Three reasons law firm leaders should consider writing on LinkedIn
May 10, 2017 • 4 minute read
“Your magazine ruined my profession.”
When I was a reporter at The American Lawyer, I lost count how many times my colleagues and I heard that charge from lawyers. The aggrieved, of course, were suggesting that somehow the ranking of law firms by profits and revenues (which The American Lawyer did for the first time in 1987) caused greed and envy to spread throughout the legal profession.
I won’t go into just how baseless that argument was (and still is), but I will concede that law firms back then were at a disadvantage. If they wanted to voice their concerns about the profession and speak out against what they saw as misguided metrics, they had limited options. The media had the upper hand.
That’s not true today. With social media platforms like LinkedIn, law firm leaders have the mic. They also have vast and influential audiences that include clients, potential clients, potential recruits, the media and colleagues. But I see few taking the opportunity and speaking up about what matters to them most.
I’m not suggesting that writing on LinkedIn is for everyone. Doing so requires a major time commitment, along with deep and clear thinking. Writing on a social media platform also comes with risks, including provoking negative reactions.
But the growing influence of social media platforms is undeniable, and with a considered strategy, those platforms present powerful new opportunities. I see three major reasons law firm leaders should consider regularly writing on LinkedIn.
1. Chance to fill a content gap
The legal industry is awash in content. Every day, it seems you can find new articles and posts on just about every legal specialty from aviation to zoning. But there’s dramatically less written about things like firm culture, diversity, philanthropy, corporate citizenship and pro bono activity.
In some ways, the dearth of content on those topics is surprising. Often they are the ones that most animate managing partners and clients. Writing about these issues in a careful and thoughtful way can amplify a leader’s personal brand, help clarify his or her thinking on issues, burnish a firm’s brand, and contribute to important dialogue.
It’s true that law firms could host this kind of content on their own websites. And there are advantages to that option. By keeping content on a firm’s website, the firm doesn’t have to worry about the content being tainted by negative comments or losing prominent visibility. But I would argue that hosting such content can make it appear self-serving. By posting on a third-party platform, the content gains credibility from an open forum.
3. A large and influential built-in audience
Although it’s unclear how many users regularly visit LinkedIn, it claims to have a total of 500 million users. It’s not Facebook-popular (1.1 billion daily users), but LinkedIn is clearly the most popular business social media network, where key business decision-makers are spending more and more time. It’s also where journalists often look for sources to interview. An established record of posts on LinkedIn can substantiate a managing partner’s thought leadership bona fides and help strengthen the SEO of a firm.