In an industry that has been traditionally slow to embrace technology and digital change, It has never been more important for lawyers and other experts to be visible and develop their online profile.
All major social platforms have reported surges in content posting during lockdown with LinkedIn stating a 55% increase in engagement between connections in recent weeks and a rise in C-Suite platform usage. As people look for trusted guidance and clarity in these uncertain times it's important to ensure that you stay part of the conversation and reach the right audiences by sharing insights, and conveying your values and personality.
Timely and relevant content creation gives you a chance to elevate your credentials within your profession, be it with clients or amongst your peers, as well as create connections with the wider business brand. Together we help inform our audiences and build trust for the long-term, not just for right now. This has always been important, but changing circumstances have brought this to the fore and will likely now help accelerate that understanding and those practices within our profession for people who previously saw this as an optional approach. Whilst the circumstances are far from ideal, we are seeing the impacts of coronavirus forcing many individuals and firms to change their approach and relationship with digital for the better.
However, with many taking this approach to content creation and enhancing their online presence, we are now being bombarded with messages surrounding the ongoing global pandemic and it would be easy for people to feel overwhelmed, and indeed easy for our own content to get lost and miss the mark. How do we ensure we standout?
The key message is to be authentic and genuine, providing help where it's needed and avoiding the hard-sell. Identify those client pain points and help provide innovative and relevant solutions - talk to people, listen, ask questions, be supportive and ensure your expertise stay front-of-mind whilst also just being yourself and showing some personality. Being human, relevant and authentic have never been more important.
People will continue to have other problems in their lives that are not related to the pandemic so it's important to continue to share 'business as usual' content and not just focus on COVID-19 related issues. With everyone out there talking about coronavirus, now is a great time to ensure your evergreen content is in order and ensure your core service messages are also getting through and that may well be how you actually end up standing out amongst the noise.
Here are some top tips on building your LinkedIn community, staying relevant and visible, and making sure you can standout in the crowd:
- Complete your profile - Having a complete profile is an important part of conveying your credibility and presenting yourself as a serious business leader to the outside world - it’s how potential contacts, including clients, will find and identify you. Ensure your headline says who you are and what you do - this is probably not your job title. Make sure your summary is engaging and conveys your areas of expertise and something of your personality and who you are - don’t just copy/paste your website bio!
- Develop your network - Connect with the people that matter and ensure you stay visible, relevant, and up-to-date with trends and opportunities in the circles that align with your commercial goals. Don’t just connect with colleagues and friends - make sure you’re keeping your network and reach in mind and look for opportunities to reach new and influential contacts. Sell yourself through your network and think about who you’d like to target. Connect with clients (where suitable), intermediaries, peers and key influencers in your space. Always personalise connection requests and use them to spark up conversation and confirm your relevance.
- Be visible, every day - Make sure you show up - every day! You reap what you sow and you’ll only cultivate the benefits of LinkedIn if you are regularly contributing to your network and taking actions that make you visible to it. Invest in relationships - remember social media is meant to be social, not just for broadcasting or listening. Engage the people you know, and the people you want to know.
- Position yourself as an expert - Develop content that will position you as a leader, and someone that people will want to know and follow. Think about client pain points and look for opportunities to write and give something away or just to join a conversation and add value or help someone.
- Develop your content feed - The easiest way to find suitable content to engage with on a daily basis is to ensure that your feed is populated with content from relevant, authoritative and trusted sources that align with your commercial ambitions. Staying abreast of industry news is key to building your expertise, strengthening your position as a leader, and increasing respect from your peers.
- Join and engage with groups - Join relevant groups which align with your specialisms, industry, experience and target audiences - these will often expose you to highly relevant niche networks and open up new possibilities to both connect and establish you as a leader in your field, elevating your personal brand as well as increasing awareness of the wider brand offering and people.
- Develop social reciprocity - Celebrate others and support each other. By liking and sharing content and being proactive on a daily basis your contacts are far more likely to return that favour and engage with your own content thereby helping to raise your visibility within their networks. It’s a ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ type arrangement.
- Listen and research - Learn to use search tools and identify opportunities for conversation engagement or network development.
- Use hashtags and mentions in your posts to amplify reach - Make sure you’re using mentions and relevant hashtags in your posts to maximise your reach across networks and amplify the visibility of your posts as well as encouraging engagement from those mentioned, otherwise, without any meaningful engagement, your posts will only ever reach your immediate network.
- Be helpful and be yourself - Build trust by being kind, helpful and supportive of others and work on cultivating relationships long-term. Forget the hard-sell and just be authentic. Ask questions and take the focus off of you and look for opportunities to help. Convey some of your personality - show people who you are.
In a world full of lawyers and experts, your key differentiator is you, so don’t overthink it. Just show up and be yourself.
Your job and career may change directions or evolve while we’re in this time of uncertainty, but you and your network are on a professional journey together, and the stronger your network, the further everyone goes together.