In a recent post we looked at the explosive growth of social media in the business world. Now let’s look at one specific medium – LinkedIn – and see how it can benefit your law practice.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking site, with more than 200 million members in 200 countries.
Almost half of LinkedIn members say it is a good way to learn more about a business, according to a 2012 survey. And a whopping 87 percent find it useful in making decisions – like whether or not to use that business.
LinkedIn is all about connections. The idea is to encourage people to connect to your site and recommend you to others. That way, your pool of prospects will grow exponentially.
Experts say it is not unlike old-school marketing methods such as passing out business cards and taking potential clients to lunch. Except the cards are digital and the lunch includes prospects from all over the world.
“Networking is not rocket science, although it can feel that way,” says Susan Ruhl of Careerealism. “First and foremost, it’s about establishing a give and take relationship.”
You can set up a LinkedIn account in minutes. The next step – making your page appealing, unique and informative – might take a bit longer. But there are lots of online resources, including free LinkedIn Learning Webinars.
11 Tips For an Awesome LinkedIn Profile
- Make your story interesting. Your professional profile is your LinkedIn foundation. Tell people about yourself in a way that will make them want to know more. Explain how you got to where you are. Lay out your skills and expertise. Don’t be shy about listing contacts.
- Put the important stuff first. Say clearly and concisely what your company is, who your clients are and how you help them.
- Build bridges. “Networking is about establishing and maintaining a relationship with someone before you ask for help,” Ruhl writes. “The rules don’t change just because it is not face-to-face. Never ask for something right away. Just keep it simple. And start building that relationship.”
- Share the wealth. Provide timely and valuable information. Share links to interesting stories. Ask questions about other members and what they do. By expressing interest in them, they will naturally be interested in you.
- Include a call to action. “An important goal with online networking is to convert connections into paying customers,” writes Jason Fell in Entrepreneur. “One way to do this on LinkedIn is to create a unique call to action. Instead of simply filling in LinkedIn’s generic ‘my website’ or ‘my blog’ links on your profile page, take the extra step and tell visitors to click on your links. For instance, write: ‘Click here to (insert your product or service here).’”
- Tell contacts where and when you met. Ruhl gives the following as a networking offer she couldn’t refuse: “My fellow presenter and I met you at the CHRA conference. You mentioned that you occasionally look for executive level coaches. After visiting your website I have a greater level of interest and would like to know more about your work and opportunities where my talents might be useful to Innovative Career Consulting. Would you like to get together? How does a time over the new few weeks look to you?”
- Presentation is important. Check spelling and grammar in all text. Don’t be too wordy. Use a good profile photo.
- Create and join groups. This will enhance your credibility, open new avenues and reel in new prospects.
- Encourage associates and staff to be on LinkedIn. To expand your firm’s network.
- Optimize your profile. Search engine optimization is the name of the game. Add specific keywords to your site that are related to the law in general and your area of concentration in particular. Think of words a potential client use in an online search.
- Get endorsements and recommendations. There is no substitute for honest, personal testimonials. Reciprocate by endorsing and recommending others.
LinkedIn is growing at the rate of two new members every second. Want to meet them? Link in and get going.
Jay Reeves a/k/a The Risk Man is an attorney licensed in North Carolina and South Carolina. Formerly he was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He treasures his autographed photo of Wayne Stephenson. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 919-619-2441.
For more information:
- Susan Ruhl Careerealism http://www.careerealism.com/linkedin-networking-not-do/?goback=%2Egde_2691620_member_241435204
- LinkedIn basic info (slideshow) http://www.slideshare.net/punchmedia/linkedin-statistics-2013
- Entrepreneur http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/226583