Content and Engagement on LinkedIn, and Where to Start
The Covid-19 pandemic has rapidly accelerated the move by many law firms towards seeing online, social media promotion as a key part of their overall marketing and candidate attraction strategies.
Centre stage as the dominant business social platform in the UK is LinkedIn. This is frequently the first place a prospective candidate or business contact will go to understand more about the people they are potentially going to be working with, so your personal presence on Linkedin may play an essential part in attracting the right people to your firm.
The first stage in making the right impression is to ensure you have a really strong and relevant LinkedIn profile. Having done this the next stage is about getting active and being noticed.
Build your network
Connections are currency so work hard at building up your first-tier connections:
- There is no magic number for how many connections you should have and to an extent, it depends on how you are intending to use LinkedIn. However, if you're working towards getting noticed, it’s worth working towards the 500+ mark (if you’re not already there).
- Invite people you meet at networking events (on and offline) and even social events to join your network - ideally within 24 hours of meeting them.
- Always personalise invitations with a short note, this will hugely increase the chances of your request being accepted.
- Use your university alumni page to see if you have any connections that could be useful and use the common ground as an introduction point.
- Use your network of first-tier connections to broker an introduction to a second or third-tier connection.
- If someone invites you to connect always message straight back after accepting the invitation with a short open question to start a dialogue.
Be proactive and make LinkedIn a daily habit
The secrets to social selling are consistency, credibility, and commitment. Try to be active daily on LinkedIn.
Unfortunately, success won't come overnight! Results can take up to 6-12 months to show, so you'll need to be patient.
Post regularly using the ‘updates’ section at the top of your home page.
Aim for a mixture of content that gives you authority in your area of expertise, as well as those on wider topics that might be of interest to the people you want to reach. Posts should aim to
You could post your own original content such as blogs, news articles or pictures from events you've attended (when that's allowed again!), but it’s fine to start off by sharing content from others e.g.:
- News and articles related to your area of law.
- News and articles related to the industry sector or interests of your target client base.
- Articles on wider topics that might be of relevance or help followers.
- Topical news that may have a relevance or bearing on your followers.
- Local topics of conversation.
- Subjects that interest you or that you’re passionate about –giving you an opportunity to show off a bit of your personality.
Rules for successful posting
- Only directly self-promote in a proportion of 1:5 posts.
- Work on developing your voice and own persona. Be human and authentic, talk about what interests you.
- Share your knowledge, opinions, and insights.
- But also remember…
WARNING: Make sure that your posts and opinions fall within any guidelines laid down by your firm and stay away from political opinion, controversy, and negativity
Understand the algorithms
LinkedIn won’t automatically promote your post to your entire network. It may only go to the feeds of around 5% of your contacts initially. Posts are judged by LinkedIn on their ‘relevance’ to your own profile and those in your network, so as with your profile blend in those keywords in order to get the widest possible reach initially.
The second key secret to getting your content seen on LinkedIn is knowing how to play the algorithm game. During the first hour after your post has gone live LinkedIn’s algorithms will assess the level of engagement with that post, (liking, sharing, and commenting from others), and if there has been sufficient engagement then the post will be promoted to a wider audience. If not it will die quietly at the bottom of your feed.
Tip: To play the algorithm game introduce an office-wide policy of mutually, liking, sharing, and commenting on each other's posts as soon as they are published.
Hashtags enable your content to be found, and for posts to be categorised. The effective number of #s per post is believed to be 3.
Top Tip: Be sure to capitalise each word in the hashtag for better readability e.g. #ReadMePlease. This is especially important for anyone who is visually impaired and using website readers.
When to post
Ideally, your posts should be spread throughout the day, at the times people are most active on LinkedIn. However, constantly going into LinkedIn throughout the day is hardly practical for most people.
The solution? Automate posts at selected times throughout the day using a content management site such as Buffer and Hootsuite - who offer free basic packages.
It’s vital to engage with your audience if you want to be noticed. Targeted and consistent engagement with others should ensure your posts start to reach a wider audience as LinkedIn begins to recognise you as an influencer in your space.
How to engage:
- ‘React’ to other people’s posts – even better comment. This helps you to be seen in other people’s networks. Sharing is not seen as such a valuable interaction, but you can still use it, just always comment too!
- To really get noticed by someone tag them in your comment using @. That person will then be notified that you have mentioned them
- Respond to anyone who likes, shares and comments on your content or who tags you in theirs – build a conversation
- If you wish to get noticed by particular companies or individuals, follow them and help them by liking and commenting on their posts.
- Check your notifications regularly so that you’re prompted to send birthday greetings, congratulations on new roles etc.
- Be helpful, share useful articles or information with individuals or in groups
- Avoid negativity! Being positive is far more attractive.
Be a thought leader
In order to really get known as an authority in your space, the next stage is to create your own content and share your thoughts and ideas on your industry (as mentioned before).
Not sure where to start? Think about the people you are trying to reach. What are their key priorities, their major concerns? Think about how you could address them by writing a blog, short article, or even better a video.
Tip: LinkedIn will promote content that is created on their site more widely than content that is posted elsewhere and directs people away from LinkedIn's platform.
So, if you have a blog already on your firm’s website you may want to copy and paste it into the ‘write an article’ section on LinkedIn and consider uploading videos directly to your newsfeed rather than a link to YouTube.
Joining groups will expand your network.
- Think beyond your own industry groups to the groups those your potential clients or candidates may have joined.
- Be active within your chosen groups but don’t try and be too self-promotional.
- Be helpful and become part of the community and don’t limit this just to the world of law.
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” Dale Carnegie
Rounding the circle
Whilst it is important for individuals to have a presence and build a following on sites like LinkedIn, firms should also consider how following these steps as a business could help promote their company pages too.
If marketing budgets allow, consider assigning a dedicated member of the team to ensure your online presence is representative of where you want to be. If not, encourage staff to take ownership of content creation and share this from the company page in order to keep it up to date and relevant.
Not only will you be found by potential clients more easily, you will be much more appealing to new talent, when they investigate your firm.
LinkedIn is an extremely useful tool in helping to promote yourself as a future employer and a potential business partner. But don’t expect lots of immediate results. It takes time to build up your profile and your reputation. So be patient, be creative, and don’t be afraid to try different things.
And in case you missed it, be sure to check out part one to this blog, LinkedIn Basics, and Getting Them Right!