Tuesday October 1, 2013 comments Tags: LinkedIn for Lawyers, Linked into Law, LinkedIn legal, LinkedIn Legal Tips, LinkedIn Legal Stati

LinkedIn for Lawyers – Things you must know…

  • There are almost 250 Million LinkedIn Members (www.blog.linkedin.com)
  • 104+ Million of those members are in the US (https://www.linkedin.com/ads)
  • Almost 700,000 of those members are lawyers or work in the legal industry  (https://www.linkedin.com/ads)
  • 9 out of 10 executives are on LinkedIn AAND use if often, many using it daily (http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/199753/nine-out-of-ten-execs-use-linkedin.html#axzz2T0OaTeWK)
  • B2B Marketers believe strong content (82%) is crucial to a company’s success, so you must share good content on LinkedIn
  • B2B Marketers believe social media (64%) is crucial to a company’s success.  As a legal firm, it is imperative to have a strong LinkedIn Presence. (http://thelegalintelligencer.typepad.com/tli/2012/09/social-media-and-electronic-communication-statistics-lawyers-should-not-ignore.html#!)
  • Ninety-one percent of today’s online adults use social media regularly – including the decision makers who hire legal professionals. (http://thelegalintelligencer.typepad.com/tli/2012/09/social-media-and-electronic-communication-statistics-lawyers-should-not-ignore.html#!)
  • A Judicial Conference Committee has updated the model set of jury instructions (pdf) federal judges use to deter jurors from using social media to research or communicate about cases on which they serve. It’s important that litigators and judges are educated to be effective at trial. (U.S. Courts.)

The above facts make it clear that Legal Professionals and Firms must have a LinkedIn presence for authority, visibility, and engagement.

Let’s look at a few simple actions you can take to make sure you are visible, positioned and effectively communicating on LinkedIn:

 1.  Treat your LinkedIn profile like a website:

LinkedIn is a Professional online representation of YOU!  Make sure your LinkedIn Profile is formatted, clean, and free of spelling and grammatical errors.  I strongly suggest creating your LinkedIn profile first in a word document – not only so you can “catch” errors, but also so you can get a better idea of what your profile will look like on the LinkedIn website.  In some sections of LinkedIn you can also pull in bullets and special characters.   Another bonus, if you’ve already created your profile in a Word document, sections of it can easily be copied into other social media platforms to keep your branding unified. 

Time Saver:  You can always have your assistant create your profile in a word document that you can edit and have them cut and paste into your LinkedIn Profile. 

 2.  Know your keywords:

Like any website, LinkedIn’s internal search engines weigh your keywords heavily in its searches.  Make sure you place your most important search or keywords strategically throughout your profile.  Some places you might want to consider placing your keywords:

  • Professional Headline (120 Characters)
  • Title Fields in Experience (100 Characters)
  • Descriptions in Experience (1000 Characters)
  • Skills Section (up to 50 skills)
  • Interests Section (100 Characters)

 Time Saver:  Have your assistant go into Skills at www.LinkedIn.com/skills and make a list of “related skills” that might be good keywords for you. 

 3.  Keep your photo professional:

I recommend a close up and a smile. A full body shot of you and your family, you and your car, you and that fish you caught last week is unclear and unprofessional.  LinkedIn doesn’t like logos.

Time Saver:  Use the photo you have posted in your company directory.  This is also good for branding and consistency across social mediums.

 4.  Personalize your public profile URL:

Nothing says, “I’m a LinkedIn neophyte” like a public profile that reads: http://linkedin.com/pub/firstname-lastname9890734-akjshfiho.  Click on edit to the right of your public profile URL and customize it to reflect your name, your Firm or your area of Practice.

 5.  Personalize your websites:

When you edit your website, the drop down menu gives you the option of  “other”.  If you click on that, a new field opens up allowing you to type in your Firm’s name, Firm’s website, call to action, or description of your Firm’s website.  So instead of “Company Website” or “Personal Website” this section can read “Smith and Folsom Legal Firm” or “Click here: IP Practice Group”

 6.  Join strategic groups:

Join legal industry and association groups, your ideal client’s industry groups, interest groups and alumni  - up to 50.  Once you join a group you can send a message to strategic members /prospects or invite strategic members to connect with you.

Caution:  Never give legal advice on LinkedIn, and use your disclaimer for any advice you give.

7.  When inviting others, tell them how you know them:

LinkedIn has a Spam button members can click on when you invite them to connect.  To inhibit this, I highly recommend telling him or her how you know them or why you want to connect. 

 Caution: I would also add the disclaimer:  “If you feel you have received this message in error, or simply don’t want to connect, please ignore this invitation.

8. Download LinkedIn’s new Contacts feature:

If you have not yet done so, LinkedIn has a powerful new Contacts app that will help you manage your connections and engage with them most easily.

9.  Use Updates Daily:

Make sure to post at least one update daily.  You can now mention other members, add website links or even upload a document.  Let people know what you and your Firm are doing.

Caution:  Never give legal advice on LinkedIn, and use your disclaimer for any advice you give.

 10:  Add Projects:

If you are doing any Pro-Bono work or special projects, with the client’s permission, add these projects to your profile in the Projects section.

 11. Make sure your Firm has a Company Page on LinkedIn:

LinkedIn’s Company Pages are much more vibrant and autonomous now then they have been in the past.  Make sure your firm has a Company Page, and if they don’t, strongly recommend that they create one.