We've written quite a bit about lawyers and social networking. Many of you are aware of the power of LinkedIn and how it can help you grow your network of clients, prospects and referral sources. We've also written about controlling your personal brand. LinkedIn can assist with this too.
Few will argue LinkedIn has become the most popular social network for professionals responsible for business development. Successful lawyers know their success depends upon their ability to build lasting relationships with members of their network and LinkedIn has a variety of tools to help. Here are 5 Tips you should find helpful.
1. Think "Marketing" When Preparing Your Headline
When looking at your LinkedIn profile, the Headline is directly below your name. After your name, it is the first thing a person viewing your profile sees. Think of your Headline as you would a business card. Use the Headline to tell people what it is you do, using keywords likely to be searched for.
2. Build A Robust Search Engine Optimized Profile
Your profile needs to be complete and filled with keywords making it search engine optimized. You only have one chance to make a first impression. This is an impression you have total control over, so make it a good one. Be sure, no matter what, to upload a photo of your face. Your success on LinkedIn depends a lot on your ability to build trust and credibility. Uploading your photo is a good start.
3. Use Your Links Wisely
Be sure to customize your URL. Many URLs look like this: linkedin.com/pub/brad-friedman/2a/376/263 when it could look like this: linkedin.com/in/bfriedman. Customize your URL. While you're at it, customize your website links too. The default settings are "My Web Site," "My Company" and "My Blog." Edit those labels and be more specific. For example, my web site links are "The Friedman Group, LLC," "The Fried Side Blog" and "Friend Me on Facebook."
4. Your Firm Bio Is Not For Your Summary
The Summary section is a critical part of your robust search engine optimized LinkedIn profile. Don't just copy your firm bio into this section. This is supposed to be a summary of what you currently do, not a history of your work. Talk about the work you do and the work you want to be doing. Use this area to beef up your brand and position you as an expert in your field. Unlike your firm bio, consider writing this in the first person.
5. Be Active In LinkedIn Groups And Answers
Being active in LinkedIn Groups and Answers is a great way to build trust and credibility. Join a variety of groups. Join lawyer Groups like the "ABA Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law." Join Groups where clients and prospects are likely to be found. Join Groups related to where you reside like "Linked Local Boston" or "Linked to Denver." Before jumping in on a discussion, take some time to do some listening. See the types of discussions occurring and the tone of these discussions. Once you are comfortable, jump in and make your presence known. The same is true for LinkedIn Answers. This is the place where you should really try to shine. Scroll through the questions and find ones you are confident answering. Be mindful of not establishing an attorney/client relationship, but don't be afraid to let people know you know what you are talking about.
These are just 5 tips of the hundreds out there. These tips apply to people in other professions too. CPAs and Financial Services Providers could benefit from implementing these tips. Share a tip of your own in the comment section below, or expand on one of ours. We'd love to hear from you!