Please join me on Wednesday, July 15 at 1pm ET for a free virtual program on LinkedIn and personal branding best practices for business professionals who are currently looking for a job.

You’ll learn how to rework your LinkedIn profile to appeal to recruiters, how to optimize LinkedIn for your job search, how to build a stronger LinkedIn profile, how to utilize recent LinkedIn updates to your advantage, how to achieve All-Star status on the platform, how to establish yourself as a subject matter expert and how to build your professional network.

We will explore how to deepen connections in every part of your life who could be potential referral sources, future employers or connectors.

We will also discuss how to build a strong personal brand when you aren’t feeling so confident and how to not seem desperate for a job when you aren’t feeling like your best self.

I promise you there is light at the end of the tunnel. I have been there, and I have rebuilt my career. You can do it too, and I will help you.

There are a limited number of available spaces. Tell a friend. Let’s help each other. Learn more and register here.

 

This is a great example of using social media to highlight your firm and people, create your own news (owned media) on a regular basis which is incredibly helpful for small firms to regularly stay top of mind on social, use hashtags effectively, repurpose headshots, create a great custom social media graphic with eye catching visuals. And most importantly, to thank and recognize your employees for their service.

This is what I call hitting a social media grand slam.

Do you see how they took a Twitter holiday and turned it into something professional? I have a list of holidays like this on my blog that you can use throughout the year to supplement your editorial calendar when you are light on content.

Kudos to Florida-based Kim Vaughan Lerner and Thais Cedeno on inspiring us and raising the bar for law firm social media content.

You should follow this firm on LinkedIn to get ideas for your social media posts. This is yet another example of how you do not need to be a big firm with a big budget to be successful at social.

You can choose to notify your network about changes made to certain sections of your LinkedIn profile.

Enabling notifications about your profile changes may generate a post in your network’s feed, an in-app notification or an email notification.

To adjust notifications sent to your network about profile changes:

  1. Click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy from the dropdown.
  3. Click the Privacy tab at the top of the page.
  4. Under the How others see your LinkedIn activity section, click Change next to Share job changes, education changes, and work anniversaries from your profile.
  5. Switch the toggle to Yes to share your profile edits or No to stop sharing your profile edits.
    • Your changes will be saved automatically.

You can also adjust your notification preferences while you’re making changes to your profile from a computer by using the toggle in the Share with network section.

I would err on the side of not sharing updates on LinkedIn unless you get a new job or have a work anniversary, otherwise it can be confusing to your network.

If you are making a lot of changes to your profile, make sure you have the sharing profile changes button toggled to the “off” position before you do so.

Use LinkedIn as a platform to share thought leadership, news and content of value and to stay top of mind with your network, and of course, as mentioned above, to announce a new position or a board/volunteer role or to celebrate a work anniversary.

I know celebrating a work anniversary doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I have seen these notifications serve as the catalyst for individuals to get back in touch with each other, reignite relationships and sometimes even lead to new business. You just never know. Especially now when we have to socially distance and online networking has never been more important as a way to stay connected to your professional and personal networks.

News about work anniversaries and job moves appears under the notifications section on the top right hand side of your profile (under the bell icon). Check that section daily and use it as a business development and networking tool.

LinkedIn is so much more dynamic and important than any resume you will ever have, so use it wisely and use it often.

I have personally been waiting for Facebook to add back the the ability view my profile as someone who is not connected to me – so being able to view what my profile looks like as its public version.

It seems they’ve just enabled this again to users on mobile devices as you can see from my screenshot.

I find this useful so you can see what your profile looks to others. I think everyone should do an audit of their profile periodically to ensure that their private information stays, well, private.

Did you know that if you don’t specify that you only want your profile photo and cover photo changes to be displayed to your friends, the default is public? This is why I always check the settings of each post. If it has a globe next to it, it means it’s public.

