4 Ways Your Law Firm Can Use LinkedIn to Gain Referrals
Did you know that your most powerful tool to gain referrals could be your law firm LinkedIn account?
Chances are you have relied on traditional means of gaining referrals in the past, whether through in-person networking or online research you’ve conducted yourself. These methods are tried and true–there is no denying that they produce results.
But why spend time and effort searching for new referrals the old ways when you can access an entire network at your fingertips?
This is where LinkedIn comes in handy. Since 2003, the company has connected users and organizations from across the globe on one professional platform. With over 800 million members (and 57 million organizations), there is a vast sea to scour… so what are you waiting for?
Let’s see how you can gain referrals by leveraging your law firm’s LinkedIn.
#1: Fine Tune Your Law Firm’s LinkedIn Profile Page
Many don’t realize it, but your LinkedIn profile page is just as important as the number of connections you have. This page will serve as a first impression for many… so treat it with the same importance as your firm’s own website. It’s important to start off strong!
The process is rather straightforward, but there are many guides online that help with setting up your business profile. The first step is making sure your profile is up-to-date and in working order. Images should be clear and written content should be concise and informative. Include relevant links to your website and other social media platforms your firm is on. This allows users to familiarize themselves with your firm’s culture and core values. Also be sure to keyword optimize content so that your profile appears more often in searches. By increasing your page’s traffic, your chances of gaining referrals improve significantly.
Once you update your profile, you should then encourage your lawyers and staff members to follow and add the firm’s LinkedIn profile to their own.
You may wonder why this is important, but it actually makes a considerable difference. Many potential referrals will want to see your staff’s credentials before moving forward. Providing your employees’ profiles in one location will assist in this effort. This also puts your firm in their user profiles, improving visibility and notifying connections of where they work. Your LinkedIn profile page should act as a database and directory for your firm.
#2: Use or Establish LinkedIn Connections to Ask for Referrals Yourself
One drawback to running a company page on LinkedIn is that unlike with personal accounts, you aren’t able to “connect” with users or send messages privately. You may be discouraged by this fact, but there are still two potential work-arounds to finding LinkedIn referrals for your law firm.
- Use your personal account to search for, connect with, and message users. Ideally this is your firm’s “super admin” account on LinkedIn.
- Use either your personal or business account to invite users to follow your firm’s profile page.
Now that you know how to reach possible referrals, the next question is about whom you should reach out to.
Luckily you have several options:
- Contact non-attorney professionals and others in your field to see if they know anyone needing legal advice. You can ask for their names and send them invites or a message through LinkedIn.
- Connect with lawyers in practice areas similar to but not competing with yours. You can then ask if they have any contacts they can direct your way.
- Leverage your personal LinkedIn account to message your own connections about seeking referrals.
- Tap into former referral sources about providing more referrals. A good way to do this is to mention you’ve been slow in gaining referrals lately.
Regardless of the method you choose, make sure to communicate with a polite tone. You don’t want to come off as desperate or too demanding, so be mindful of the impressions you make.
#3: Join and Be Involved in Relevant LinkedIn Groups
A common misconception is that LinkedIn is only a hiring platform. Though that is not entirely untrue, LinkedIn is actually much more. With over 2 million groups on the platform, LinkedIn provides a wealth of information on practically anything business. Members in each group can share advice or expertise in forum-like discussions centered around certain topics.
So how should you use these LinkedIn groups to gain referrals for your law firm?
Before you do anything, pause and evaluate your firm’s characteristics. What is your primary area of practice? Do you commonly consult with clients of a certain demographic? What is the size of your firm?
The answers to these questions and more will determine the optimal groups for you to join. The “right” groups for you may not be the right groups for everyone else.
Once you join the groups best suited to your firm, you should try to stay active and contribute meaningfully to discussions. Although it may be tempting to self promote, avoid sharing links or blatantly advertising for your services. Many groups will remove these types of posts anyway. Your goal should be to provide insights or pertinent information that will reflect positively on your firm in an indirect way. Demonstrate your expertise in the field!
It is important to note that you won’t be able to join groups as a LinkedIn business account, but this may not necessarily be a bad thing. Your admin account or employees can post on behalf of your firm and will also see who is a member of the group. From these user accounts they can request to connect and/or message other members, which opens up another avenue for gaining referrals.
#4: Share Referral Testimonials on Your Law Firm’s LinkedIn
Whether or not your law firm has gained referrals specifically on LinkedIn, the site is a great place to highlight former referrals or share their testimonies.
From either your law firm’s account or personal account, you can upload several types of content to draw viewers’ attention.
- blog posts
- photos and graphics
- third party content
- plain text
The diversity of content you can share lends itself well to testimonials in particular. For example, if you’d like to share a testimony published elsewhere, you could share it on your page as third party content. You can also pair graphics with written content to provide a comprehensive recognition of your referral and their testimony.
Sharing how some clients have referred new clients to you increases people’s trust in your law firm. This also encourages other clients to do the same.
There are several methods to choose from to increase your clientele through LinkedIn. Regardless of which one you decide on, make sure to thank your referral sources for their help. You can thank them through LinkedIn, but there are several more ways to formally thank them as well.
By learning the ins and outs of LinkedIn, you can gain referrals with minimal effort and maximum results.
Most attorneys start their firms assuming that being a really, really good attorney should, in and of itself, be a marketing advantage. Those attorneys believe that joining a whole bunch of committees and putting their name in lawyer directories is “marketing,” and they never bother to ask if there is a better way.
Attorneys are catching on, however, and those who succeed learn to leverage their current resources to create effective (and ethical) marketing. What they discover isn’t a magic pill or silver bullet but a different approach to marketing that your competitors haven’t considered.
by Charley Mann
Charley is the Chief Marketing Officer at Great Legal Marketing and believes in results, Results, RESULTS!