Professionals are Struggling with How Social Media Works & Questioning "Do I Need It?"
“I have a LinkedIn. But I don’t know where it is.” - Actual quote from a law firm senior partner. I heard this last week, and I hear variations of it all the time.
The bulk of the recent queries seem to involve LinkedIn. There’s a lot of conversation in the market about this, but not a lot of real information.
People who don't understand it proclaim that they don't need it.
When Social Media was just gaining steam, there were a variety of marketing consultants who were suggesting that everyone needed a LinkedIn profile. Many suggested to the in-house marketers that it was easier to just set up the profiles for them, instead of teaching everyone how to do it themselves.
Unfortunately, this yielded the predictable result - a lot of empty profiles with no information. Some may argue that it’s better to have an empty profile than no profile at all. This might be a subject of legitimate debate, but I think that in a 21st-century economy, you can’t completely ignore technology. If you’re going to ignore it, I think it’s better to look like you’re (1) too busy to need it than rather than (2) too ineffectual to use it correctly.
Yes, it’s a significant time commitment to do it very well, and at this moment, most general lawyers shouldn’t rely on it to develop business - although some should (more on that some other time). But here's something everyone should do. Go to LinkedIn.com. In the box, search for your name. See what shows up. Act like a prospect who is looking for more info about you. Click on your name. What shows up? Are you proud of it? (For example, searching "ross fishman" shows six results, and I'm the only one with a photo.)
Does it showcase you as a high-quality professional? Or do you have an empty shell with “1 connection.” That is, “1 [pathetic] connection.” That’s the free one you get for doing basically nothing.
Filling out a basic profile is something you can do over lunch. At bare minimum, paste your biography into the narrative section. Include your photo and contact information. You want to make it easy for prospects worldwide to find you, so help them.
LinkedIn is particularly relevant for MSI members and accountants and lawyers in international firms. Today, I would suggest that EVERY MSI professional, particularly those in smaller markets, should have a strategically conceived and well-written LinkedIn profile. Take the time to fill it out thoroughly. Ensure that you include both your city and country in the biographical narrative, for Google and other search engine purposes.
Send some invitations to increase the number of your connections. Join a couple groups, click on the Members tab, see who you know, then invite them too. It's an easy way to find lots of people you know who are already on LinkedIn.
Start by joining the MSI group, and immediately invite EVERY MSI member to connect with you, to bulk up your connections and stay in touch. Join the group’s conversation. (Frankly, I think this should be a requirement for membership, but that’s just me.)
In your biography, be sure to add the practice areas and industries in which you work,with specificity- not just “litigation” or “audits,” but the narrow types of cases you handle and the names of the contracts you draft. The more specific and detailed you are the better. Include honors and awards, identify the articles you’ve written, the speeches you’ve presented, the MSI events you’ve attended, and committees you’ve joined. Connect with me; I’ll connect back, and all of this will improve your own search-engine optimization.
Even if your firm’s website is not especially visible or well written, your LinkedIn profile can be. For example, when working with a 200-lawyer Brazilian full-service firm regarding its US-based SEO for Brazilian tax work, we helped move one of their lawyers to the very top of the Google rankings for the popular “sao paulo tax law” search, above 21 million other results (see below).
LinkedIn is a very efficient and powerful online-marketing tool, and you can control the style and content, unlike your firm’s website biography, which usually is shorter and follows the firm’s “standard” form. Use it strategically and aggressively.
It’s actually not that hard; ask your marketing department for help. If you don’t have a marketing department, or don't want to ask them, contact me directly and I’ll walk you through it - it’d be my way of saying “thanks for reading.”
For more marketing ideas, visit our new FishmanMarketing.com website. Click on “Case Studies” to review 65 detailed examples of a wide variety of common professional-services firm marketing challenges, with the supporting visuals, including how to market a firm, practice, industry, office, boutique, international, etc. You can sort the results by the type of marketing issue you’re facing and see some relevant examples.
Ross Fishman is CEO of Fishman Marketing, Inc., specializing in helping professional-services firms improve their marketing, including websites, brand and positioning, SEO, and social and online marketing, and advertising. You may remember him from his Creative Marketing presentation in London. He will be presenting again at our upcoming Santa Monica conference.
EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org +1.847.432.3546 WEB: www.FishmanMarketing.com BLOG: www.rossfishman.com
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