If you want to make privacy changes to a particular post, you have to scroll through to find it on your timeline, which can be time consuming, but it’s worth it. I find this is easier and faster to do from my desktop versus my mobile phone.

While I am a true believer in the positive power of social media, as the lines between our personal and personal lives become blurrier by the day in the digital world in which we live, you should take the appropriate steps to protect your brand after all the work that you’re putting into strengthening it. This is why I Google myself regularly and check my personal social media profiles to ensure that the information that is displayed to the public is what I want it to be.

I am very selective about from whom I accept friend requests on Facebook and Instagram, and I periodically go though my connections list and remove people with whom I am no longer in touch or with whom I may no longer want to be connected (for example the friends and family of my ex). I suggest you do the same.

If you remove/delete a connection from any social media platform, those individuals do not get a notification letting them know that you have done so. Just like in real life, I prefer to have a small circle of people surrounding me, and I am selective about what I share about myself. Everything you post is part of your personal brand.

Remember, you have total control over your personal social media profiles, and you can change their privacy settings at any time (and change them back).

For more on this topic, see my article, “Why You Must Google Yourself Regularly and Protect Your Online Personal Brand.”

Content marketing takes time and effort, but staying top of mind with your target audiences is a key goal to marketing and business development – and providing value-added content is one way in which you can do this while branding yourself as a subject-matter expert in your area of the law.

Here are 12 tips to make your content marketing efforts successful and worthwhile. Keep in mind that they may take time to show real ROI, but I have seen thought leadership content lead to new business over and over. Remember that great content invites followers and potential leads/referrals and clients – that is how you achieve content marketing success.

  1. Strong headlines are key. They capture the attention of your readers and make them want to read more.
  2. That being said, while strong headline will draw in the reader, you also must deliver on what you promised. That means your body copy should get to the point right away, be written in client-centric language and address their pain points. Use short paragraphs and headers to let the reader know what to expect throughout the article as they often skim articles and are reading them on their mobile devices, especially right now during COVID-19.
  3. Make sure your mailing lists have clean data, or else your blog posts and client alerts won’t actually reach anyone. Spend the time to reconcile bounceback emails after each email. Remember the importance of email as the most direct way to reach your target audience.
  4. Good is often good enough – don’t spend forever perfecting a piece of content. Time is often of the essence to get a piece published.
  5. Look to see what your competitors are writing about and do it better than them. I recommend following 5-10 of your competitor firms and track what they write about. Follow their blogs and their LinkedIn accounts (but note that they can see that you are following them now).
  6. Recycle your greatest hits. So many firms take the time to create great content but they only post it once to social media – this is a huge mistake. No one is following your feed closely enough to notice if you reuse your content. Also, LinkedIn’s algorithm isn’t perfect and there’s no chance that everyone in your network will see every post you create or that your company shares. What users of LinkedIn see also depends on their news feed settings and if they have it set to view top news or most recent news and to top it off, LinkedIn users will often only see the posts of individuals with whom they interact often. So change up the headline, wording and imagery  of a post and voila – you have a new piece of content.
  7. Study your analytics to get a better sense of what content is resonating with your target audiences and what’s not. Make sure you share this info with authors as it inspires and educated them.
  8. Only focus on the social platforms where your clients and prospects are – don’t feel like you need to post content to all social channels. You should only dedicate your time and efforts to those platforms they are using – with LinkedIn being the most important one.
  9. I’m a firm believer that you should post nothing to social media without an image. Why? Because social media posts with images gain more views and engagement, period. Anyone can incorporate visuals into their social media strategy, you just need to be creative and resourceful. You can easily reuse and repurpose images that you already have, and resize them using tools right on your smartphone. In addition, there are many photo and online design tools that enable you to create images for free or at a low cost.
  10. Pursue opportunities to have your content published in third-party trade journals, websites and publications focused on your target industry. By doing this your target audience will grow to know, like and trust you as well.
  11. Utilize content syndicators like JD Supra. Many law firms (and their lawyers) invest considerable time writing great content, but are disappointed by the results. Either their thought leadership efforts don’t lead to new business, or they fail to garner media attention or the attention of clients/prospects. This isn’t necessarily because the content is poorly written. Often it is simply because not enough of the right people, your target readers, have the chance to see the work. Fact is, we operate in a competitive and saturated market and simply getting someone to open your email and read your content is very difficult. So, what can you do to stand out from your peers? Bring in the special forces like JD Supra to take your content efforts to the next level. In simple terms, JD Supra helps its clients leverage thought leadership to effectively create new business, media attention and networking opportunities.
  12. Consider utilizing new media and new mediums to engage with audiences such as video and podcasts, which can capture the attention of new followers and lead to new business.

