You’ve decided it’s time to up your strategic marketing game on LinkedIn. Congratulations! It’s an excellent choice for B2B sellers in general and legal vendors in particular. (More on why in a bit.)
But before you start knocking out posts, there are a few not-so-obvious tasks to consider for how you’ll conduct activity on LinkedIn. And for some reason, a few of these issues are not discussed very often online, though they clearly pose critical questions for a business just getting started.
Here’s one for example: Should you share new posts from your company’s profile page or from your personal account?
(Answer: It depends.)
This post explains the answer to that question in more detail and also discusses:
- What to include on your LinkedIn company page
- Tips for writing a better personal profile
- Which paid advertising option to choose first
- Linking your personal account to your company page
- Adding a follow button to your website
- Options for creating images
- Tools for scheduling posts
- How often to post and best times to post
Why should legal vendors use LinkedIn in the first place?
LinkedIn is the most useful social channel for legal vendors for marketing, for networking, for advertising, and all the way around. Being active on Twitter and Facebook can be helpful, sure.
But connecting, interacting, advertising, and promoting content on LinkedIn is the most beneficial for companies that sell products and services to law firms because lawyers spend most of their time on LinkedIn.
Yes, you will find in surveys such as Attorney at Work 3rd Annual Social Media Marketing Survey Report and the ABA’s Legal Tech Survey that lawyers’ use of LinkedIn is dropping while their use of Facebook is rising.
However, we have to look at their purpose in preferring to use Facebook over LinkedIn. Up to 70% of attorneys report that their use of social media is part of a marketing strategy.
When you consider that many attorneys in certain fields such as criminal defense, probate and estate, labor and employment, class action litigation, and so on need to connect with the average, everyday citizen – i.e., the typical Facebook user — in order to promote legal services, then their increased use of Facebook takes on a more nuanced meaning.
Attorneys are not using Facebook to learn about new industry developments or educate themselves on certain products. Quite the contrary; they use Facebook to promote and sell their own services.
Because LinkedIn is established as a networking platform for professionals, it makes sense that lawyers are more open to learning new things while there. While legal professionals use Facebook to get new business, they are much more apt to use LinkedIn to discuss business and look for solutions.
Which is, of course, where you come in.
Set Up Your Company Page on LinkedIn
First things first. Regardless of whether you plan to be active on LinkedIn or not, you should create a company page because LinkedIn company pages show up in Google search results. So if nothing else, you’re ahead of the game by using this opportunity to get discovered through Google search by creating a company page.
Make sure your company page language is descriptive. Use an active, friendly voice to speak directly to the reader. The goal is to drive awareness of your existence and increase engagement with your brand.
You don’t need to tell readers every single thing about your business on your company page. Share enough information that readers understand what offer. But don’t get lost delving too deep into details. The idea is to make your readers want to know more about you.
EXAMPLE: A seamstress would want to say she can inspire you to feel utterly unstoppable and confident in a tailored, well-fitted suit. But she shouldn’t then go into details about the scissors she uses to cut fabrics. One, nobody cares. And two, she ultimately wants to drive readers to go to her website or to contact her directly, not find out everything on LinkedIn.
And don’t just repeat your website’s homepage copy or cut and paste your About Us page content either. That’s not only cheating, it’s also robbing yourself of an additional opportunity to engage readers and capture their interest. Share details on benefits you offer to encourage readers to visit your website where they can learn much more than they ever could in the 2,000-word space allotted on your company page.
- Specific benefits your product or service brings to clients
- Advantages your company has over competitors
- Descriptions of how your clients’ lives are improved after partnering with you
P.S. Don’t divide your efforts initially by creating an additional Showcase page. Come back and add showcase pages as soon as you are comfortable and have a regular social media posting rhythm established that you actually stick to. Plus, many business owners never create showcase pages because it doesn’t make sense for their business.
Add a Follow Button to Your Website
Action Item: Add a LinkedIn follow button to your website’s footer or sidebar that allows people to easily click and automatically follow your company page. This is different from adding a button that, when clicked, directs people to your LinkedIn company page. Learn more: https://developer.linkedin.com/plugins/follow-company#
Writing your personal (but still professional) LinkedIn profile
Your company page is all business. It’s similar to what people would find if they looked up your company in a directory.
