The Least One Can Do: LinkedIn for Lawyers

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A few weeks ago I was brainstorming with some law firm clients about an upcoming presentation to energize associates about participating in social media, and someone jokingly remarked, “Right now they’re more interested in what’s the LEAST they can do.”

I said, “That’s it!’

There is, in fact, a very easy, basic, minimal activity that absolutely puts you on the social media map: a LinkedIn profile.

Google yourself and your colleagues, and after you quit giggling about “googling,” you’ll notice that LinkedIn and profiles are at or near the top of the page. Since LinkedIn is the current platform of choice for professional networking, no fancy SEO tricks or “thought leadership” blogging is required.

The Minimum

  • Set up your account
  • Complete your profile (your resume or your firm’s website bio will do just fine)
  • Import your current contacts
  • Search for and join obvious affinity groups (undergraduate school, law school,
    bar organizations, volunteer groups, kids’ schools)

Why LinkedIn?

  • So you can be found with a simple Google search
  • Serves as your default professional home page
  • Offers the ability to harness the best features of social media with the least amount of hassle

Easy Activities

  • Search – Find people, companies — even job leads
  • Groups and sub-groups – discussion threads on topics of interest to you (or the people you’re hoping to connect with)
  • Questions and answers – Self-help and thought leadership opportunities
  • Announcements – New jobs/titles/clients
  • Events – Promote your upcoming CLE brown bag
  • Messages – Contact people in your network even if you don’t have their e-mail address
  • Autofeeds from other platforms – Plug-ins import your Twitter and blog feeds right into your profile home page

CYA

  • Check your state bar association’s rules on advertising as it pertains to social media
  • Include a disclaimer on your profile regarding the attorney/client relationship and the provision of legal advice
  • Include a notice that “this LinkedIn profile might be considered attorney advertising,” and make sure all information is true and complete

Bottom Line

  • Once you’ve created an account and entered the basic information, you’re in business. LinkedIn’s own SEO magic ensures that you’ll be found there if someone’s using a search engine to find you.

What’s your experience with LinkedIn been like? What are your favorite tips for beginners?

Comments

  1. I agree it’s really important to have a complete LinkedIn profile – if you are recommended to a client along with others and they do an online search you need to look for ways to tip the level playing field in your favour – having a compelling LinkedIn profile is one way to do this.

    Here are some tips to develop a compelling profile and to get found first if someone does a search within LinkedIn for a lawyer in your area.

    http://wp.me/p1gC4l-k

    • shatterboxvox says:

      Kirsten,

      Thanks for commenting, and for the link to your very helpful insights on optimizing LinkedIn content.

  2. Great post Jay. These are perfect 1st steps to get anyone started on the path to effective Social Networking. I like your perspective of coming up with the least one can do. This is really no different for most other professionals and businesspeople. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • shatterboxvox says:

      Thanks Nancy! You’re absolutely right about the general applicability. The biggest pushbacks that non-marketing professionals have with social media seems to be 1) their misperceptions about the time required and 2) unfamiliarity with a clear, near-term benefit. I’ve used the “Googling” exercise to open several presentations, and every time there’s been a palpable “ah ha” experience in the room. Walking them through LinkedIn makes social networking more concrete and less intimidating.

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