I've written this post to address some specific questions asked by people who have an account on LinkedIn but have never or rarely used it, but now feel the urge to! I've addressed several issues.
Tip 1: Being asked to link with people
You may get an email arrive in your inbox looking like this:
This means that someone who knows you would like to connect with you on LinkedIn. To accept the invitation, click the blue "Accept" button. Alternatively you could delete the email, in which case the person's invitation will remain in your LinkedIn inbox until you log on and deal with it.
If you accept, the system will automatically take you to LinkedIn and you might get a message looking like this:
STOP - IMPORTANT MESSAGE. You and your contact have connected. What LinkedIn is now attempting to do is to get you to upload all your contacts from your email contacts list on your computer. Unless you want to do this step (I'd suggest you probably don't at this stage!), do not fill in the information - just logout instead.
Hopefully, if you do accidentally attempt to do this step on a work computer, the IT guys will have put the appropriate steps in place to make sure you can't actually do it. If this is the case you may receive a message from LinkedIn saying that its system doesn't support the webmail server. Just close down the window.
Tip 2: Changing email address
If your firm has recently merged (it's happening a lot these days), make sure you go into LinkedIn and change your primary email address. This can be done under the settings - see below.
You'll be asked to re-enter your password at this stage.
You can now change your email and remember this will be the one that you'll be logging into LinkedIn next time.
Tip 3: You don't need to broadcast everything you change
Whilst you're here in the settings panel, if you are intending to update your profile (photo, experience, skills, title etc) then I suggest you turn off your broadcast emails for the time being. That way all your connections won't be bombarded with emails from LinkedIn telling them what you are updating.
You are now ready to update your profile and start connecting and using LinkedIn with the other 200 million users!
Additional help??? Try these other hints from Calista:
What is LinkedIn?
Why should I use LinkedIn?
LinkedIn Roadmap - this is a detailed description of the home page and all the options - very useful indeed!
Or you can download our beginners guide:
So, you’ve been a member of a global alliance for a while and are perhaps evaluating its worth. If you are paying subs to belong - are you getting sufficient return on your investment? If you are have decided that it is a worthwhile project, how do you get the most of the fees you are paying and promote the network within your firm? We have put together our 18 tips for making your international network work better for you.
- International networks often require teams to attend conferences around the world. Some may think the network is nothing more than a “club” for a few senior people and particularly the younger lawyers may feel they get nothing out of it. Ensure proper communication of what the objectives of meetings are and what concrete projects are a result of attending them.
- Perhaps some feel they are involved in countless courtesy calls and spending many hours for very little by way of fees. Make proper reports to the firm about what work is being brought in by the network.
- The reporting process may involve filling in forms, which they feel onerous and simply do not bother. Try to improve on the current process and make it as simple as possible.
- Attend as many external international meetings as budget will allow – personal contact is paramount – how can you trust your clients with people you don’t know?
- Is the main international contact partner passionate about the opportunities arising? Sharing success stories and discussing problems on referrals will contribute to a change in fee earners’ perceptions.
- Raise the profile of your network by publicising to partners how much revenue is made firmwide through connections.
- Emphasise the quality of using the network when referring client work out to other jurisdictions.
- Vary the personnel attending meetings to show the strength and depth of services offered by the firm.
- Form a strategy group of senior partners in each practice area to report on progress of the individual sector group initiatives and discuss the way forward.
- Arrange a firmwide presentation by directors of the network. This can reinvigorate initiatives and raise the profile of the network internally.
- Follow-up with departmental presentations revealing how much each department actually earns through the network and where the contacts are being made. By transparency you encourage fee earners to further their contacts and network effectively.
- Produce newsletters or intranet updates of case studies, conference reports, etc. These can also carry a “nuts and bolts” section explaining the referral procedures.
- Encourage visits to your office when your international allies are visiting your country.
- Visit your network offices when you are visiting their country.
- Encourage a member of each practice area to connect with their counterparts within the network. If there is already a cross firm practice group set-up: join the discussions, webinars, social media feeds and conference calls.
