The Chain: LinkedIn Is More than Social Media for Lawyers
Posted Apr 1, 2012 2:20 AM CDT
By Dennis Kennedy
By all indications, LinkedIn is the social media platform most used by lawyers. It has specific guides and even apps targeted to lawyers.
Yet many lawyers will say they only signed up for LinkedIn at a client’s urging and haven’t done much else. That a client urged you to use the site should be a tip-off to its potential value.
LinkedIn is more of a social networking tool than a social media tool. It helps you connect to your network by mapping your real-world connections into an Internet platform, then lets you maintain and interact with your connections in ways that provide two-way benefits.
There are three core features of LinkedIn—profiles, connections and participation. If you understand that all three exist, you are well on your way to increasing the benefits this platform can bring you.
Profiles represent the resumé or biography component of LinkedIn. The platform provides tools to create a detailed, living bio that includes standard resumé material like education and experience as well as summaries, further details, and links to your website and other material. If you Google your name, you might well find your LinkedIn profile among the top results.
Connections are the people you know on the platform. You connect to others through invitations, and they must agree to be shown as connections. LinkedIn then allows you to navigate to and communicate with your connection’s connections.
Participation is the feature most often neglected by lawyers. You can send out updates, join groups of common interest, send messages, request introductions and more, much as you would in the real world. You can keep in touch with your connections and stay in their minds.
LinkedIn can both extend and energize your real-world networks. Here are a few ways to move your LinkedIn usage to the next level:
1. Complete your profile. Look at your current profile as a third party would see it. As you add your jobs and education, you’ll provide information viewers value and make it easier to add connections.
2. Bulk up your connections. Compare the number of LinkedIn connections you have to the number of people you know. LinkedIn has some great tools for adding connections. You can import contacts from your Outlook or other address books, automatically find former classmates and co-workers, or see people LinkedIn suggests you might know.
3. Participate. Join a few LinkedIn groups that interest you, send out an update or try out another participation feature. You might be surprised how happy people are to hear from you.
LinkedIn is probably the most used and most underused social media tool for lawyers. Getting a good understanding of LinkedIn’s core concepts and taking a few simple steps will likely open up a new world of benefits for you.
Dennis Kennedy, a St. Louis-based information technology lawyer, is the co-author, with Allison Shields, of LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers. DennisKennedy.com is his website and the home of his blog.