LinkedIn is the world’s premier professional network with 810 million members in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. This metric alone makes the platform one of the top social networks today. 44% of Internet-using Canadians have an account and 27% use LinkedIn each month. 37% of US adults use LinkedIn.
LinkedIn launched in 2003 with a vision of creating economic opportunity for the global workforce by connecting the world’s professionals. The platform enables its members to focus on networking, building careers, and sharing ideas by connecting and sharing content with other professionals such as colleagues, potential employers, business partners, competitors, new employees, and clients.
LinkedIn IS a Top Player
When it comes to social media marketing, you might be tempted to put all your resources toward the big three: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But excluding LinkedIn would be doing your practice a huge disservice. In a recent study conducted by HubSpot, traffic from LinkedIn generated leads 227% more effectively than Facebook and Twitter.
Want more stats? Hootsuite reports that while 83% of Canadians use Facebook and 51% use Instagram, only 42% use Twitter and 40% Pinterest, putting LinkedIn (at 44%) right in the sweet spot. In the United States, 69% of adults use Facebook and 40% use Instagram, while 23% use Twitter and 31% use Pinterest.
If you’re in the marketing department of a law firm or a lawyer looking to raise your profile, LinkedIn should be one of your main social media channels. But are you using it to its full potential to improve brand awareness, build your network, boost leads and conversions, and increase revenue? Let’s find out.
But first, a tale of what not to do.
The Wrong Way to Post on LinkedIn aka The Lawyer Who Tried to Sue LinkedIn Because He “Overshared”
We’ve all witnessed someone who posts too often about mundane topics. Oversharing is a hazard to our online lives. Commonly seen on more personal platforms like Instagram or Facebook, it can be a major turn-off, especially when crossing the realm from personal to self-promotional.
The nuances of posting online may be lost to some. And that user agreement window that flashes up that most just agree to without reading? That could be important, especially when you commit the social media cardinal sin of oversharing.
Case in point: Vermont lawyer, Kenneth Vercammen. This lawyer lost his LinkedIn privileges when his account was suspended in December 2019 for alleged violation of its user agreement and publishing platform guidelines. LinkedIn claimed that Vercammen’s 15 or more posts per day were intended to advertise his business because they included contact information.
LinkedIn said the posts violated its publishing guidelines which state that promotions for services “aren’t appropriate content for article publishing.” Vercammen could have purchased ads on LinkedIn, but he didn’t.
Vercammen sued, alleging breach of warranty, negligence, common law fraud, and consumer fraud. He claimed that he didn’t have reasonable notice of the terms of the user agreement. But Vercammen had agreed to a sign-in-wrap agreement that contained a “noticeable hyperlink to the user agreement and terms of service,” the appeals court said. A sign-in-wrap agreement advises users that they agree to terms of service when they register.
The appeals court said the forum selection clause in the agreement was valid, and Vercammen lost his appeal for consumer fraud.
“On Facebook, some people post 10 photos a day of what they’re eating for lunch and their cats. If I knew there was a rule, I would have complied with it,” Vercammen said when he spoke to Law.com.
Most Lawyers are Smarter Than That
Of course, they are. They know that the purpose of LinkedIn’s publishing platform is to publish engaging content, not to spam their network or advertise their business (unless they’ve purchased LinkedIn ad campaigns).
LinkedIn should be used for thought leadership. It’s a place where long-form content can shine, where you can cement yourself as an innovative leader or an expert in your industry. Types of thought leadership include perspectives on news and trends; organizational, embodied in the vision and ethos of the company; and product, where the focus is on best solutions for clients.
Anything you publish on LinkedIn’s publishing platform remains your work; however, LinkedIn can distribute and annotate your work, as well as sell advertising where your work appears. Also, keep in mind that your articles will be publicly available and can be shared.
LinkedIn Marketing Best Practices
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Share quality content
- Use relevant hashtags
- Use @ mentions
- Know when to use a LinkedIn page (public) versus a LinkedIn profile (personal)
- Create posts of varying lengths—posts between 1000-3000 words get the most shares
- Share external articles on the platform
- Create a publishing schedule—share consistently
- Include a photo or video, but make sure what you post will stand up to ethics and the test of time
- Add a branded cover image
- Start or join a conversation
- Only publish original content—if it’s not yours, you need permission to share
Your professional network is more important than ever as more business tasks and deals continue to happen virtually. LinkedIn reports that conversations between connected users grew by 55% from January 2020 to January 2021. If you haven’t added LinkedIn to your marketing arsenal, there’s no time like the present. Now that you’ve read this article, you know exactly what to do (and not to)!