- Allocate an administrator so that all the admin/reporting procedures are carried out by one person; the administrator sits in on all internal meetings and has an external contact and profile
- Meet with junior fee-earners to discuss how they could feel more involved
- Include information on the network at your firm's induction
- The network will become part of the firm’s ethos
- Your people will have trusted and good relationships with individuals from around the world and understand the worth and potential of the firm’s involvement
- Due to those relationships, you will be better placed to service your clients’ international needs by having a trusted, local firm with understanding of local law and practices
- The number of referrals in and out of the firm will increase
- There will be stronger “buy in” to the network from management
It is commitment and enthusiasm together with the firm’s strategy to increase its international practice, which will largely contribute to a change in fee-earners’ perception. By internally raising profile, you can then project this outwards and make trusted and valued connections. All with the added bonus of many international friends.
Cross-selling is the nirvana aimed for by every professional service firm, but it’s hard to do well. So you’ve analysed your client base and come up with a list of hot cross-selling prospects? Here are five tips on what to do (and not do!) next.
1. Get match fit
Are you the right person to go out and visit potential cross-selling prospects? Your answer is probably “of course!”. Do you have a deep knowledge of your firm’s total offering, and can you spot an opportunity for another practice area at twenty paces? Are you good at asking open questions and most importantly really listening to and responding to what comes back. Can you build rapport quickly and easily? It’s not actually that easy, is it? Most people would benefit from some coaching or refresher sessions before their first cross-selling meeting.
2. Ditch any fixed agendas
Your mission is to demonstrate your interest in the client and helpfully suggest ways for them to tackle upcoming issues. For this reason, an unstructured conversation which goes where the client leads you may be very illuminating! You also gain valuable insight, as you start to get a feel for what makes your client tick.
3. Make it personal
Clients tell us that they have all too often been on the receiving end of someone slavishly pushing a service. There's no greater turn off. A common trap for firms is to gather heaps of marketing material then bombard any potential cross-selling prospects with irrelevant information or scripted firmwide messaging. Devote some time to identifying a few key themes which you know will resonate with your client and use the meeting to invite his/her thoughts on them.
4. I'd like to introduce you to....your firm
Do you really know what your firm has to offer? In larger firms, or firms which have merged, the answer to this is often, sadly “no”. Before you can have useful conversations, you need a good handle on your firm’s capabilities, and have experience of working with the go-to people. The “know, like and trust” factor applies between professional advisers, as well as between those advisers and their clients.
Canny firms will find ways of breaking down silos so that people get to know each other both professionally and socially
5. What are you doing here?
It’s always nice to be introduced to your colleagues’ contacts, and such introductions are seen as universally positive. But before you dive in, think about who really stands to benefit? If there is no real reason for a meeting, other than a desire to “do a bit of marketing” it will be very obvious. Remember, this is about finding ways to make your client’s life easier.
You should be prepared to work with your colleagues and explore the question “what does your client need and how can I make it happen”. This is far better starting point than “it would just be good to introduce me”. Having a better idea of the client’s objectives and showing that you’ve considered these in advance will make the discussion more worthwhile for everyone.
You’ve raised expectations…now what?
This is just the start. Cross-selling discussions need following up – so diarise future contact. Send that interesting article you mentioned. Facilitate that introduction. Update your colleagues on the discussion you had. Use any interesting snippets that came up to build a picture of the client and their plans. It’s amazing how many firms don’t get the basics right, either because they don’t have the infrastructure to support cross-selling, or because they don’t see an immediate need to follow up and get distracted by some shiny new initiative.
What do you do when you are sent an RFP? If you’re like most people, you will be so delighted you will immediately start looking for information and drafting your response.
But it’s amazing how often basic questions about suitability and fit aren’t thought about before committing pen to paper. A “in it to win it” mentality kicks in. Partly, it’s down to the law of averages – surely, it’ll work one day. If we don’t pitch – won’t the prospective client think badly of us? And who would be not trying to win work in the current climate anyway!
Rather than sleepwalking into your next pitch, make the “Stop/Go” discussion a fundamental part of the pitch process, so that you evaluate each opportunity on its merits:
- How important is it for us to win this work strategically?
- Is this a client we actually want to work with?
- What selection criteria is being applied – can we (hand on heart) meet them?
- Is there scope to sell additional services later?
- Is there a realistic chance of winning the work? (or are we here just to make up the numbers?)
- How many other organisations have been approached and what do we know about them?
