In Review: Battle LinkedIn

December 08, 2014 Alex Ziegler

Last week, I presented a #1NWebinar, Battle LinkedIn: Law Firms vs. Consulting Firms. I took an in-depth look at LinkedIn and how top consulting firms and law firms are using this increasingly powerful social platform. writes of LinkedIn, “Its importance can’t be denied—especially for B2B.” I couldn’t agree more. Virtually all of the professional services firms we work with have a presence on LinkedIn, and it has grown to become one of—if not the—most important social media platform for professionals.

In comparing how these firms utilize their company profiles, company posts, groups and the maintenance of their leaderships’ profiles, I was able to find correlations between LinkedIn presence, follower activity and engagement. I also learned which of these dimensions makes the biggest difference. But, first, let’s see how the battle turned out.

Dimension 1: Company Profile
I first looked to see how each company uses the features that are available both on their main company page and on their careers page (if they have a careers page – this feature does cost money to include). We found, on average, law firms tend to have a partially complete company page and not leverage a careers page. In contrast, consulting firms seemed to have both more robust company pages and more robust careers pages.

Dimension 2: Company Posts
How frequently are companies posting updates and what kinds of posts are they making (firm news, external news, thought leadership…etc.)?

In this battle, consulting and law firms tied for frequency of posting, however, law firms lost in terms of what kind of content they’re producing. My research showed that law firms are posting firm news more than any other kinds of content:

Law Firm Company Post History

Consulting firms’ posts, on the other hand, looked more like this:

Consulting Company Post History

Dimension 3: Groups
Do these companies have groups and, if so, how many do they have? The more groups, the more robust their presence. In this, consulting firms took the win. Law firms, the majority of the time, had little to no groups at all on their LinkedIn page.

Dimension 4: Leadership Profiles
Does each leader have a robust profile? For this, I examined the number of connections, number of completed profile features and whether or not they had any publications cited in their profile. This assessment proved the most difficult for me because it was hard to identify leaders, but I was able to find enough information to indicate consulting firms tend to have more robust leadership profiles than the legal firms I assessed.

Here is a high level heat map comparing the robustness of leadership profiles between the two industries (Note: In each chart, the first column represents the number of connections, the second column is the robustness of profile features and the third column is whether or not they displayed their publications on their profile.):

Leadership Profiles - Visual ComparisonWhich of these dimensions makes the biggest impact?
Company profile and leadership profiles.

Legal vs. Consulting - Most Impactful Dimension

Here I did a mathematical analysis to see which dimension was most important in generating followers on LinkedIn. We found that for the legal industry, the number of company profile features utilized (this includes the careers page) was related to the number of followers. For the consulting industry, we found a correlation with leadership profile robustness. Overall, this led us to conclude that both are very important in helping companies to increase their number of followers.

What I Learned
Overall, consulting firms win the battle. But, keep in mind, it isn’t really a battle. The consulting and legal industries are different, so we expect differences in their LinkedIn behavior. This doesn’t mean that law firms can’t learn from what consulting firms are doing.

What your people do matters. The most impactful LinkedIn features for consulting firms are leadership profiles. If law firms were to boost their profiles, they may see similar results.

LinkedIn presence is no longer a “nice to have.” There are big disparities between firms that have a robust LinkedIn presence and those that don’t across various dimensions. There is a lot of opportunity to not just be on LinkedIn but to do more on LinkedIn.

What Can You Do?
My main piece of advice for those interested in gaining more followers and traction on LinkedIn is to stay present. Learn from the leaders in terms of establishing your LinkedIn presence. Prioritize building relationships by fully developing your firms’ leaders’ profiles. Utilize all the features of the company profile page that are available.

Keep up your presence with a LinkedIn visibility that is now considered requisite. Take time to build and maintain your company profile. Post updates at least once a week that follow a content strategy that consistently upholds your brand. Create and maintain alumni groups, and use a banner photo and build out your description. And have your entire leadership team complete or update their LinkedIn profiles, including photos.

But maybe most importantly, always check back to see what else you can leverage. There are always new tools and capabilities launched through LinkedIn that can help you generate awareness, build your networks, credentialize your firm and its employees, build trust and drive loyalty and advocacy.

Interested to learn more?

The law firms: DLA Piper, Backer McKenzie, Latham & Watkins, Kirkland & Ellis; Sidley; Jones Day; Skadden, Hogan Lovells, White & Case, Gibson Dunn.

The consulting firms: McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, Bain, PwC, Deloitte, the Parthenon Group, Oliver Wyman, Booz Allen, AT Kearney, Accenture.

This is an independent study of the nation’s largest professional services firms and does not imply that One North Interactive works with or serves these firms.


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Alex Ziegler

At the time of publishing, Alex was a Strategist at One North.


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