|Social networking is gaining in popularity, and for lawyers (and law students) LinkedIn is often the most palatable network, since it is known as the ‘professional’ network. Unlike other networks that revolve around more personal aspects of life such as vacations and hobbies, LinkedIn is a network of business people connecting with business people for business purposes.
Why Use LinkedIn?
Does it sound like your target audience might be using LinkedIn? How about your potential referral sources? Perhaps it’s time to take another look at LinkedIn.
There are many things that lawyers can do with LinkedIn if they make Connections wisely, use LinkedIn as a tool to keep up with colleagues, clients, industries and companies, and participate by posting updates and participating in Groups, but this article will focus on LinkedIn Profiles themselves.
Improving Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn did a major overhaul of the platform earlier this year, adding some features, removing others, and changing the layout and navigation of the site. One of the new additions was the “Profile Strength Meter,” which can be found in the right sidebar when you view your Profile. LinkedIn will tell you whether your Profile qualifies as Beginner, Intermediate, Expert or All-Star.
You can also find out the specific numerical percentage of completeness of your Profile by clicking on the Jobs menu in the top navigation bar and scrolling down to the “Job Seeker Toolkit” to see the percentage.
Click on “Improve Your Profile Strength” and LinkedIn will show you what additional content you can add to your Profile to make it more complete. You can also improve your Profile by following the suggestions in the “Recommended for You” section at the top right on the Edit Profile screen, or by clicking on the blue “Improve Your Profile” button that occasionally appears on your Profile.
Once you’ve reached the maximum strength, you’ll be offered the option to share your Profile on Facebook or Twitter, which might help you draw new visitors to your Profile.
LinkedIn considers your Profile 100% complete when it contains:
Let’s discuss some of these items. Profile Photo
Your photograph is important for several reasons. Many people use LinkedIn to prepare for a meeting; having a photograph on LinkedIn makes you easier to recognize. People do business with people they know, like, and trust; posting a photograph helps your audience feel that they “know” you. Using the default nondescript outline makes it look like your account is inactive or you don’t pay any attention to it.
Publications Published books and articles, whether in print or online, add to your credibility and help establish your expertise by demonstrating what you know. LinkedIn allows you to list the title, publication, date, a brief description, and a link to the content if it is online.
Certifications If you’re certified in a particular area of the law or specialty, this is an important section to add to your Profile; not only will it help you to stand out, but having specific certifications from accredited providers may entitle you to call yourself an ‘expert’ or indicate that you ‘specialize’ in a particular area.2
If uploaded directly to LinkedIn, those who view your Profile can view your presentations or documents (such as PDF articles) directly in your Profile itself, providing direct access to a concrete manifestation of your expertise.
Ultimately, your LinkedIn Profile is a marketing document, but rather than marketing your firm, it markets you as an individual lawyer. It is your “online ambassador” and it works for you 24 hours a day. The more comprehensive your Profile is, the more reasons people have to connect or engage with you. If LinkedIn is being used as a source of information by your potential clients, referral sources or other important audiences, you’ll want to be sure that your Profile is the best representation of you it can be.
|Allison C. Shields is the President of Legal Ease Consulting, Inc., providing consulting services to lawyers on practice management and business development issues. She is the co-author of LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers and can be reached at Allison@ LegalEaseConsulting.com.|
| 1. http://insidecounselsurvey.com/2013-survey/.
2. New York State Bar Association Committee on Professional Ethics, Opinion 972 (June 26, 2013), Listing in social media.
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