- Do we know anyone at the organisation (or anybody who knows them)
If you have no real story to tell and no credentials to speak of, you do run the risk of blotting your copybook where future opportunities are concerned. Which client wants to receive a pitch where it’s obvious that you are just going through the motions - is it worth the risk? You could well damage a future relationship by going after an opportunity in a half-hearted way.
By not pitching, are you really creating the perception that you are somehow not interested? Actually, the reverse may be true if you manage the situation. I have been in an organisation where a partner called the prospective client to thank them for the opportunity, before going on to explain why we would be throwing our hat into the ring. This was because of not having the right type of skill and feeling that other firms were better equipped to handle the project. It took confidence to do this and the client found our approach refreshing. We had clearly given a lot of thought to their requirements. We had been through the selection criteria and acknowledged that we were just not the right firm. No relationships were damaged during that call!
For firms with the right skills, an existing relationship or a genuine strategic interest in the client, the decision to pitch for work is easy. However, it’s rare that an opportunity arrives where it’s that clear cut. For example, in those cases where the process is an impersonal, procurement-led exercise it is not always so straightforward. Be more selective and put significantly more effort only into those opportunities which you really believe you have a chance of winning and which you actually want to win.
As well as the new branding issues and actually launching a new entity, marketeers now also have to manage the online marketing assets. These may include:
- Company LinkedIn accounts
- Facebook company pages
- Twitter accounts
- Pinterest accounts
- YouTube channels
- Slideshare accounts
- Google+ accounts
- Various online directory listings
Here is our 4 step guide to what you need to do to make sure it runs smoothly.
1 Do an audit
Check all possible avenues for profiles of the existing companies. Best way to do this is to:
- go to all the channels you can think of and perform searches
- go to Google and put in the company name and see what comes up. Make sure you go way past the first page of results
Make a list of all the results including urls, contacts, logos etc.
2 Find the administrators
This can prove to be tricky, particularly where a company has "claimed" their name and then done nothing with it. Very often you'll find that the one and only administrator has left the company, which will give you an additional headache as no one knows the password to the account. Best thing to do in this situation is to approach the channel operator, explain the situation and get them to unlock the account (if they are willing to do that).
3 Set up an new email
Here's the thing. Most accounts that you want to set up in the new company name, will need an email from the registered company account. This is certainly the case if you want to set up a new LinkedIn company page. You'll already have the website domain set up (because you're busy building a new website for the new firm), so you need to ask your friendly IT bods to create a company email for you using the new company email account. You will officially be the first person in the company to have one! Make sure that they get that email account to forward to your existing one otherwise you won't be able to verify the accounts.
4 Decision time
You now have a comprehensive list of all the online marketing assets (even if you don't have the administrative rights). Now you need to decide what the best course of action is for each account. You have several options:
- keep the separate accounts (inactive) and create a third (active) account
- keep one account and change its name, deleting the other account
- delete both accounts and create a brand new one
Helpfully there is no right answer. Which option you choose will depend on a number of factors, including:
- How many followers each has
- The limitations of the channel operator (some don't allow name changes, deletions or merging of accounts)
- How active each account is
- Whether you can track down and reallocate admin rights to within the company (if you have lost them)
At least now you can make informed decisions because you know the extent of the issue.
To read a case study on this topic, read here.
Digital marketing is evolving every day and within professional services, we’re seeing more and more firms embrace new techniques, and they’re starting to reap the rewards.
Professional services marketing, as much as those of us who are entrenched in it hate to admit, could ‘possibly’ be accused of being a little behind the curve when it comes to keeping up with new digital marketing techniques. We don’t need to look very far to see how Generation Y and Generation I, who let’s face it are sneaking up on us pretty quickly, interact very differently with their peers, in their social and leisure time and now in their professional lives.
A quote I recently read stated, “Generation Y and Generation I would rather chew off their right arm than read a paragraph of text”.
So what are we dealing with?
Generation Y are: Technologically incredibly sophisticated and immune to most traditional marketing and sales pitches.
Generation I are: The internet generation who have no memory of life before the internet and while we (hopefully) will always have the printed word, online content whether written or video will be the norm.
So while we’re seeing a huge leap in firms using social media to interact with their audience, a gap we’re seeing is video content. Even though online video content has been around longer that the proliferation of social media, few professional services firms are getting it right. If generation Y and I are the future, then let’s take a leaf out of their book or perhaps more aptly a ‘swipe of their ipad’ as they are the decision makers of the future!
