How Lawyers Should use LinkedIn: The Rules

LinkedIn is the world’s largest business social network. With over 259 million users to date, it has survived a number of changes in technology and continues to grow in users at a rate of two sign-up’s per second. 40% of LinkedIn users check their accounts daily which means it’s time for lawyers to wake up and smell the coffee (yum) if they haven’t signed up for account yet. Here are my rules for how Lawyers should use LinkedIn for the best possible results:

1. Make sure all of your information on your LinkedIn profile is accurate and up-to-date. This includes your education, employment, contact information, summary and publications. Always update your profile as soon as you start a new position or join a new firm. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen attorneys forget to update their LinkedIn profile and it’s really annoying. I mean, I know I have social media OCD, but please, do it for me. 

2. Add every person you meet to LinkedIn. This may sound a bit extreme, but I absolutely recommend it. Take a moment and think about the source of work for all your existing clients. They probably include referrals from friends, family, school, etc. Many people look to LinkedIn when they need a referral or professional advisor. If they don’t find you, they’re finding someone else.

3. When you add a new connection on LinkedIn, personalize the connection request. I don’t want to see “so-and-so wants you to become part of their trusted network blah blah”. I want to know where I met you AKA how I know you. The extra time (a few seconds) is SO worth it.

4. Use the “Introduction” function to meet potential clients but use it wisely. Take a moment and jot down your top ten dream clients. I know this will differ based on your practice. If businesses are your target audience, look them up in LinkedIn and see if you have any common connections. If the connection is someone you know well, and you feel comfortable asking them, ask for a introduction. Depending on your LinkedIn membership type, you may have a limited number of introductions so use them wisely.

5. Post regular status updates including: events you are attending, blog posts, 3rd party articles of interest, rule changes and anything else your target audience might find interesting. This is important as you want your name to continually appear in the homefeed of your connections. As a rule of thumb, limit your posts to three per day.

6. Comment on your connection’s status updates and share them when possible. You can share status updates with your network, groups and you can send them to individuals as well. Your connection will appreciate the exposure, trust me.

how lawyers should use LinkedIn 7. Add presentations and publications to your profile but don’t go overboard. I don’t want to see ten PowerPoints on family litigation, but it would be nice to see your top three. Add presentations that you are proud of and that your audience enjoyed.

8. Set aside a certain amount of time every day or every week to use LinkedIn. Social networks are best learnt by “doing”. I didn’t attend school to learn “social media”. I spent early mornings reading, posting and tweeting. My friend Adrian Dayton told me that social media learning is mostly front-loaded meaning that it takes more time in the beginning; it will become second nature soon enough.

9. If you use a smartphone (which I’m sure 99% of you do) download the LinkedIn application. It’s easy to accept connection requests and comment on status updates. You can’t do everything from the app but it can come in handy. Additionally, if you open a LinkedIn email on your smartphone, it will always prompt you to download the app if you haven’t already – this can get annoying.

10. Make sure your firm has a LinkedIn Company Page and make sure all the information is accurate. There are a number of things that relate to this but I’ll share in them in another post. You should definitely make sure all firm employees have correctly linked to the proper page and post status updates as your page often. Add a cover page and think about creating sub-pages if necessary.

Go ahead and open your LinkedIn profile now. Start by ticking off one or two of these recommendations and do a couple each week. Do you have any tips to share? Please share them in the comments below.

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