Your personal profile is YOU. It’s like the personal interaction people would receive if they called you up or stopped in your place of business.
Your personal profile needs to complement, not repeat, the information on your company page. Don’t refer to yourself in the third person (e.g. Leah Presser is a copywriter and content marketer – GAG). And don’t just create a list of job duties like you’re filling out an online resume.
Share what inspires you to bring them the benefits of partnering with you. It’s not completely out of line to discuss your qualifications or provide a bit of narrative of your working experience. The key is to tie everything into how it helps the reader, who you hope is a potential client.
Action Item: Keywords count on LinkedIn. Include them in your personal profile and company page descriptions and in the titles of your job roles. On your company page, add up to 20 specialties that use keywords.
Example of keyword usage: A medical records retrieval service company might list specialties such as records retrieval, medical records requests, medical file retrieval, HIPAA records requests, and so on. Don’t be too repetitive. Don’t just add an “s” to “record” to make a whole separate specialty. But do go ahead and get creative using keywords.Keywords count on LinkedIn. Include them in your personal profile and company page descriptions and job titles. Click To Tweet
Legal Vendor LinkedIn Content Marketing
Social media is a critical part of an effective overall content marketing plan. You should always be promoting the content you create on LinkedIn and other social media. It’s part of getting your name out there and making law firm leaders and legal professionals aware of your existence.
You’ll have to decide whether to:
A) Share your content through your company page first, then share your company posts through your personal profile.
B) Share your content directly from your personal profile only.
(You could do both. But why?)
I share posts from my personal profile only because I am my business and my business is me. I created a company page, but that was mostly so I can have a logo appear next to my job title. Plus – always remember and don’t ever forget – LinkedIn company pages show up in Google search results.
But, your company page can’t connect or interact with others. It can’t comment on posts or join groups. It’s basically a one-dimensional, static broadcast medium.
That’s just the thing: A company page is an “it.” And people don’t engage with an “it.”
People want to talk with real people. They want to talk with, know and like you, a human with genuine emotions and real thoughts.
Ergo, you must interact, comment, connect with others, and share others’ posts and media through your personal profile page.
And yet …
You don’t want anyone to forget that you represent a business. People need to remember your company name and visit your company’s website. Unless you’re like me, those are two different proper nouns.
Action Item: That’s why you will want to correctly link your personal account to your company page.
When you create a company page and link your personal profile to it correctly, your job title (which can include your company’s name) will appear under your name in every post you make from your personal profile.
But we still haven’t decided where you’re sharing from, your personal account or your company page …
Common practice would be to share your company’s blog posts and other content on your company page first.
Then, share your company page’s post through your personal account (after you’ve linked it to your company page).
When you share your company’s post from your personal profile, personalize it further by adding comments of your own. Yes, you can just let it roll as is. But I recommend adding your own thoughts about the piece so readers come to know you more personally. Posts where I share my opinions or ask a question definitely get the most engagement from others.
Another option is to keep a company page as a static bookmark (because it’s discoverable on Google search) and share blog posts directly from your personal profile. This is what I do. The big benefit here is that it eliminates a step when sharing content.
The trade-off when sharing directly from your personal account is that you will appear more like a freelancer or a solo business owner. Your company will seem to be YOU, not a separate business. It works for me because that’s exactly what I am.
Get Noticed Quickly: Paid LinkedIn Ads
LinkedIn ads are a fast way to target your ideal audience and get your name in front of a lot of eyeballs quickly.
Here is a link to advertising options on LinkedIn. I’m not going to discuss the merits of each one because that’s a whole separate post. But I will advise you against Sponsored Inmail as a first choice.
I’m inclined to prefer Sponsored Content and Text or Dynamic Ads simply because I’ve never received a Sponsored Inmail that I’ve actually wanted.
It’s not a bad idea. Some people swear by Inmail. I, however, feel it’s much safer to start with the other options before opting to Inmail people.
