LinkedIn is a great tool for law professionals because it’s the online version of the networking you’ve already been engaging in for years. Because word-of-mouth drives so much of a law firm’s business, and most social engagement now occurs online, LinkedIn is especially important for lawyers. Use these tips to make the best of your profile.
Know Your Audience
LinkedIn is unique in that it allows you to build a professional network that reflects your goals. If you’re searching for a job at a law firm, you want your profile to reflect your strengths as an employee. If you’re already a part of an established law firm and want to attract clients, your profile should feature examples of why a client should choose you over a competitor, and your connections should be those who can attest to your skills as an attorney in your field. You have to understand who your audience is before you do anything else. Otherwise, you’re just throwing things out there into the void and hoping they stick.
Put Time Into Your Profile
It might seem tempting to do the bare minimum when you’re creating your profile. After all, having one at all is the most important thing, right? Wrong. If all you have on your profile is your name and where you’re currently employed, you’re better off not having one at all. Not having a complete profile looks unprofessional, and suggests that you don’t care about your online presence or those who took the time to look for it. LinkedIn makes it easy to know if you’ve included enough information on your profile because it will suggest things for you to add as you’re editing. If you choose not to include something that’s suggested, you should have a concrete reason for it. You want your profile to give viewers the information they’re looking for, including:
- Your education
- Your employment history
- What you specialize in
- Any articles or videos that you or your firm has produced
- A headline that reflects your purpose on LinkedIn
Once you have a fully formed profile, you should start making meaningful connections with other users. It’s most effective if you only connect with people that make sense professionally:
- Former classmates and professors
- Current and former employers and colleagues,
- Other firms that you have connections with
- Anyone else that has connections to your professional life
Though it may be tempting to add everyone in your address book or all of your Facebook friends, evaluate if they will be helpful to you in the future. You don’t want your news feed clogged with updates from your old friend from high school who’s somewhere in Europe working as a chef, since that’s most likely not going to affect anything in your professional life and will detract from the things that will.
Creating a profile and making connections is what will get you started, but in order to successfully network on LinkedIn, you have to participate. This looks different for everyone, and you have to know your audience and what they will find most valuable. Some options are:
- Write or Repost articles. These can be tailored to either be helpful to potential clients or to demonstrate your expertise to potential employers.
- Comment on others’ successes and posts. Showing support for your colleagues will help them remember you when they might need to provide a referral.
- Join groups that pertain to your field or the law you practice. This isn’t helpful to potential clients, but will help get your name out there into the broader conversations surrounding law.
There are many options for participating, you just have to find one or two that you can do regularly. It may be helpful to observe what your peers are doing on LinkedIn — are they writing and posting new articles every week? Do they frequently share pieces written by other industry professionals? Think of what you can do that will keep your name in the front of your connections’ minds.
Social media ethics for lawyers apply to LinkedIn in the same way they apply to platforms like Twitter. Make sure you are adhering to ethics standards, including adding the appropriate disclaimers to your advertising posts, being sure to honor confidentiality, and avoiding connecting with represented parties. The last thing you want is to accidentally breach confidentiality when all of your professional contacts can see your activity.
Once you have your LinkedIn profile up, check out what you can do to find clients on LinkedIn.
Don’t feel like you’re marketing yourself or your law firm as effectively as you could be? Check out what we can do for you.