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LinkedIn – A Few Suggestions for Lawyers on Its Use

LinkedIn

I am a big fan of LinkedIn.  It is the best social network for business professionals including lawyers.  It is not just for those looking for jobs.  LinkedIn is a great tool to stay connected to friends, ex-coworkers, clients and other lawyers.  It is a great tool to gather information.  It is a great tool to find new business and clients.  It is a great time saver.

Law is a people business.  Law is a trust business.  LinkedIn is the perfect tool to convey that you are a person that cares about people and that you can be trusted to do business with.

There are thousands of posts out there about LinkedIn use but I thought I would add to the content.  The following are a few suggestions regarding the use of LinkedIn as it applies to lawyers:

 

Accurate, Up-to-Date Profile that is Changed Regularly

On your personal profile make sure your responsibilities and specialties are listed accurately.  This is key so that you can be found.  Have all the law firms you worked at and the schools attended listed in your profile so that people can find you and connect with you.

Have a good photo of yourself that is professional in nature.  No photo means that you don’t care about your profile and image.

Make sure your LinkedIn summary is your elevator pitch about yourself.  Highlight your successes and special skills.  Make sure to use important keywords so others can find you more easily.

If you have not done so already, you should customize your profile page URL.  Check http://www.linkedin.com/in/yourname to see if already taken.  If so add your middle initial and check again.  When you have found an available name, select “Edit Profile”, move your cursor over the link and click the “Settings” icon next to it, click “Edit” icon and enter in custom URL.

Gather Connections

Connect with individuals you know including: from schools you have attended, friends, family, current law firm staff, clients and other lawyers. The more connections, the more people that will see your updates.  Create a goal of how many connections you want to add in a month’s time and make it a task at the end of the month to review your progress.  Invite potential contacts by clicking on “My network” at top navigation bar and choose “People You May Know” to see potential contacts who you might invite to connect with you. 

You need to get out and network in real life.  When you do so, gather business cards and connect with people on LinkedIn that you clicked with at the event (especially those that might be potential clients).  If you use an iPhone, look at Card Munch App to put business cards into LinkedIn.  Look up your dream clients on LinkedIn and see if you have any connections there that you can contact to open the door at this opportunity.  

Recommendations

Give out recommendations to those that have done good work for you, especially staff members.  Show that you are a great person to work with.

Ask for recommendations from your clients after you have had a successful result for them.  People want to do business with lawyers who are successful in getting desired client results.  LinkedIn recommendations are a great way to show this.  Feel free to review your connections and nicely ask some of them if they would be willing to recommend you.

Select and Join Groups

You can join up to 50 groups and you should do so: college alumni groups, firm alumni groups, legal groups and local groups such as chamber of commerces.  Find groups that your clients have joined.  Search for groups that might apply to you such as “Orange County Law”.  Be a contributor.  Post educational content to the group and respond to discussions.  Group interactions provide you and your firm great exposure.  Groups are a great way to identify potential clients.  Stay up to date on current trends and topics related to members of that group by reviewing the group’s content.

Search Feature

Using the search function on your LinkedIn home page (upper right), you can search on People, Jobs, Companies, Answers, Inbox and Groups.  If you move to the right of the search box and click on “Advanced,” you can search on keywords, name, company (current and past), geographic location, industry, job title (current and past), school, groups, by language, by the interest of those being searched, when they joined LinkedIn, those in or out of your network, and by relevance – and any combination of the above. 

Before you meet with someone, look them up on LinkedIn and see if there is a common link between the two of you such as a common connection, went to the same school or you have a hobby in common.

Reach Out to Your Connections

Create a plan to reach out to existing connections on a regular basis. My suggestion is to spend 30 minutes on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday each week and reach out to 5 contacts each day.  Create a list of individuals that make sense to contact for business reasons and every week reach out to 15 of them.  Just ask them how they are doing, give them a quick update on what you are doing, ask them if you can help them with anything and, for some, invite them to a cup of coffee.  They will appreciate the reach out.  And it keeps you top of mind if they need legal services or if they know someone that needs legal services.  Interact with others and engage.  Comment, share or like posts by people that you know.  This makes you more visible to others.

Hope that the above was helpful to you in your use of LinkedIn.  Would love to hear about how you use LinkedIn to its fullest for you and your law firm.

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