Happy content creating.

There may come a time when you want to withdraw some of your past sent LinkedIn invitations (which haven’t been accepted).

It’s easy to do withdraw LinkedIn invitations that haven’t yet been accepted and no, the person to whom you sent the invite does not get a notification that you withdrew the request.

I personally do this often after a connection request hasn’t been accepted after a week or two. Most people regularly check LinkedIn, so if they haven’t accepted your invite by then, it’s safe to say that they aren’t going to at that point (sorry).

You can easily view your LinkedIn sent invitations and withdraw any that are still waiting for a response from the recipient (from your desktop). These invitations will sit in this “waiting room” or “LinkedIn purgatory” as I like to call it forever unless you manually withdraw them. There is no downside to keeping them in this area, but if you go to that person’s profile, you will see a “pending” in the “connect” area and they will see an “accept” or “ignore” notification from you.

  • Withdrawing a LinkedIn invitation will stop the recipient from receiving any further reminder emails to accept the invitation.
  • If you withdraw an invitation, the recipient won’t be notified.
  • If the recipient has already accepted your invitation to connect, you still have the option to remove them as a connection.
  • You cannot unblock or view your blocked invitations. Learn more about adjusting your settings for who can send you invitations.

To view and withdraw your sent invitations:

  1. Click the  My Network icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
    • You can accept or ignore any pending invitations displayed at the top of the page.
  2. Click See all [number] next to Invitations at the top of the My Network page.
  3. Click the Sent tab under Manage invitationsNote: You’ll see a list of invitations you’ve sent to People, Pages, and Events that are still waiting for a response.
  4. Click Withdraw next to a recipient’s name.
  5. In the pop-up that appears, confirm your decision.

It’s worth noting that once you withdraw an invite, you can’t send that person another invite for three weeks. They can however, send you an invitation during that period.

I hope this clears up how to withdraw LinkedIn invites that haven’t been accepted. Also, please don’t feel badly in any way that some of your LinkedIn invitations aren’t accepted – it’s par for the course when it comes to online networking and it happens to everyone, including me.

Promote your organization’s good works and commitment to its people and community via social media.

Social media is one of the most powerful vehicles that companies have to disseminate information about their pro bono, community service, diversity, recruiting and professional development initiatives. It is also a way to communicate information to employees especially if you do not have an intranet.

Show how you give back to the community and your people. Provide examples of training programs you provide to employees to help them grow and learn. Demonstrate your commitment to diversity and inclusion and pro bono work. If you give to causes, create a post about it. Include visuals of how you’ve helped others.

Clients want to see that your firm is a good corporate citizen – we increasingly see these questions asked in RFPs, and your social media presence is another important channel where you can reinforce this.

It will greatly differentiate your firm to have a social media presence that does not solely focus on how great you are, but rather what you do for the greater good of the community and your employees. It is also simply the right thing to do.

So do everything you can to promote these programs on your social channels in between touting your victories, news and wins. It is important for your clients and your employees and future employees.

We will never go back to doing business or conducting ourselves the way we were before the pandemic and George Floyd’s senseless death. Companies need to recognize this and embrace it.

