LinkedIn is by no means a larger network than Facebook, Google+ or Twitter but its exponential growth rate has accrued the site more than 200 million active members this past year. It is by far the leading network for business professionals. If you’re a lawyer using LinkedIn as a tool you may think just “connecting” is enough to make a difference in your practice. However, using the site in more innovative, personal ways can elicit further results.
Updates to LinkedIn in Spring 2013 have made searching for relevant connections based on your professional identity and network easier and more efficient. Much like Facebook, the new LinkedIn offers “suggested searches” and search filters like location, company or school to make finding possible connections simpler.
Take It On The Go
Recently LinkedIn released an updated version of its mobile app. The previous app underwent a complete redesign that did away with difficult and outdated scrolling. The new app also offers numerous personalization options and a newer navigation page that makes finding connections while on the go easier. This makes connecting with someone you’ve recently met, at a conference or through a chance happening, easier akin to exchanging a phone number. Looking someone up on the spot can help avoid the risk that you forget contact information and lose an opportunity to connect.
Remember to fully participate with your LinkedIn community. While you might not think that a like or comment will amount to future business, engaging in this way is similar to having a small exchange after bumping into someone at a store. You are accordingly on the person’s mind and it may prompt an email, offhanded thought or question that leads to further conversation. Sharing news about your field or appropriate commentary about related information are ways to participate in LinkedIn and make your connections personal and meaningful. Offer those who follow your network company updates.
While offering actual legal advice through LinkedIn is not recommended, offering general insight through comments and posts is encouraged. Recognize that LinkedIn can act as a platform for you to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. It also gives you an opportunity to give your network a sense for your personal practice style and philosophy of law.
There is a section on LinkedIn that allows you to denote what services or practice areas you offer. Make sure to offer your prospective clients as much information about your capabilities as possible. Clarify what areas you can offer particularly expert service in. You can also link the employee information for individual areas of practice.
Recently an article titled, “The Perils of Being A Social Media Holdout” by Clara Shih and Lisa Shalett was published in the Harvard Business Review. The article warns against the results of discounting the importance of participation in social media networks.
“People are looking you up. Not having a presence means you are not easily “findable” and perhaps leads people to question whether yours is a credible business. People are increasingly turning to social networks as the easiest way to get their questions answered.”
Employing LinkedIn as a tool in your law practice is easy enough and the payoff is more than worth it. Don’t hold out!
Amanda O’Donnell writes for Alamo Injury Attorneys a San Antonio firm that uses LinkedIn to best serve its clients needs.
Photo Credit: Adriano Gasparri