YouTube is now the second most used search engine, right behind Google, so why aren’t more firms using this in their communications strategies?
Here are just a few reasons why you should be using videos in professional services marketing.
1 Most content you are already generating can be transferred into a video.
I am sure any professional services firm does not have a lack of content they can generate very easily on a daily basis. Think about your briefing notes, seminars, blogs, press releases and all the new legal developments. Any of these mediums can be transferred very easily into short video snippets. And of course the beauty of video is that personality can shine through so even the driest piece of legislation can be slightly more easily digested from the mouth of an enthusiastic, articulate professional.
2 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual (Sources: 3M Corporation and Zabisco)
Why fight nature. If this is the way the brain is programmed and with the majority of us now owning a smart phone, tablet or laptop (or in most cases all of them), then why would you only provide written content? Clearly our brain prefers visual content and we have the tools ‘literally’ at our finger tips most of the time.
3 Posts with videos attract 3 times more inbound links than plain text posts. (Source: SEOmoz)
Boosting those search engine rankings should be high on any professional service firm’s radar so what better way that a simple weekly video blog. Try it with a new campaign and make sure you track your hit rates, and then measure it against a static campaign. You’ll be surprised at the results!
4 Make it look professional
These days, with the market flooded with video enabled devices, it’s very easy to generate a professional looking video. However, the proof is in the editing. Again there are lots of cheap editing packages out there but unless you are pretty adept at using them a simple video can look very unprofessional. If you are starting to use video content think carefully about getting a proper video team in for half a day once a month to shoot, and edit, a series of short videos that you can post out over the forthcoming month. It doesn’t need to break the bank and is money well spent.
This article was originally written by our guest blogger, Kate Hitchins who now works in-house in a top 30 law firm.
Congratulations you have one of the top [1, 5 or 10]% most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012!
Have you received one of these today? Wondering what it is?
Well - In celebration of LinkedIn reaching a massive 200 million members, it has been sending out stats, personalised to its members. I've only received top 1%, 5% and 10% so far from my network but there may be others. It looks something like this.
If you click on the link, a lovely message from LinkedIn's Senior Vice President, Products and User Experience greets you. You are also encouraged to share "a stat this delightful deserves to be shared"! Here's the message and if you're linked to me you'll have received my updated status.
I think this is the equivalent of a trending on twitter or an app going viral! Or is it? One of my more cynical clients (you know who you are!) said that the fact he was in the top 1% proves how little it is used.
So how popular does the top 5% make you - I am one of 10million - how elite do I feel? Not very to be frank.
Good try LinkedIn.
So you are tweeting to your heart's content but no one seems to be listening. Here are a few things to think about to use Twitter more effectively, increase your reach and gain more followers.
First question - what's your objective?
To have 15,000 followers by year 3 or perhaps 150 followers by end of year 1. Whatever it is, it is a measurement of effective marketing time spent.
Why do you want more followers?
Simple really - to increase the reach of your information and content. Twitter is a marketers dream. It is the pinnacle of opt-in marketing. All the people who chose to follow you, do so because they believe that you will provide them with interesting content.
"Interested people who want to know what you have to say"
Don’t expect a miracle overnight and suddenly be in the realms of Lady Gaga with 32,936,501 followers or Barack Obama with 25,647,186. If you really focus on what you have to say, slowly but surely more and more people will want to listen to you. We conducted a survey a year ago ‘Top 200 law firm survey for Twitter’ and in the twelve months since then, the firms with the most followers have doubled their following. So it can work, law firms can be interesting and people do want to hear what you have to say but only if it’s done in the right way!
How to get more followers?
1. Be interesting
Easier said than done for some people! Bashing out company PR messages isn't going to do it. You have a niche. Talk about it, interact with the community and comment (intelligently).
2. Be genuine
Think about your followers. They are following you because they are expecting certain things from you. Fulfil that need. Help them by posting things you think that they will be interested in.
Nothing brings followers more than events. Ensure all of your events are feeding into Twitter through a commonly found #. For example, if you are hosting an event on employment issues, feed content and comments through #HR and #ukemplaw. See our blog about hashtags.
