By Steve Fretzin
One of the greatest mysteries to attorneys revolves around the social media juggernaut, LinkedIn. I remember a time 16 years ago when I started teaching how to use this amazing digital marketing tool when only 25% of the attorneys with whom I spoke with were on there. Today it’s closer to 90%, yet most attorneys are still baffled at how to use it effectively or why they should even bother.
My hope and goal for this month’s column is to help convince you of the true value of leaning into this platform. It’s simply not that challenging for you to derive value from investing a little time each week using it. Here are the top three ways to use LinkedIn to effectively brand yourself and your law firm online.
Tip #1. Have a Killer Linkedin Profile.
Imagine that you are at the top of your game and looking to move your talents to another legal practice. Would you simply slap your name, title, firm name, and a brief description of your practice area on a resume and send it out haphazardly? My guess is not! That’s probably what your LinkedIn profile looks like right now. It’s not only failing to tell your story but also hurting your brand and reputation as a lawyer (and you don’t even realize it).
The first and most important step to being successful when using LinkedIn is to UPDATE your profile to be your online resume. It must be professional, complete, and impressive. This is a simple fix that may only take you 30 minutes to resolve, so do it NOW. Feel free to copy and paste the following three words into Google to get direct instruction on this (Fretzin – YouTube – LinkedIn). I provide a step-by-step video to help you get your profile up to snuff fast.
If you’re not into YouTube, then here are the most important elements to fix asap.
- Profile picture – Make it professional; this isn’t Facebook.
- Background banner – Use an image that best represents you or your practice area.
- Contact info – It MUST be complete with phone number, website, and your email address.
- Headline – This is the info under your name. DON’T put your title here, but rather use up to 240 characters to describe your best attributes and differentiators as a lawyer or law firm. Be bold!
- About – This is the area above your experience where you can really dig into what you do so well, why you love doing it, and how you help your clients succeed.
Tip #2. Obtain Some Solid Client Recommendations.
I don’t know about you, but I’m all about recommendations these days. There’s a plethora of information out there that can help prevent you from making a bad decision. Think about it, what do you do before making an investment of time, money, or energy in something? Here are three quick examples:
- Going to a new play downtown? What do the reviews say?
- Trying out the newest restaurant with your spouse? How many stars does it have?
- Looking for a PI attorney who gets big settlements? How many positive recommendations are there on Google?
Relating this back to LinkedIn, I have found that people really enjoy and appreciate reading recommendations. Most attorneys don’t have any, so you can get ahead by getting three to five—or even 10—in the next 90 days if you work towards it.
Here are three easy steps to getting LinkedIn recommendations and crafting them to help you in your legal business development efforts.
Step 1: Always ask for client recommendations when your client is super happy with your services.
Be sure to make it permission-based so it sounds something like this: “Thanks for the kind words, John. If you’re open to it, I’d love to have you write a brief LinkedIn recommendation to share your happiness about my services with my LinkedIn community. Would you be open to that?”
Step 2: Coach your client on how you want the recommendation laid out.
A rec saying “nice work” or “I like you” isn’t helpful to prospective clients who are vetting you for work. I teach the B-A-R method to my lawyer clients. The acronym stands for, Before-After-Results/Recommend. This way, the client is telling more of a story of how you directly impacted their business in a powerful way. An example came from a recent grad of my program, RJ.
“Steve’s program is a masterclass in taking what is seemingly a daunting, complex topic in business development and teaches you the skills to simplify the task of building a book of business. Steve’s course has taught me how to take that network and transform it into mutually beneficial relationships and become a connector. The freedom I have gained from building my own network and book of business would not have occurred without the program and methods developed by Steve Fretzin.”
Nice, right?! It also helps that RJ is a frickin’ SUPERSTAR client. I have over 160 recommendations like this on LinkedIn, so take my advice; this works.
Step 3: After you’ve asked and coached the client on how to write the best recommendation, be sure to have a follow-up plan.
This means that if they fail to write it, you’ve asked permission to follow up and check in with them. Something like this: “I so appreciate you doing this for me, John. If I don’t see it pop up in the next week or so, how would you like me to follow up with you?”
As you can see, this is an easy way to get more recommendations—those that will really impact the reader of your profile.
Tip #3. Find Two or Three Ways to Stay Top of Mind.
The last point I want to make, dear reader, is the importance of staying active on the site. While improving your profile and recommendations is great for your brand, it would also help drive prospective clients to engage with you. Now, I know what you’re thinking, this is a huge time suck that you don’t want to do. This is why I’m going to give you the three easiest and most productive activities you can engage in to ensure you can knock this out in under 30 minutes a week. Here you go!
Engagement option #1: Click a bell and win a prize.
My hope is that you’ve connected on LinkedIn with your clients, friends, prospective clients, and referral partners (this is the baseline, people!). The next time you see a 1st-degree connection on your screen, click the little bell on the top right of their profile. By doing this, you will have a greater likelihood of seeing the posts that they make. This is half the battle. The other half is to thoughtfully like, comment, and share their posts. By doing this, you not only stay top of mind with them, but you are also demonstrating an interest in them. We all like to have our egos stroked and this is your chance to share the love for your network. It only takes a few minutes a day and may bring the next client to your door.
Engagement option #2: Set up a poll to drive engagement.
Take a moment to think about what your LinkedIn audience might be interested in around the news or culture question of the day. Recently I ran a poll that asked, “Which is the greatest concern for the future of law?” The possible answers included a recession, new AI, the importance of legal marketing for lawyers, and non-attorney law firm ownership. Are you interested in the results? I was! You’ll have to check out my profile to see the answers. Ha—got you hooked! FYI, it only took me 10 minutes to create this poll and post it on LinkedIn.
Engagement option #3: Rant about something personal or topical.
What’s happening in the news that impacts the area of law, you practice? While you know to stay away from religion and politics, there are literally hundreds of things happening daily that you can bring up for discussion. One example was my client Brian who went off about how irrelevant the use of Latin is in legal these days. Who would have thought so many attorneys would agree and share their feelings on the subject? The response was massive, and his name and brand moved around quite a bit after that. Sometimes I use personal things in my life and throw in a business twist. For example, I was fishing with my son on a really crowded lake recently. I mean, there were boats ever-y-where. I felt like some lawyers must feel in their crowded practice areas, competing again thousands of other attorneys. So, I posted this with an awesome picture of my son and I fishing. I used the personal side of my life along with a business slant to make a point and drive engagement.
The key here is to read a lot and prepare ideas/topics as the week goes on, then schedule your one or two posts a week around those ideas/subjects. Being consistent is the key, as you must do this in an ongoing fashion for the branding to take hold.
Contact Fretzin Today for All of Your Law Firm Linkedin Needs!
As you can tell, I’ve put a lot of thought, time, and energy into using this amazing tool so that you can get ahead of your competition. Working on LinkedIn is a marathon and not a sprint, so it’s important to start now and commit to doing it regularly. For more information about LinkedIn, sales coaching for lawyers, or building your book of business, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a visit with me anytime.