I’m often asked how to develop a social media strategy that is aligned to your business development goals, which is absolutely critical to ensuring that your content supports your big picture growth efforts, so I thought I’d share a few ideas that I hope inspire you:

  • If you are a communications person, you should regularly meet with your business development colleagues to understand their priorities and how you can support their efforts
  • Review practice plans with your business development team so you really understand your firm’s practice and industry goals. Make sure you know who the top clients in each practice/industry are.
  • Become well versed in your firm’s strategic plan so that you know the bigger picture (hopefully your firm has a strategic plan!)
  • Focus on supporting the key rainmakers at your firm and the up-and-coming star associates and junior partners.
  • With the practice and lawyer points noted above, be strategic in choosing on which ones on which you focus. This may change each year based on firm and practice goals. This is why it is so important to be closely aligned with business development.
  • Define your audience, plan your approach and set clear, measurable goals for your social media and content strategy
  • Select your platforms (for example, most firms want a presence on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram) but your firm should ONLY focus on those where you know your clients and target audiences are. It’s better to narrow down the focus and do those well.
  • Adjust your content for the medium. What I mean by this is don’t post the same content on each platform – one size doesn’t fit all
  • Build an editorial/content calendar to manage mix of posts
  • Train employees on how to use social media to tap into their valuable networks (especially when it comes to LinkedIn)
  • Create timely, client-centric, educational content and always explain and anticipate what developments mean to your readers
  • Make your content work harder and smarter for you by:
    • Reusing and repurposing it
    • Creating once, publishing it everywhere (adjusting for the social networks)
    • Taking the time to create visuals to accompany your posts – they increase not just your brand awareness on social but also clickthroughs
    • Sprinkling in timeless, evergreen content when you have content gaps (I call these the content gifts that keep giving)
  • Effectively use visuals, hashtags, calls to action, and consider folding in more interactive content such as videos and podcasts
  • Your content must always be client-centric, and written in your clients’ language (no legalese!)
  • Don’t wait – create and distribute content while the topic is hot (good is often good enough)
  • Incorporate paid/sponsored content and using LinkedIn Navigator for targeting
  • Understand how SEO works and then use it to your advantage
  • Use analytics and data to refine your strategy

Remember, only create and share content based on your strategic business development goals – everything else is ancillary.

My guess is that many of you have more free time now due to the pandemic, which had slowed down deal flow and litigation activity.

Plus working from home eliminates the need for commuting, giving you extra hours in the day to focus on marketing and business development.

This is a great time to become a published author. There is a need for helpful, informative content and potential readers who also have more time on their hands to read articles.

While client alerts are incredibly important for every law firm to regularly publish on timely updates facing their clients to keep them informed, stay top of mind, obtain new work and to showcase their expertise, traditional and online outlets are always seeking thought leadership content to publish.

For example, Law360, the top legal industry publications (Bloomberg, Lexis Nexis, among others), the law journal in your state as well as niche publications that focus on specific industries are great places to submit an article.

Oftentimes, all you need to do is to look for the contact for third-party articles on the publication’s web site and send them an email with a short summary of the article and a proposed (catchy) title.

Don’t write the entire article before you contact them and it’s accepted – many publications have specific word counts or a preferred style – and so there’s no point in doing all of the work beforehand without knowing exactly what they are looking for.

Make sure to disclose if the article has been previously published (some publications want original content and others are fine to republish one of your client alerts).

If you are feeling ambitious, contact one of the law journals or industry publications to ask if they would be open to you writing a regular column and propose a few topics (again, just a quick summary of your ideas).

Hopefully many of you are utilizing a content syndicator such as JD Supra. This is a paid tool that is worth the investment to get your content into the hands of decision makers and a wider audience.

I’ve seen several lawyers score a recurring opportunity just by asking for it. And often, these kinds of opportunities come to those who ask for them. If you don’t ask, you won’t get it – it’s as simple as that.