who works with bail bondsmen, you could use LinkedIn to search for local bondsmen. Or, if you specialize in real estate law, you could search LinkedIn search for area Realtors. Once you’ve identified a potential referral source, review their profile and send them a message asking to schedule a meeting. LinkedIn is an efficient and effective tool for developing a referral network. Remember to focus on how you can help others, rather than how they can help you.
4. You can increase your credibility: LinkedIn enables you to receive endorsements and recommendations from colleagues in your firm or a former firm, current or past clients, people who you’ve done business with, or people who you know through groups you’re active in. Endorsements let people know what skills you’re proficient in while recommendations recognize or commend you on your performance and experience. After all, who wouldn’t want to work with an attorney who has numerous endorsements and positive reviews. Make sure you’re in compliance with all ethics guidelines regarding endorsements and recommendations.
5. You can be a thought leader: If you want to attract new clients and referral sources, you can show your expertise by writing blog entries, engaging in group discussions, publish or link to relevant articles—all on LinkedIn. Not only will you noticed by your contacts, but your content can be seen by a wider audience, too.
6. You can stay on top of legal news and information: LinkedIn groups enable to you to stay current on trends, issues, cases and changes in the law and your specialty. You’ll often find a lively discussion on important developments in these groups, so you can stay up to date on what other attorneys are saying.
7. Your law firm can increase brand awareness: LinkedIn is an essential marketing tool for every law firm when you consider your competition, business connections, referrals and potential clients are all on LinkedIn, too. Your law firm can use its LinkedIn profile to tell people about who you are, what makes you better than the competition, what niches you serve and what successes you’ve achieved.
8. Your law firm’s attorneys can showcase their abilities: All of the lawyers in your practice should have a LinkedIn profile. And on your firm’s website, you should have a bio of each lawyer with a link to his/her LinkedIn profile. After all, it’s far easier and less expensive for each of your firm’s lawyers to keep their LinkedIn profiles updated instead of constantly updating each biography on the website.
As you can see, LinkedIn is a simple, effective way to market yourself and your firm while expanding your professional network. So, isn’t it time you created your profile and had an active presence of LinkedIn?