Let’s be honest: Most lawyers are too busy trying to hit their billable hours, service clients, or bring in new business to be very active on LinkedIn—or any social media platform for that matter.
On the flip side, most law firms give lip service to wanting their attorneys to be more active on LinkedIn as part of business development, yet they don’t provide them with clear social media guidelines, actionable training, or relevant, sharable content.
Big mistake. Huge.
What’s powering its popularity? The fact that it is a living, breathing Rolodex that connects people to people, gives users a platform for sharing their expertise and insights, and keeps you top of mind with clients, prospects, and referral sources through regular posts highlighting you and your firm.
Here are three reasons to level up your LinkedIn activity in 2020, along with some tips for getting the momentum started.
1. Social Media Is Here to Stay
Ignoring it won’t make it go away. And if you aren’t going to get out there and make the most of it, believe me, your competitors will be happy to lap up the spotlight. Take a look: Socially savvy lawyers and law firms are using LinkedIn and other platforms to build their brands, reach new target markets, promote their achievements, showcase the expertise of their lawyers and, in general, gain a competitive advantage. You could be doing all of that, too.
Unfortunately, many lawyers think of LinkedIn as just a place to look for a new job or recruit for a new hire. It’s time to refresh their perceptions and get them on board! You don’t want to be the last firm clinging to name partner profiles without headshots or a blank company page. Share your enthusiasm for using social media and get your team engaged.
2. It’s Easy to Do
More accurately, it’s easy for the attorneys on your team to do once you’ve laid out clear expectations and provided them with the tools they need to succeed. There is a bit of up-front effort and then ongoing effort to curate content, but these time investments are well worth the resultant rewards of a strong campaign.
The tools you create should include a written policy that spells out desired sharing behaviors, along with some commonsense do’s and don’ts to maximize the positive effects of your LinkedIn activities and minimize the potential for negative repercussions.
It should also include any legal requirements, contacts for questions or concerns, and resources for further information. It may also make sense to have a training session, during which you share the firm’s commitment to making LinkedIn an integral part of day-to-day operations, and explain that the key to successful social media engagement is consistency. Be sure to give each attorney a set of takeaways they can realistically implement and integrate into their schedules.
Remember: The easier you make LinkedIn for them, the more they will use it.
3. Your Individual and Collective Reputations Will Soar
Providing your attorneys with relevant content is vital to making this communication effort work. Your LinkedIn company page should offer them curated content from around the web they can share with a single click.
In addition, encourage them to include their professional point of view on articles they share. If there’s a real estate matter in the news, for example, lawyers in that practice area should post their analyses alongside the article. Why is this news important? What might it mean to real estate development projects going forward? What is the lawyer’s position on the controversy surrounding this matter? Authoritative commentary strengthens credibility and builds not only the individuals’ brand but the firm’s.
In fact, for individuals who seek to become more powerful voices in the industry—thought leaders whose opinions and advice are highly valued—LinkedIn is an ideal platform. You know how difficult it can be to secure press coverage or a keynote position at an event. How much easier is it to control that spotlight yourself, by creating buzz through a media channel that’s always at your fingertips? Why settle for a one-time appearance when you can create “moments” every day?
Once you get the LinkedIn ball rolling, it will become as automatic to your team as grabbing a cup of coffee and checking the morning headlines. They will find that social media engagement is helpful to not only to the firm but also their own careers. They will be building stronger relationships with clients and referral sources, broadening their reach to new potential clients and elevating themselves as thought leaders in the industry.
And with all of these ambassadors out there touting the corporate brand, the halo effect will be profound: You’ll wonder why you didn’t dive headfirst into LinkedIn a long time ago.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. or its owners.
Lauren Banyar Reich is the CEO and founder of LBR PR, a boutique public relations agency based in New York City. For over 15 years, Reich has been working with thought leaders in law, finance, business, research and leadership to grow their businesses through PR and strategic communications.