To set the scene, LinkedIn is used by both individuals and businesses to market ourselves and our companies. It’s always in professional mode because people hang out on LinkedIn to meet and learn from other professionals. Therefore, while it’s important to be friendly, act accordingly. Keep the more informal, chatty posts for other platforms.
You can create personal LinkedIn profiles and company pages. We’ll tackle each area in turn…
Personal LinkedIn profiles
It’s highly likely that plenty of your firm's partners and staff already have a LinkedIn presence. All of these play an important role in defining your firm’s online reputation. If they’re strong, consistent profiles, you’re on to a winner as you’re presenting yourselves as an expert, unified team. If this isn’t the case – whether it’s that very few of your staff are on LinkedIn or that the profiles which do exist are of varying quality – some gentle encouragement and guidelines distributed around your organisation wouldn’t go amiss.
Here’s what personal profiles should include:-
Even on a professional level, people like dealing with people. Getting a good photo of yourself isn’t difficult with the plethora of Smartphones and other devices we use, all of which have high-tech camera technology embedded within them. Believe us, a photo makes all the difference.
The second most important part of your profile is your summary. Be authentic (false claims stand out a mile) and, as well as describing your sector experience and personality, also outline the benefits you offer clients and prospective clients of your firm.
3. Other profile areas
Populate the ‘Experience’, ‘Volunteer & causes’, ‘Skills’, ‘Education’, ‘Additional info’, ‘Organisations’ (membership bodies etc) and ‘Contact info’ sections. But be selective about the information you upload about yourself. If you’ve had lots of jobs, don’t list them all, especially not the more junior roles, and think about bundling some together under one heading. Make it easy for people to scan your profile and instantly understand your career history, qualifications and how to get in touch.
The more people you connect with, the better it is for business. Personalise your connection invitation message to encourage positive response. Don’t connect with anyone and everyone though. Select connections in your industry only. Once connected, treat your connections with respect. Don’t spam your database with marketing messages. They won’t thank you for it.
It’s readily acknowledged that recommendations are the best form of marketing there is, so this area’s pretty important too. The way to gather recommendations is to recommend others and hope that they’ll reciprocate. You’ll find that the majority will do so. It’s bad practice to request recommendations from all and sundry. Give something first and they’re likely to give something back in return.
This category falls under ‘Interests’. Find out which groups your peers are part of and ask to join. Thereafter, take part in the conversations. Again, don’t blast group members with marketing. You’ll annoy everyone and risk getting banned from the group for such poor etiquette. Instead, offer advice, comment on others’ posts and generally show your subject area knowledge. And, when confident enough, why not devise your own groups?
Next, create a company page. You need a personal LinkedIn profile to do this. Go to ‘Interests’ and ‘Companies’ from the top toolbar then click ‘Create’ under the ‘Create a Company Page’ heading on the right hand side. Your company page should be a mini version of your website so that those interested in discovering more about your firm can from within LinkedIn. Here’s what to do:-
1. Tell the story of your firm
Choose the ‘Home’ tab from the top toolbar and ‘Edit’ to the right of the screen. Only designated administrators can perform this function. You want your followers to be able to read a high-level overview of your firm, its mission and areas of expertise.
Use your website’s ‘Home’ or ‘About us’ pages as a starting point. Bear in mind your keywords to boost search engine optimisation (SEO) performance. Don’t set up your page then let it lie stagnant. Keep it up to date.
Once you’re done editing your page, click on the ‘Publish’ button in the right hand corner (or ‘Cancel’ if you make a mistake).
2. Use images
With your overall firm’s branding your foremost consideration, select images to bring your company page to life. Your firm's logo will appear next to your name at the top of the page. Dimension requirements are 300 x 300 pixels. Your main image reflects your business. This should be 646 x 220 pixels and make it eye catching!
3. Add specialties
You’re allowed up to 20 of these but it doesn’t mean you must fill all 20 available spaces with generic terms. Again, for SEO reasons, list a handful of keyword-specific specialties. You’ll rank higher on Google and people will find your set more easily.
4. Create showcase pages
Every one of your LinkedIn followers isn’t interested in every one of your legal area specialisms. Taking the place of the old ‘Products / Services’ tab, showcase pages allow you to develop customised pages for various target audiences and ultimately develop niche communities around them. LinkedIn members can actually follow these without following your entire chambers. You can then tailor content to your heart’s content.
Click on the arrow next to the ‘Edit’ button located in the top right hand corner of your company page and select ‘Create a Showcase Page’ from the drop-down list presented. Thereafter, choose a page name, assign administrators, write a description, attach a representative image, select an industry, include a URL to a relevant landing page on your website and upload your logo. Click ‘Publish’ at the end to make your page live.
5. Post compelling content
Get into the habit of posting content regularly, be it blog posts, press releases, industry announcements, service developments or other updates. It’s about having conversations with your followers by providing valuable resources and nuggets of information which your audience needs and wants.
This doesn’t have to be freshly written content each time. Sharing articles posted by industry spokespeople is equally acceptable.
Post content through the ‘Share an update’ area on your company page. These posts will then appear on your home screen and your followers’ news feeds. Consider optimum time of day (mornings are generally preferred), length of post (keep it snappy with a link for more information) and imagery. Use photos always and videos where possible (more on this later).
6. Attract followers
Your content (step 5 above) will do much of the work for you but you also need to request that firm employees feature your organisation as their present employer, follow your company page and drum up more quality followers. This could be via LinkedIn’s InMail messaging system, their email signature, PowerPoint presentations and during face-to-face conversations.
Similarly, your Partners and fee earners can invite followers through your website, newsletters, white papers and other marketing collateral.
Not forgetting reciprocal exchanges. Follow others and they’ll follow you in return. Locate esteemed industry figures to follow. You might want to check out who they’re following too.
Maximising your firm's presence on LinkedIn won’t happen overnight. Persistence and patience are vital. After all, the best things in life come to those who wait!