Today, we riff on one of the key tactics Woodyear recommends that firms adopt in order to optimize the results of their digital strategy – the use of LinkedIn.
Not unexpectedly, the growth in General Counsels’ reliance on social media to vet law firms and lawyers mirrors the growth in the use of social media by law firms and lawyers themselves. According to surveys reviewed by Woodyear, between 60 to 73 percent of GCs check out lawyers and their firms online.
A LinkedIn-based Social Media Strategy – A 5-Step Plan for Success
With so much riding on a digital first impression, Woodyear recommends using a presence on LinkedIn as a cornerstone of a firm’s social strategy. She offers the following 5-step plan for firms to ensure that their LinkedIn-based social strategy is on track.
- Make sure the majority of the firm’s lawyers are on LinkedIn
Take advantage of the synergistic effect of having multiple lawyer connections associated with your firm. Encourage all of your firm’s lawyers to create a profile on LinkedIn, offer assistance with developing a suitable bio, if necessary, and follow up to confirm participation.
- Encourage lawyers to create bios optimized for social media
Simply cutting and pasting information from a resume or CV can result in a LinkedIn profile that ranks low in searches. Lawyers should highlight credentials, specialized skills and accomplishments that correspond to how clients and prospects search for a lawyer. Optimizing bios to rank high in online search results isn’t difficult, but it requires a laser-sharp focus on identifying and deploying the most powerful and relevant terms in the lawyers’ bios.
- Ensure that lawyers are actively engaged in connecting with colleagues and clients
The difference between merely setting up a LinkedIn account and leveraging LinkedIn to become a social media thought leader is simply a matter of concentrating one’s efforts on creating, sharing and curating relevant content. Once a lawyer has established a targeted audience of colleagues, clients and prospects, it’s important to engage the audience. Nothing beats informative and useful content served up on a regular basis for fulfilling that role.
- Emphasize the importance of sharing thought leadership with connections on a regular basis
Developing a consistent cadence of social posts helps build and sustain an audience that’s not only engaged, but which looks forward to each new piece of relevant thought leadership. When creating content becomes a part of the lawyers’ daily or weekly routine, the process will become increasingly less burdensome and may actually become a task he or she looks forward to.
- Assess what content results in the most engagement
By focusing social media efforts on the types of content readers find most interesting or thought provoking, you can fine-tune your social strategy to yield the best return on your social media investment.
A Tool for Monitoring Brand Strength
As Woodyear mentioned in her previous post, Kredible is a useful tool for helping lawyers effectively use LinkedIn to strengthen their personal brand as well as the firm’s brand by optimizing online presence. The scoring Kredible provides helps lawyers focus on making sure the right information is being shared, and that the firm’s brand guidelines are being followed. Kredible also provides analytics that deliver insights into the effectiveness of a content strategy.
Create, Curate, Measure and Refine
Woodyear emphasizes the importance of lawyers strategically curating content for distribution to their clients. Because even the most interested clients or prospects will likely spend only a few seconds scanning content, the most important messaging has to stand out. That means avoiding long bodies of text and instead, delivering content in a user-friendly and engaging format.
Once the digital strategy, content and delivery mechanics have been fine-tuned, Woodyear recommends leveraging the content by creating targeted LinkedIn campaigns to promote thought leadership to a very targeted audience. “LinkedIn campaigns are a very cost effective and targeted way to make sure the attorneys’ thought leadership is being seen by the intended audience,” Woodyear says. She suggests experimenting with different types of content, infographics, and various headlines, and then leveraging LinkedIn’s analytics to identify the top performing content. One of the measurement tools LinkedIn offers is the Social Selling Index. Updated daily, the index measures how effective an individual is at establishing a professional brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights, and building relationships.
Woodyear is an advocate for making use of the power of analytics to shape content strategy. “Before each campaign, you should clearly define your objectives and KPIs to measure its success. You also be sure to review metrics regularly with key management. If you collect lots of data and no one reviews it, than its pretty useless,“ she cautions.
“Use data to refine and adjust your processes. Over time, you’ll be able to predict what content works best, what events are most successful, what pitches you’ll win, what type of client is most profitable. Ultimately, you’ll be able to effectively use data to uncover new opportunities and prospect for additional business.”