Covering public events (such as Allen & Overy's coverage of the G20 in London a few years ago) can also contribute a huge upsurge in followers. Just ensure that once you have them you keep feeding them.
4. #ff (3rd party endorsement)
Try to get a fellow twitterer to #ff your handle to increase your exposure to the marketplace. See here for more about #ff.
Actually on second thoughts - don't do this. There are many companies out there who promise to guarantee increases in your twitter followings. As with all things - if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is! Best stick to the growing organically through great content.
So what exactly are # (hashtags)? The official definition has them as follows. "The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorise messages." according to Twitter.
How to use #
People use the hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase (with no spaces) in their Tweet to categorise those Tweets and help them show up more easily in Twitter Search.
Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets marked with that keyword.
Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet – at the beginning, middle, or end.
Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.
The most popular # so far this year are:
- #moscow - due to the riots
- #arsenal - no idea why!
- #takemeout - related to below
- #love - generally related to cats and YouTube videos...
I think this list just demonstrates the breadth of topics from serious to frivolous that Twitter caters for.
#ff is short for "follow Friday". Basically it's the personalised way of finding "people you should/could follow". It has become the mainstay of Friday trending activity on a Friday since its inception in 2009.
What you do is go through people you follow and then recommend to your followers people they should check out. It's a very nice thing to do for people you follow as it increases their reach.
How do you do #ff? You simply include #ff and the name of your suggestion in the message. See below 2 slightly different ways of doing this.
#ff @calistatweets if you're interested in marketing techniques for prof services
#ff @calistatweets @the_pb_project @chris_scoble for great insights
Random fact - A couple have named their child Hashtag - let's hope they met on Twitter!!
Want to know more about #? Check out www.hashtags.org
I haven't actually but I think it's only a matter of time. 2 accounts that I follow have been and I've been the recipient of the subsequent emails. They read as follows (I've deleted the links obviously!):
urr famous now haha [link to Facebook]
FYI this profile on twitter [link to twitter] is spreading nasty blogs around about you
The first one got me and I attempted to look at it. However, I wasn't taken in by the second one. In both cases the Twitter account holders received lots of emails and messages from their followers.
This got me thinking. Why do people hack Twitter accounts? What damage does it do if you get hacked? Is it preventable?
Cue online research. Here's what I found.
Why do people hack?
Money. Even if it looks like there is no financial advantage, and they just want to skew or steal data (your followers), the alterior motive will be money. They may push your followers onto scam or bogus websites, for example.
What are the signs your account is compromised or being hacked?
Basically, if you detect unusual things happening on your account. For example, unexpected tweets, direct messages sent from your account, unfollowing or blocking which hasn't been done by you or you receive an email from Twitter stating that you recently updated the email associated with your account. If any of these things happen, then you need to review your account ASAP. If you have 3rd party apps associated with your account (do you have a link to LinkedIn?) then there could be a bug in that 3rd party's software that is causing the unusual activity.
What to do if you think you have been hacked?
If you can't login, then they have changed your setting. Report it immediately to Twitter here. Having done some research on some forums, I'm afraid you may be in for a long wait whilst Twitter trys to sort out the mess. More information can be found from Twitter here.
If you can still access your account, then follow these simple instructions from Twitter:
- Go to your Settings under your profile tab
- Change your password: Make sure you use a secure password with letters, numbers and symbols such as ‘£$%@.:*’
- Check your applications: The last tab under settings lists the 3rd party applications that you have allowed to access your twitter account. Make sure that you know exactly what they all are and any that are new or look suspicious revoke their access to your account
- Update your apps/clients/mobiles with your new password: If you don’t update all the 3rd party applications, either on your computer, tablet, phone or online, with your new password you won’t be able to use your account with them. Even worse you might well be locked out of your account for trying to access it with the wrong details.
For full instructions on what to do, consult the Twitter page here.
How to protect your account?
- To protect your Twitter account from being hacked, use a strong password that is difficult to guess.
- Never give your username and password to any unknown 3rd party applications or any other person.
- When logging into your Twitter account, ensure you are on Twitter's site before entering any sign-in information.
- Watch for any suspicious links in your Twitter feed or email
- Ensure your computer's security software is up-to-date
Image by www.freedigitialphotos.net