LinkedIn has reached over 200 million users and has become one of the top professional networking platforms for professional services firms.  In our recent research study on online marketing, we asked 500 executives to rate several social media platforms effectiveness (among other things). Out of Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube, LinkedIn ranked as the most effective by both high and average growth firms.

As each firm will have a different approach to using the platform, it’s important to create an appropriate LinkedIn marketing strategy that will achieve your goals.  For more strategies and tips on LinkedIn, download our updated LinkedIn Guide.

Approach 1: Partnering Possibilities

For this approach, you will need to use LinkedIn to build a network of useful contacts.  Connect with people you have met at networking events, conferences and tradeshows and engage with them.  But don’t stop there.  Look and see who those contacts have in their networks.  You just might find your next potential teaming partner!

How Do I Do It?

Once you’ve built enough trust with your contacts, ask them to make an introduction to that partner you’ve been eyeing on their network.  Don’t make the mistake of jumping right into business though. Start by introducing your firm to the potential partner and then follow up by sending a piece of useful information to them that isn’t self-promotional. By being seen as ‘helpful’ in the eyes of a teaming partner, you are as good as gold.  Nuture, rinse and repeat.

Approach 2: Increasing Brand Awareness with Visible Experts

In a literal sense, your brand is comprised of both a visual and verbal representation of your firm.  But what firms don’t always understand is the role their employees play as brand ambassadors to increase brand awareness.  Even if they don’t want to admit it, AEC firms have some very talented professionals in their ranks.  LinkedIn is a great tool to help promote and build the reputation of these individuals among targeted audiences, helping them to become Visible Experts℠.

How Do I Do It?

According to LinkedIn, users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities, so highly encourage your firm’s experts to completely fill out their LinkedIn profile. Have experts start adding connections to their network, making sure they are people they actually know.  Start researching LinkedIn Groups by using the Group Statistics option.  You can see how many people are in the group, how active discussions are and so on.  Join as many groups as you would like, but select 2-3 that you can make active contributions to.

And don’t just be a bystander. Start and contribute to group discussions.  If your experts are consistently sharing content, advice and opinions (say 2-3 times per week), they will begin to be seen as the authority and the person to turn to when your audiences have questions or opportunities related to XYZ.  Hopefully your firm is generating fresh content on a regular basis as well.  Have experts share these pieces with their groups as well. And again, as long as they are helpful and not self-promotional, you’re not only improving your expert’s status, but increasing your firms brand exposure at the same time.  It’s a win win situation.

Approach 3: Attracting Great Talent

A more common LinkedIn marketing strategy is one revolved around recruiting.  Firms should always be on the lookout for new and talented employees.  As the industry changes and grows, it will be important to have fresh and creative ideas challenging the way your firm traditionally operates.

Here’s the good news: LinkedIn is one of the top sites job seekers are turning to.  So it will be important for firms to incorporate LinkedIn as an HR recruiting tool if they haven’t already.

How Do I Do It?

Here are a few simple tips to help you find top-notch talent through LinkedIn without posting a job description:

  • Stay in touch with former employees.  They could always come back to work for your firm, or possibly recommend some of the best future employees.
  • If you’re looking to fill a particular position, search members by using a targeted keyword. These keywords will be found in your future employees profiles, so you can be sure you’re looking at the right people.
  • Complete your firm’s company page and don’t forget to include relevant keywords in the firm’s profile as well.  Just as you would be searching for candidates using a keyword, prospective employees will search for firms using keywords.  They’ll also be looking at firm size, services and how active your firm is on sharing items of interest on LinkedIn.
  • Mingle in relevant LinkedIn Groups and establish a presence for your firm. Interact with group members by posting articles or questions.  That might just be enough for an inquisitive future employee to visit your company page.

In today’s professional world, LinkedIn has become one of the leading and most effective social media platforms for professional services firms. As with any social media platform, LinkedIn aims to bring the best user experience possible, so with that, new tools and updates are being released on a constant basis.  It will be important that your LinkedIn marketing strategy adapt to these updates and take advantage of all that LinkedIn has to offer.

For more ways to use LinkedIn effectively, check out our LinkedIn Guide for Professional Services Executives.