LinkedIn—the Professional Networking Tool
LinkedIn is the professional networking tool in your marketing toolbox. It is a business oriented social networking service. Think of it as a tool to help you organize all the networks of fellow lawyers and clients who refer work to you. And it does so in a way you can understand with results you can see.
To be effective on LinkedIn, you need a marketing plan for its use.
Start by asking yourself “What do I want to accomplish with LinkedIn?”
Do you want to:
- Build your client base
- Cultivate relationships with particular businesses
- Search for a position
- Create your own web presence outside that of your firm
- Establish your expertise
Whom do I want to attract?
If you’re searching for a position in a law firm, you want to attract the attention of law firm managers, recruiters, or human resource departments. If you want to build your client base, your profile and publications should address potential clients’ needs. Tailor your message to fit your intended goal.
Now you know why you’re on LinkedIn, you can create an effective profile, one that contains some of the keywords that your reader uses to search for a lawyer such as “Traverse City elder law lawyer.” Write your profile in first person (“I”) as if you were talking to that client in your office. Add to your profile using LinkedIn sections. Upload your video, write a short blog for the publications section, and, if you volunteer, add volunteer organizations. Remember to include a picture, your skills in the skills section, and make sure your title states the type of law you practice.
Build a Network
Remember that LinkedIn is a professional networking site. Its purpose is to build relationships. Start by connecting with people you know. Send invitations to connect on LinkedIn as part of your follow-up after you meet new people at an event. Add something personal to the standard invitation such as reminding them where you met.
Use LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn offers groups for every situation one can imagine and while some may be of little value, some are helpful. If you search the profiles of the people you want to meet, you will find the groups they belong to. You can join the group and follow the discussions, comment, and add articles or links.
Updates are short messages you share with your network. You can send an update directly from your home page using the update box. Experts say that 80% of updates should be news or information for your readers and 20% about you. Review the updates posted to your home page and comment when appropriate.
LinkedIn is about networking and building relationships. Check your home page or read the update e-mails for news about others in your network. Respond with a congratulatory note or information that can help them further a project. Taking a few minutes to scan your home page, respond to updates, and send comments can bring good results when done with your goals in mind. And, remember to include a link to your LinkedIn home page on your SBM enhanced profile page in the Member Directory and your website.
Roberta Gubbins has served as the editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides services as a ghostwriter editing articles, blogs, and e-blasts for lawyers and law firms. She is the editor of Briefs, the Ingham County Bar Association e-newsletter, and The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.
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