If you read my posts regularly, you’ll know that I have a passion for social media. I don’t think it’s the be all and end all of business development tools, of course, but I do have a fondness for it and an interest in sharing that fondness with my attorneys.
So I jumped at the chance to present a more in-depth look at LinkedIn to our group at the 2011 23rd ILN Annual Meeting on Saturday morning. I wanted to stick to what I thought were the most relevant points about LinkedIn, and what would give our attorneys the greatest impact – and for me, there was no greater joy than sitting with one of our attorneys during the subsequent breakout session and helping him fill out his profile, as he repeated back to me snippets of what I’d said.
Last week, I mentioned a few best practices for LinkedIn, but I’d like to add in a bit more about our session in Lisbon.
I started the presentation with a little informal poll of the room, to see who was "LinkedIn" – almost every hand went up, as expected. But when I asked how many attorneys were logging into LinkedIn at least once a week, the number of hands went down dramatically.
The intent of my presentation was to offer them so tips that they could takeaway, invest a little time up front implementing, and then let LinkedIn network for them (or at least do some of the more time consuming legwork).
We started with a tour of my profile, and I touched on the four things I think are most important:
- Photo: Social media is about being social, i.e. letting people get to know you. How can they get to know you if they don’t even know what you look like? I emphasized though that because LinkedIn is considered to be the social network for professionals, this photo should be a professional one, such as one they’d use on their firm websites.
- Professional Headline: This is the information that pops up whenever someone mouses over your name or you come up in search results, or in the "people you might know" category, so you want it to be as descriptive as possible. I suggested to the group that they not just include "shareholder" or "partner," but add in the type of law that they practice and the firm they work for – i.e. "Business litigator at Epstein Becker & Green," or "Tax expert at Holland & Hart." Since people will make snap judgments about whether to explore your profile further based on this short blurb, it’s important that it make a big impact.
- Update: This is the little box on your LinkedIn home page that says "Share an Update" – whatever information you include will then appear on your profile page (and in every one of your connections’ news streams. This is a great place to share articles you’ve written, or are reading and find interesting, mention upcoming business trips, ask questions, or just let your network know what you’re up to – it gives your network a reason to reach out and connect with you, which can deepen the relationships you have.
- Applications: The uses of applications are two-fold, and I’ll talk about how they appear on your home page later – but in terms of your profile page, they’re again another reason you’re giving people to connect with you. I share my reading list, which includes any book I’m reading, not just books for professional reasons – this gives my connections a look into my personal life, without being too personal (which can sometimes be an issue on Facebook). I did have a lawyer tell me that he didn’t want his connections to know what books he reads, and that’s fine – LinkedIn is a tool that can be customized to what works best for you.
I also have TripIt, which is an application that shares my upcoming travel plans with my network, so that if they’re going to be in the same city at the same time, they can reach out to me (and vice versa – more on that later). Similarly, I recently added an events application, where I can add events that the ILN is doing, or say that I’m attending other events – then I can see who else in my network might be there too, and I can reach out to them before the event so that we can connect there in person.
Another great applications for lawyers and law firm professionals is the JD Supra application – on my profile page, this lists all of the recent documents that we’ve uploaded to JD Supra, which gives my connections a deeper view of who I am and what type of content we provide.
LinkedIn also offers a lot of other useful applications, from SlideShare, which allows you to upload presentations (though I recommend these be only presentations that make sense visually and don’t require your live presence) to Martindale-Hubbell ratings (I know there’s still debate about these ratings, but if you’re an AV-rated lawyer, why not include this in your profile?