The importance of a strong presence on LinkedIn for law firms can’t be understated. Almost anyone who has a job, is looking for a job, needs to hire someone for a job or is going to school to qualify for a job, is on LinkedIn. The career-oriented social media network boasts more than 774 million members, with over 57 million companies and thousands of job opportunities on every continent — including Antarctica.
While LinkedIn is a great place for hiring and job-searching, it’s also a gold mine for law firms and lawyers who are looking to establish themselves as thought leaders and build their brands. According to SalesIntel, LinkedIn is responsible for 80% of all business-to-business (B2B) leads from social media.
However, organically building a following via a LinkedIn company page isn’t easy. It’s much easier via personal pages, as people want to connect with people, not companies.
Company pages versus personal pages: What’s the difference?
Let’s clarify what we mean by a “company page.” A LinkedIn company page represents a collective organization (i.e. your law firm), while personal pages, or profiles, represent individuals. You build connections on your personal page, whereas you build followers on your company page.
However, brand-building at the firm level (versus the individual lawyer) is critical for the firm’s long-term growth, and LinkedIn remains the number-one social media network for business. So, how do you get more eyeballs on your company page?
First, you must understand that LinkedIn’s algorithm determines who sees your law firm’s posts and how many feeds they will be displayed in. In other words, the algorithm calls the shots.
If that conjures images of a shadowy character pulling strings behind the curtain, your imagination isn’t too far off. LinkedIn doesn’t exactly make public what appeases the algorithm, but we’ve done lots of research and found key strategies that, when properly implemented, can broaden your reach on the platform.
Engagement has a snowball effect
The first step to increasing engagement on your LinkedIn company page is to understand that it won’t happen overnight. Even if you incorporate every suggestion in this blog series, overhaul your page and hire a dedicated social media manager to manicure your LinkedIn posts, it’s going to take time and consistency to reap the rewards.
Incremental improvements in engagement will grow exponentially as posts are reacted to, commented on and shared. As your reach grows, the platform will display your posts to more and more users who are connected to the people interacting with your content. Hence, the snowball effect.
LinkedIn’s algorithm is favorable toward pages with consistently high engagement. Like a snowball, each post builds upon itself, creating more and more engagement. Thus, commit to LinkedIn for the long haul, be consistent and set your expectations accordingly.
Don’t post too little or too often
It’s common sense to assume that putting a multitude of captivating content in front of your audience will make them notice you and increase engagement. But the algorithm doesn’t take kindly to law firms that post too frequently.
LinkedIn itself recommends posting once per business day (and no more than twice in any one day). According to HubSpot, anything more than five posts per week results in diminishing returns. HubSpot surmises that LinkedIn doesn’t want users’ feeds to be overwhelmed by posts by the same company, so the second post in one business day cannibalizes the performance of the first.
HubSpot found that pages with at least 100 followers average two clicks per post in their first two posts of the week. But as those same pages posted more frequently, their engagement returns dropped. The 10th post in a week for these pages averaged roughly 0.5 clicks per post.
Flaunt your best assets: your people
It’s important to note that the all-seeing algorithm favors posts made by individuals over those made by company pages. LinkedIn has a saying: “People You Know, Talking About Things You Care About.” Thus, all else being equal, posts by law firms won’t perform as well as posts by real people.
You can take advantage of this by encouraging your attorneys and other professionals to share posts made on the company page to their individual LinkedIn pages. In business-speak, this is called employee advocacy.
Employee advocacy is when an organization promotes itself and its brand through its employees (or in the case of a law firm, your attorneys, professionals and staff). Your professionals form the human element of your company, so it only makes sense to utilize them to connect with your intended audience, who are also (hopefully) humans.
Employee advocacy improves employee engagement and firm culture by making employees feel valued. Doesn’t it feel great when your significant other posts a nice picture of you while professing how lucky they are to have you in their life? For employees, it’s easy to feel forgotten while working day in and day out. A post about how great they are at their job or how they’ve contributed to the firm will help them feel recognized and appreciated.
When posting about an attorney or staff member, make sure to @ mention them (type “@” and then begin typing a name). The mention or tag will notify the individual (as long as their notification settings allow), who may then share the post to their personal profile.
But it doesn’t only help internal relations. It shows your external audience that you care about more than just selling to them — and your bottom line. If they connect with the message or the attorney mentioned, there’s a good chance they’ll engage with the post.
It also works in your favor by:
- Increasing the possible number of weekly posts about your firm without being penalized by the algorithm
- Using the algorithm’s favorability toward individual pages to lead users to your company page
- Leveraging the attorney’s existing connections
- Lending a more personal element to your firm and content
Depending on the size of your firm, it might be hard to narrow down who exactly you should be posting about. One way to find the most compelling employee stories is to do an internal email outreach campaign that asks how working with the firm has improved employees’ lives, why they enjoy their job or how they feel their work helps their industry or community.
Creating a questionnaire using Google Forms or a similar survey service is a great way to stack enough employee stories for months of posts. But make sure to craft the right questions that coax interesting, unexpected or emotional anecdotes that will grab a reader’s attention.
There are a number of ways to create engaging and inspiring content using your employees as the focal point, including:
- Personal stories in text or video format
- Celebrating an achievement, award or promotion
- Showcasing pictures of attorneys and staff at events
Your audience is more likely to react to, comment on and share a post that includes a positive human element. Plus, the employee included in the post will probably share it on their own page, increasing the post’s reach to their personal connections and contributing to the snowball effect.
Don’t make it all about you: Spread the love
Lots of firms use LinkedIn solely as a broadcasting tool to promote their case wins, major deals, awards and other news. This “vanity content,” while important for brand building, usually doesn’t work to increase engagement — when you beat followers over the head with content that only focuses on your firm, they’ll get tired of what you’re posting and may unfollow you. Even if they don’t unfollow, it’s unlikely that they’ll react, comment or share a post that’s a thinly veiled press release about your firm.
As we learned above, the key to increasing engagement is to keep users consistently interacting with your posts. As they do, the posts will be displayed to their connections, widening your reach and inducing the snowball effect.
The LinkedIn algorithm doesn’t like when businesses pat themselves on the back too much. But it’s not only the algorithm — users on the platform tend to lose interest when pages only try to sell themselves.
The 4-1-1 rule suggests that for every piece of content you share about your firm, you should share four pieces of content written by others that cater to your audience’s needs and interests, and one repost from another source on the platform.
While it might seem counterintuitive to post more content from outside sources when you’re trying to drum up engagement for your company page, the 4-1-1 rule helps ensure you don’t wear out your audience and instead positions you as a source for interesting, relevant content. Reposting from other profiles is a great way to broaden your reach and offer different perspectives.
You never know — when you spread the love, it might just come back around when someone reposts from your page.
When it comes to sourcing content to fill your social media calendar, consider what is of most interest to your target audience. If there is an interesting story or issue developing in real time that could affect them or their industry, you should post about it while it’s still top-of-mind. Even if you have the whole week scheduled in Hootsuite, it’s worth shuffling evergreen (not time-sensitive) posts around to accommodate the timely posts while they are the most relevant.
The 4-1-1 rule turns your company page into a source of news and information that benefits your followers and the sources you’re reposting. Just like karma, when you spread love, it’s likely to come back to you in one way or another.
This is the first blog of a two-part series on improving LinkedIn engagement for company pages. Check back soon for the second installment.