Yesterday, we discussed the first part of the excellent webinar with David Ackert & Jonathan Fitzgarrald on LinkedIn 2.0. When chatting last night with my fellow SIG leaders, Nancy asked me why it was I considered this to be the best session we’d had. She wondered if it was because they got into the "how" of using LinkedIn as opposed to the "why." 

My answer to her was that it was the 2.0 nature of it – it’s safe to assume that those participating in a social media group like ours would be those most likely to have already bought into the idea of social media, and are more focused on how to sell it to their attorneys and its practical use. Even more than that, pretty much everyone has a LinkedIn profile these days – but the idea of setting objectives and fine tuning your strategy to meet those objectives is something that’s really useful to both attorneys, and the marketing professionals trying to get them to use LinkedIn for business development.  

It also doesn’t hurt that Jonathan and David are not only excellent presenters, but also extremely knowledgeable – both when it comes to using LinkedIn and working with attorneys. 

So, if you’re a part of the LMA and have the opportunity to see the recording of the session once it’s circulated, make sure that you do so! Now let’s get into Part II…

 

How to use groups strategically

Joining groups on LinkedIn can be really easy, but how can you really get the most out of them? David had a few suggestions: 

  • Join groups that align with your areas of interest and expertise. 
     
  • Post questions to vet potential contacts: any time you post a question in a group, you will, of course, get those who just like to add their two cents. But along with these, you’ll also get smart answers. Those are a good indication of who you might want to get to know a little better. 

    They  might have synergistic thinking with you, and you may be able to create a referral (or even client) relationship. Rather than just connecting with everyone in the group, it’s a way to give you an indication of the people that you want to invest a little more time in.

    Jonathan added that you can also use groups to tell who has the best chance of being influential, because you’ll see those people posting regularly. So if your time is precious, look for the recurring contacts and spend some time figuring out whether you should get to know them. 

    He’s found that people are more accessible through social media – while someone might not be receptive to a cold call, it’s an entirely different dynamic to introduce yourself through social media. 
     

  • Start groups to attract the appropriate connections for dialogue and follow up: You may get some initial push-back from lawyers who are too busy to want to moderate a group, but it can be very beneficial. If you invite the right people and curate good content, you could get good back and forth dialogue in the group. 

    Jonathan mentioned how a Facebook group has worked well for legal marketers – the Legal Marketers Extraordinaire, run by Heather Morse. He observed that he can’t express enough the amount of knowledge, news, best practices and interesting things coming out of this group that you wouldn’t find in a regular networking group. 

    Although that’s on Facebook, each of us as marketers can suggest this to our attorneys – if there isn’t an existing group, or a group that meets their needs, recommend that they start their own group. You can help them to start it, give them best practices to keep it moving and get people talking, and they’ll be shocked by the resources and information that they’ll get as a result. 

LinkedIn alerts

We all know about LinkedIn alerts, but David cautioned against assuming that everyone will respond to them. He told the story of recently updating something on his profile that he considered to be fairly important. Only one person responded to it – it was a vendor who wanted to sell him something, but he remembers that person now, and he wasn’t on his radar before. 

The message that that sends is that they look out for the people they prioritize, and that leaves a positive impression. David is in the buyer’s seat in that situation, and he sees the seller as being considerate and proactive. So don’t assume that people don’t want to hear from you.

Nancy pointed out that it’s also very easy to do – you get an email every morning with the alerts, so follow the link (make sure if the alert says someone has a new job that they actually have a new job, and didn’t just update a keyword), and reach out to them. David agreed and emphasized the importance of confirming the facts of an update on someone’s profile page. 

ROI and Key Metrics to Track

Jonathan took over the session at this point with the million dollar question – what are we getting out of our time on social media? What should we be tracking? 

  • Quantity and quality of connections: this is where having an objective comes in handy, because it tells you what to focus on. A bigger network isn’t necessarily better. 
     
  • LinkedIn tags: This is a new feature to me – you can use tags to categorize your contacts, which allows you to leverage them in the best possible way. You can categorize them by industry or location, maybe as members of the media. Doing this makes it easier to manage a small group, rather than your entire network of contacts. 
  • Profile views: You can see who has viewed your profile (at least some of it) whether you have a paid or free account on LinkedIn. So when looking for those daily routines to set up, check and see who is viewing your profile. Depending on who you see, identify what action steps you can take – maybe there’s a competing law firm checking you out regularly, or a contact at a prospect that one of your attorneys has targeted. You can message them to take the conversation further. 
     
