Are solicitor Linkedin profiles really worth bothering with? Well, let’s look at the facts. There are around 90,000 UK-based solicitors listed on the platform. That’s over half of all registered to practice – so there must be something in it, right?
If you listen to members of the legal profession you wouldn’t think so. The majority of lawyers that I speak to tell me that they don’t get new clients or cases from the platform. Most use it because it appears to be the social media of choice for professionals – not quite so vulgar as Twitter or Facebook – a kind of club for the cognoscenti.
I usually have to explain that the first thing that potential clients or referrers do when they receive a business card or recommendation is Google you. Consequently, both your website and your Linkedin profile will pitch up in the results. They are both very important tools for branding yourself and your business.
Often as not, Linkedin provides potential clients with their first impression of you – so it makes sense to make your profile stand out. Here is a rundown of tips to help you get things right.
It sounds obvious, but make sure your name and title are consistent with your website profile. This helps people to find you easily. Use the same name for both platforms rather than nicknames for one and formal names for the other. If you specialise in conveyancing, say so.
According to Linkedin, profiles that include a photo receive 14 times more views than those without. Make sure your photo is professionally taken and up-to-date. If you have lost your hair, don’t post a photo of when you still had some. If you are reluctant to do this, try my approach – use a cartoon caricature of yourself.
This is the background image on your profile page. Put it to good use by using a photo from something relevant to your practice: a speaking engagement, or an item which attracts attention. This is not the place to post a photo of your dog – unless you specialise in law relating to canines.
It’s pointless having a profile if no-one can get in touch with you. Make sure you include all your contact information, including your phone number, address, website address, Twitter account, and others. Under the website section, you can include up to three (e.g. website, blog, Facebook page, etc.). Make sure you change the label for each website, to provide more detail instead of just “website” in order to be more descriptive.
Keep this section brief and to the point. Long-winded, self-important write ups just won’t be read. A concise summary of yourself, your area of practice and your experience. Pitch it so that it is absolutely clear what you have to offer to prospects.
Put the time aside to complete your entire profile. LinkedIn allows you to add sections to your profile from the contact information box near the top of the page. This feature suggests many categories that you may be missing or that could improve your profile (i.e. work experience, education, skills, and others).
Make sure that your skill section is up to date. You can list up to 50 and they should be prioritized with the most important skills at the top of your list. Make sure that your skills reflect what your potential clients are searching for. These skills will show up on your connections’ profiles asking them if they wish to endorse you for that particular skill.
Use these sections to help you illustrate how proficient you are at your specialism. Ask satisfied clients or former employers to recommend you with their reasons for doing so. They are there to help sell you as a skilled practitioner.
Endorsements are a little different and do not carry as much weight as recommendations. Endorsements are for the various skills that you’ve listed in the skills section of your profile (i.e. litigation, intellectual property).
The latest version of Linkedin lets you upload relevant media to your profile. These can be documents, videos, presentations and photos. If your firm has any such relevant media, consider adding it to your profile.
Linkedin automatically assigns a generic URL to your profile. However, if you click the edit button to the right of your URL, by following the instructions you can create a URL with your name, firm name or area of expertise. This will make your profile easier to find and will help to boost your Google presence.
It can take a while to get your head round Linkedin privacy settings. However, you should look at least at the following:
Whatever you decide, make sure that your profile is visible to the public, otherwise no one will be able to find you.
Solicitor Linkedin profiles should show a little of your human side. To achieve this, add a few of your interests or organisations to which you belong. Often, if clients share that interest, they will be more likely to contact you.
There are thousands of Linkedin groups out there. Therefore, it makes sense to join those groups that are relevant to you and that are likely to provide potential clients or referral sources to you.
Be active in the groups by starting or involving yourself in discussions. If you become known as an expert in your field, you add value to your brand without overtly selling yourself.
Solicitor Linkedin profiles don’t add up to much unless they stay active. Aim to post one update each day if you can. Statistically, the best time to post is in the morning. Provide details about forthcoming events, satisfied clients, professional accomplishments and others relating to your area of law and outside interests.
When you have something newsworthy to say, you can draft and publish your original content by clicking the “Write an article” hotlink at the top of the homepage. It’s important to include photos or video, when you have them, for maximum impact. If you click on “Post Settings,” you can also choose whether or not to allow comments on your post.
Add hashtags relevant to your post to get found more frequently in searches. LinkedIn no longer allows you to tag a connection in your post. However, you can mention them by using the “@” before their name.
Your LinkedIn profile has a dashboard with valuable information. Until recently you could find out who has viewed your profile (up to 5 for non-paying LinkedIn members) but this has now been restricted to the paid for version.
You are also able to see how many views each of your posts and articles have received, which companies are searching for you, what they do, where they work, and keywords used in their searches. This is valuable information to help you market yourself more effectively or make contact with people or companies.
When people ask to connect with you, you are under no pressure to do so. Common sense is required here. If you feel certain connections may prove useful to you and your business, accept them. Linkedin also shows you which connections you have in common with others. This is useful if you wish to expand your network as connections in common tend to be more willing to accept invitations.
If you have your own firm, it makes sense to build a company page as well as a personal one. It will act as another showcase for your firm and improve your visibility in search engines.
I would think long and hard before you decide to do this. So far, I have avoided it like the plague for one simple reason: the cost versus value equation. Premium membership offers a few additional capabilities like being able to see who viewed your profile. However, the cost (which does vary throughout the year) is eye-watering. It’s more than the cost of a season ticket at the Etihad stadium – and that’s saying something.
You can try premium free for one month – just don’t forget to cancel.
Lastly, if you handle overseas work or provide services for non English speakers, Linkedin affords the opportunity to duplicate your pages in foreign languages. If you handle overseas family law or immigration, doing this can augment your profile.
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