For a law firm marketing department or an individual attorney, having a large, active LinkedIn group that is oriented around an area of specialty is a wonderful way to demonstrate thought leadership and assert oneself at the heart of a niche community.
But many of these groups fail to gain significant traction and more often than that quickly fade to irrelevancy.
A number of law firms and individual practitioners have approached us recently with variations on the following story. Either a partner has seen that one of their competitors has a large and vibrant LinkedIn group on a particular topic and wants to know why their firm doesn’t have anything similar or why their own group is a fraction of the size.
Or the partner or marketing department has gone ahead and created a LinkedIn group (or groups) and now it’s a dead zone. No comments, few members. It’s just a sad lonely place to be and no one knows how to revive it.
We’ve spent the past year working through the solutions to these issues for both ourselves and our clients. For example we have a LinkedIn group that we are working on right now for a client on the topic of healthcare. It’s jumped from 0 to 550+ members in just 3 weeks and includes a high concentration of pre-qualified individuals who are potential customers of the client. Our client is now at the heart of this network, with the ability to demonstrate thought leadership as well as regularly message the members to advance the business development strategy. Other niche groups we have created and manage on the topic of the FCPA, ERISA, ITAR and more have more than a thousand members each.
So why do these succeed when so many others fail? Let’s get back to those three reasons.
1. Lack of intensive promotion at launch
Most groups fail for the simple reason that they get off to a poor start. It takes a minute to start a group but without an ‘immediate’ and proper nurture, the group is likely to fail to meet its full potential.
Why ‘immediate’? Well our experience indicates that if you get a lot of new members to your group very early on then it becomes self-sustaining. It’s the difference between walking into a party with one or two people on the dance floor versus 200. The bigger the party, the more people want to join and participate. Gaining this critical mass of members early in the groups’ life sets the expectation of inevitability. It sounds daunting but is actually more straightforward than it appears with some careful advance planning, research and coordination within the firm.
2. Lack of content strategy at launch
Another reason why LinkedIn groups often fail is the lack of content. Again this something that is especially important during the launch phase. The group needs to be perceived as a valuable, content rich forum. Once it achieves that status then – again – the group will be self-sustaining and will require minimal tinkering from the marketing team or the attorneys. Having a content plan ready at group launch – and enough members primed to make an initial contribution – will make all the difference.
3. Narrow group focus / Poor group name choice
Group naming is also an important factor of success. One of our clients was having trouble attracting members to a group that was named after a particularly specialized piece of legislation. While this area of the law was their area of expertise and they were hoping to attract a critical mass of potential clients to the group, the narrow title limited the scope and interest from their potential prospect community.
As a LinkedIn member your group membership is displayed on your profile like a badge. Few professionals – whether they are clients or not are going to endorse your firm by wearing your organization name on their profile. Calling your group “Biglaw’s Patent Group” is a surefire way to limit membership.
Our solution was to broaden the group focus as well as rename it to something that an in-house counsel would want to be aligned with. The result? A larger, more vibrant community discussing a panoply of related legal issues that our client can potentially assist with.
LinkedIn groups are the number one social networking assets for the business community and law firms are no exception. For many reasons, one being due to the sheer, daily volume of original content created and/or interpreted by attorneys, the legal community is perhaps better positioned to fully exploit the opportunities LinkedIn than many others.
By creating your group on the proper foundation and successfully managing the launch and execution, your firm can drive awareness, web traffic and international recognition for any attorney or practice group with minimum effort and ongoing responsibility.
To find out more about how your organization can create and use Law-firm LinkedIn groups to be at the center of the online conversation, please contact Matt Godson at firstname.lastname@example.org
And don’t miss our free webinar Thursday, November 20th – 3:30-4:30pm Eastern for the LinkedIn Strategies for Lawyers: 2015 Edition Webinar series entitled “New Tactics for Using LinkedIn to Connect with People, Gain Influence, & Improve Visibility”
Please register online at https://momentumevents.com/linkedin-strategies-lawyers/