  • Number of invitations to connect: How many people reach out to you to connect? Part of this is a reflection of your activity levels – the more content you put out, the more engaging with others’ content, the more people will want to connect with you, because they see you as a center of influence. 
     
  • The number of people…
    • Viewing updates: This is another of LinkedIn’s new features, and you can see it right on your home page when you scroll down. LinkedIn gives you the item, and tells you how many views and likes it has gotten – essentially, how much influence did the post have with your network? This will change depending on how useful the information is. 

      If you’re looking for ways to determine how effective you’re being, look at this as one of the metrics. If the views are increasing, you know you’ve found content that is interesting to your network. If the opposite is the case, it may not be resonating with your network. 

    • Liking, sharing, commenting

  • Number of recommendations:  We’ve all been on the receiving end of being asked for recommendations. This can be intrusive and uncomfortable, but when you do come into contact with other professionals who have been happy with the value that you’ve provided, they may ask how they can return the favor. One of those responses can and should be to ask them to provide a LinkedIn recommendation (obviously, subject to the ethics rules in your jurisdiction on this). 

    Recommendations round out your profile, and can send a message to those viewing your profile – especially those who are influencers. You don’t need tons of recommendations, but as time progresses, you should be growing these. 

Content Creation

This was one of my favorite sections of the entire session, because it gave me a lot to think about (plus, you may know that I love to talk about leveraging content in other ways).  In today’s digital age, the opportunity to repurpose content is an important one. 

Jonathan used the example of starting with a blog post – how can you repurpose that?

  • Use sentences from the post in a media pitch to reporters to let them know the attorney is a thought leader. 
  • Turn the entry into an article to get them into a trade journal, and increase visibility. 
  • Turn it into a client alert – multiple touches of clients is critical, so perhaps you send it out as a general alert, or target it to a subset of your clients. 

You’re taking a piece of content that the lawyer may have spent an hour on and maximizing it by repurposing it in a number of ways. 

In addition to repurposing it though, you also have to make sure that you’re getting the original post in front of as many people as possible – and you can’t just publish it and sit back waiting for people to find it. you have to use content distribution tools such as: 

  • Firm website/attorney profile
  • Firm contacts
  • LinkedIn, Twitter
  • Syndicated service: JD Supra, Lexology

Jonathan commented that nothing feels better than to send the attorney an email with the subject line asking "Did anyone read your post?" and then using the body of the email to share all the ways in which people saw the content. It fuels them to write their next post, and that’s our job as legal marketers – to know the tools and excite our attorneys about writing to get the content out of them. 

Attitude and Approach

Jonathan and Heather Morse will be addressing this topic in more detail at next week’s LMA conference, but he also mentioned it during yesterday’s session – for the first time, we have four generations in the workforce.  He identified those as Silent, Boomer, GenX, and Millenial. 

Each of those generations has their own preferences for how they develop relationships and consume information, so one strategy won’t work across all generations. Instead, you need a strategy for each, to avoid missing a segment for your firm. 

As for each generation’s preference: 

  • Silent: face to face
  • Boomer: face to face, phone
  • GenX: email, some social
  • Millenials: video

Keep those in mind as you’re marketing your lawyers and your firm. 

Wrap up: 

Nancy asked each of the presenters for their final comments to wrap up the session. David advised that when extending an invitation to someone to join your LinkedIn network, you should avoid the boilerplate language. He said it ties back to what Jonathan had mentioned earlier, that networking in person is not different to networking online. 

He asked us to picture what that would look like in person – walking up to someone and handing them your business card, while saying "I’d like to add you to my network of connections," before moving on to the next person (though, let’s be honest, we all know people who have done that). 

That isn’t effective or memorable though (at least not memorable in the right way). You need to give people a sense of why they should connect with you, or at least a relevant connecting point. Personalizing the invitation only takes a second or two, but it makes a huge difference – it’s the difference between having a strategy and objectives, and just going through the motions.

Along those lines, Jonathan’s final piece of advice was to be intentional – our time is precious and our resources finite, so if we don’t use them intentionally and directly, it’s a scattered shot approach that doesn’t allow us to track the results. So as marketers, start with a few attorneys, share the information and help them to grow and track their network, and show them how they’re making a splash. 

Nancy thanked the presenters, and noted that we’d be following up with them to get all of the questions that came in during the session answered in the next few weeks.  

Thanks again to our presenters for an excellent session – if you’re going to be at LMA next week, make sure to introduce yourself to them, and attend the sessions that they’ll be presenting!