Although LinkedIn has been around for quite some time (15 years!), “should I be on LinkedIn?” is a question that we often hear from our law firm clients. It’s a fair question and we certainly understand the hesitation. With heavy workloads, demanding schedules, and the added pressure of the billable hour, it’s difficult for lawyers to find the time for things like social networking and writing content to share on a regular basis.
But considering that almost half of the visitors who go to your website come through your LinkedIn, we believe that it makes sense for you to be on this increasingly important platform…with just one caveat: if you plan to use it. After all, the universal rule of social media is that you have to be social.
This doesn’t mean being glued to your LinkedIn account every minute of every day. Even a small investment of time (eg. 15 mins per day or 1 hour per week) on a regular basis can go a long way to get your profile in front of more people, more referrals, and more work.
If you’re ready to create a profile or already have one that you’ve been meaning to dust off, here are some tips on how to optimize your time on LinkedIn:
#1: Use the same profile photo as on your website bio
When you create or revise your profile, we recommend using your website bio photo as your profile picture for these reasons: 1) it is most likely a professionally-shot photo and 2) it will help to create some consistency and recognition around your own “brand”.
#2: Fill out your profile as completely as possible
After you’ve filled in the basics – experience and education – don’t stop there. Include your awards, professional development, interests, and volunteer work to give visitors a fuller picture of who you are as a professional and as a person. Also, ask clients and colleagues for recommendations and endorsements. Once you’ve completed your profile, don’t just set it and forget it; continue to add new awards, cases, conferences or networking events, volunteer positions, etc.
#3: Share some knowledge, showcase your expertise
Clients hire professionals who know their stuff and who are helpful. One way to demonstrate that you are both of these things is to share your expertise. If you’ve written an article or a blog post, be sure to post a link to it from your LinkedIn profile. While creating new content seems daunting and time-consuming, you don’t necessarily need to reinvent the wheel. If you’re presenting at a conference or have submitted a paper to a scholarly publication, you can re-purpose that content into shorter, more client-focused content like a blog post, FAQ, case study, or tip sheet.
#4: Follow your law firm’s company page, connect with your colleagues and share, share, share
By following your firm’s company page and colleagues, you will have more opportunities to engage and share content. For example, if you have received an award or achieved a great outcome for your client, the firm can post it on the company page, tag you in it so that people simply click on your name to go directly to your profile, and you can share the firm’s post on your feed. The same goes for any content that your colleagues post – like it, comment on it, and/or share it to increase your visibility amongst your connections.
#5: When it comes to connections, more is not necessarily merrier
One deterrent of LinkedIn is the possibility of receiving a barrage of invitations from seemingly random and irrelevant contacts. When you receive a request to connect, first ask yourself if the person is a potential client or referral source for the kind of work that you would like to do. You can also take a look at their profile before you accept to see if they are reputable and have the kinds of connections that you would like to be exposed to. Build your network proactively by sending invitations to people you have worked with in the past. As well, each time you meet a potential client/referral source or come across an article that you find interesting or attend an informative professional development session, send an invitation to that contact, author, or presenter as soon as you can. Add a personal note to the standard wording of the request to give context and leave the door open for future interaction such as suggesting a working lunch or meeting for coffee.
With these five tidbits of advice, all you have to do is put in a little bit of work to get your LinkedIn profile working for you.