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There is little doubt that any attorney who wishes to generate more leads and build a stronger social following has heard of the social network, LinkedIn.

LinkedIn, a network consisting of connected and interested business professionals, has been competing with the likes of Facebook and Google Plus for several years. While LinkedIn was the number two social network for a short while, it has fallen behind to the other social networks. As of June of 2012, here is where LinkedIn ranked in terms of number of users:

  1. Facebook: 7 billion
  2. Twitter: 182 million
  3. Pinterest: 104 million
  4. LinkedIn: 86 million

To change these numbers, the CEO of LinkedIn, Jeff Weiner, began introducing changes to help the platform take the next step in its evolution. LinkedIn has been updated with some major features that show off a juxtaposition of simplicity of use and a new, modern look.

Some of new features that can are of benefit to a lawyer include a new personal profile look and feel, updated company pages, and the ability to engage in a paid marketing campaign with video ads.

The new personal profile allows members to tell a story about who they are and their services, as well as organizing a cleaner view to show connections and any other accreditations that will help build trust and authenticity.

On a company page, firms can now add banners and slideshows, showcase certain practice areas, feature services, highlight items with targeted, clickable images and post status updates to keep visitors engaged. Company pages allow firms to build upon their branding and marketing activities and communicate directly with potential clients. The products tab is particularly feature-rich, showcasing recommendations, video, services, ebooks and linkable banners. The products and services area can be customized to display different content for different users, based on parameters specified by the firm. The opportunities to fine-tune your message to a professional audience are abundant and can be tweaked to match your needs.

LinkedIn, which is predominantly known for facilitating b2b connections, is attempting to compete with other social media sites that have long been considered avenues for interaction between businesses and their target audiences. Company pages offer something of a more “grown up” timeline, reserved only for professionals.

Another important update for those who are fans of online paid advertising campaigns is the availability to add video in addition to straight text ads. The new video feature allows for 30 second video advertisements, sized at 300x250 pixels, that can reach specific, much more targeted audiences and encourage more law firm awareness as well as more public attention. Video advertisements on LinkedIn are a helpful feature in this digital age, where over 60 percent of internet users spend their time on YouTube watching video content.

The demographics of Facebook, Google Plus, and LinkedIn are somewhat diversified, and as such, each demographic is interested in different updates and different types of interaction. Users of LinkedIn have a higher average income than members of other social networks, and attorneys wishing to reach this demographic should consider creating updated personal and company profiles.

The new design and features of LinkedIn appear to be promising. While the social network was ranked number four last year, with these updates, that may quickly change. So should any law firm's social marketing tactics.

About Author

Thomas Johnson is a staff contributor to Bigger Law Firm Magazine and serves on Adviatech’s Search Strategy board.

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