In-person conferences are the traditional staple of IP attorney new business development and whilst social distancing is in place, LinkedIn is firmly cementing itself as the replacement, with video conference tools such as Zoom taking the place of in-person meetings

On 27th May Alexander Wyrwoll of German law firm, Winter Brandl, chaired a well-attended FICPI webinar on “How to Develop Your Business Using LinkedIn”, with speakers Ana Celidonio from law firm Lobo de Rizzo in Brazil and Catherine Dhanjal from marketing firm TheAnswer Ltd in the UK and FICPI’s newsletter and blog editor.

Catherine and Ana spoke about the increased importance of LinkedIn and other digital media under lockdown and gave helpful advice on building a firm’s following on LinkedIn and on creating the best possible personal profile, while FICPI members made use of the Q&A feature to ask questions.

LinkedIn at Number 1

Catherine Dhanjal kicked off with some impressive statistics – LinkedIn has 660m members worldwide, and 40% of these use the platform daily. Ten per cent of regular users are ‘senior level influencers’, and 40m of them ‘decision makers’ – all marking LinkedIn as an ideal tool for making new connections and cementing existing ones; for receiving ideas and knowledge and getting your own out there.

Whilst noting that a firm will likely also have a presence on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, Catherine asserted that for business-to-business communication, collaboration and sharing expertise, LinkedIn comes in at number one, giving direct reach to senior decision-makers and specialists that would be hard to contact otherwise.

LinkedIn profiles – gateways to you and your company

Touching on the importance of a professional LinkedIn personal profile that uses all its features to the full – Photo (a good head and shoulders shot); Descriptor (explain the value of what you do, not just the job title); Services (this is Google searchable, so very important); Experience (don’t be shy to shout about acheivements); full Contact Details – Catherine moved on to speak about company pages.

Interested contacts can tag you or your company in posts and bring either into discussion, recommend you or your firm or offer you services, etc. As with personal profiles, there are different options for fleshing out company profiles, as and when you need.

Growing your company page

Activities such as liking, sharing, commenting, creating posts and articles, together with regular posting and consistency of professional material, are the best ways to grow a following for a company on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Groups are a closed-wall space that allows targeted discussions – like the FICPI LinkedIn Group – and they provide good hunting ground for potential clients, companies and individuals who might want to act as referrers or pipelines for your business. And using the LinkedIn Search facility is a great way to increase the number of your connections.

Keep moving!

Next Ana Celidonio, whose firm has very sucessfully grown its presence on LinkedIn, shared her tips for using LinkedIn to best advantage.

Her message is always be proactive – keep moving, pay constant attention and amplify posts and reactions, identify with other companies and individuals in the same business area, interact and reach out widely for information, whilst making yourself findable for those who want your services.

Lobo de Rizzo Advogados are proactive in training all staff – not just the lawyers – in making and maintaining LinkedIn personal profiles, with a dedicated marketing department to guide both personal and company profiles and posts. An engaged and professional attitude is key, she believes – as well as remembering that your image and the firm’s images are always connected. Client and staff confidentiality and safety are also essential considerations.

LinkedIn Premium – is it worth it?

Catherine advised dipping in and out of LinkedIn Premium, taking advantage of offers – noting that it can be useful if you’re a heavy user of the Search facility and actively looking for new contacts or a job.

Accepting connection requests

Ana noted that her contact list is an asset that she looks after and adds to, providing advice and assistance when asked. She’s open to connection requests from everyone in her area of business – and that includes competitors – seeing it as a compliment and noting that there are privacy settings that prevent followers accessing client lists.

Catherine added that ‘delighting’ the client starts before they’re a client – in other words, maintaining and growing your contacts is essential in business and LinkedIn provides the perfect way to do this.

Digital tools such as LinkedIn are particularly important at this time when face-to-face communication is not possible due to social distancing measures and investing some time in developing your personal profile and that of your firm will reap dividends.

FICPI’s view and involvement

FICPI instigated its webinar series during the Covid-19 lockdown, to offer members a weekly live event on a variety of practice management topics. FICPI’s focus on developing the professional excellence of its members is driven by a strong shared interest to promote common solutions and advocacy for private practice.

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