You can publish Sponsored Content only through a company page. With LinkedIn ads and sponsored content, you can target specific audiences by demographics, industries, job titles and more. You also get access to a reporting and analytics to see what works and what doesn’t.
Of course, for sponsored content, you’ll need content to promote. You can use existing blog posts or website pages. And as part of a healthy content marketing strategy, you should always be creating new blog posts, ebooks, guides and other content.
You’ll need images for the sponsored posts.
LinkedIn will grab the first image it finds on the page and share it with your post. Sometimes that’s okay. Sometimes, not so much.
If you’re not sitting on a bunch of ready-to-use images and you don’t want to use the image LinkedIn pulls, you can:
- Create custom-made images using Visme, Stencil, Adobe, Canva or some other subscription.
- Hire a professional designer.
- Use free stock images with no writing on them.
I use Stencil to create header images for my blog posts that LinkedIn then grabs and shares. I prefer options like Stencil or Visme option because they allow me to add text to images.
Adding a tagline, title, description, statistic, or any idea with words atop an image you share on social gives you an opportunity to communicate more information more clearly. Bonus — you also look professional and grab more attention. I find the small-ish fee for a Visme account worth it for this reason alone.
But, hey, plenty of folks use plain images without words. A quick scroll through your newsfeed will show you the differences in what I’m talking about and help you judge how you’ll stack up against what other businesses are doing.Adding a tagline, title, description, statistic, or any idea with words atop an image you share on social gives you an opportunity to communicate more information more clearly. Bonus: you look professional. Click To Tweet
You should consistently promote your website, blog, and any content you create on LinkedIn because it’s FREE.
The LinkedIn Company Pages Playbook (recommended reading) suggests spending 30 minutes to an hour each day working on the platform. I totally agree with that time estimate. And while you’re focusing on LinkedIn, it makes sense to connect with your audiences on other social media platforms as well.
It does take a LOT of time if you do all your social media tasks manually and in real time. Programs like CoSchedule help a great deal in consolidating your efforts and are totally worth their price.
I use Buffer to create and schedule my social media posts across all platforms ahead of time. Buffer’s free plan allows you to pre-schedule up to 10 posts on three social media platforms.
You can reduce the time it takes to find new content to share by using a free app such as Feedly to follow relevant influencers and industry leaders. Feedly keeps you updated with the latest headlines for topics and websites you select to follow. You can easily grab informative, relevant articles to share with your audience.
How often should you post?
LinkedIn’s Playbook says to post 3 to 4 times a day, which is more than the typical advice from many professional marketers. You’ll often hear that you should post once a day on LinkedIn. I believe the discrepancy is due to the types of posts we’re talking about, and whether you’re posting your own original content or sharing others’ posts.
Action Item: Your initial goal should be to work up to posting your own original content on LinkedIn once a day. After you’re comfortable posting and interacting with others on your feed for a while, you’ll be able to better determine whether posting more than once a day is a good idea.
I often wind up posting more than once a day simply because I’m sharing someone else’s post that I’ve come across and enjoyed. That’s the kind of engagement that drives results. I spend time each day – generally 15 to 20 minutes, three times a day – interacting with others on social media.
Social media success requires a lot of liking, sharing, and commenting on others’ posts. In fact, sharing other people’s content throughout the day is more important than sharing your own content when getting started. You have to build relationships.
When should you post?
- Between 7:00 – 8:00 a.m.
- Around 12:00 p.m. (noon), and
- Between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m.
(By the way, this is a good time to make sure Buffer is working in the right time zone.)
I take time in the morning to schedule my day’s or week’s posts through Buffer. I also take care to pop in on LinkedIn when I can at the appropriate times to mingle with the crowd.
Of course, don’t limit yourself to just these times. If you’re waiting in line at 2 p.m. for a coffee, pop into LinkedIn and say hello. That’s part of what helps keep it natural.
The main advice for all social media success — as well as most other types of success in life — is:
Don’t be so worried about making a mistake that you never make a move at all.
If you’re unsure how to behave, just dive in. You’ll get more comfortable after you’ve been on it awhile. Life on social media goes by so quickly; there’s no time for regrets. The only regret you’ll experience is if you miss out on the wonderful opportunities ahead.