Lawyers, Is LinkedIn A Waste Of Your Time?

by Nancy Myrland
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LinkedIn has moved beyond the “I’m just not that into you” phase of social media marketing for lawyers. It is a must and for good reason. You no longer have the luxury of deciding whether this is a tool you should spend time getting to know. For several reasons, the answer is, and always has been, yes.

LinkedIn has moved beyond the “I’m not really into you” phase of social media marketing for lawyers. It is a must and for good reason.

Search Implications

Google loves LinkedIn, so your LinkedIn profile will come up high in search almost every time your name is searched in Google. Gone are the days when your current and potential clients call you every time to ask for your qualifications. Today, and for quite some time now, they spend time checking you out on the Internet long before they make their decision. This makes ranking high in organic search a priority.

A Basic Profile Is Not Enough

Just having a profile doesn’t do the trick. If someone clicks through to your profile, whether via Google, your bio on your website, an article you’ve written on your website, blog, or on another site, or via searching on LinkedIn, that means they are already interested in learning more about you. What a gift!

If you only have a very basic profile without much information listed in each section, you have done very little to help your cause. This is one of the easiest things you can do to garner attention from others. It is much less painful than “selling,” or having a conversation, presenting, or meeting face-to-face, hoping to say just the right thing to the right potential client at just the right time. Those things are extremely important, but a strong LinkedIn profile helps pave the way.

If you only have a basic profile without much information listed in each section, you have done very little to help your cause.

If a prospect conducts research on the Internet to learn more about you and your competitors, and you have a bare bones profile with no detail to it, and others have a robust, information-filled, personable, complete profile, who do you think is going to stand out more?

Your Own Personal 24-Hour Sales Force

In other words, your profile works for you even when you aren’t there. It says all of those things about you that you aren’t always comfortable saying about yourself because you are worried it might come across as too heavy-handed, self-laudatory, or salesy. Those are real concerns in the legal profession, so anything we can do to help soften that approach should be welcome.

Give Them More

The person searching has already decided they want to learn more about you, your practice area, or your firm, so you need to give them more. You need to spend time filling out each section of your profile as completely and descriptively as possible, adding interesting bits of information and media (yes, media) to the sections LinkedIn allows. You need to give them something to talk about.

You Are What You Do On LinkedIn

In case you haven’t heard this before, LinkedIn and all of the social media platforms use algorithms to decide what and who they should show to visitors at any given moment. Snapchat, Facebook Stories, and Facebook Messenger Day might be the exceptions, but only because it is early days for those new tools and we aren’t overwhelmed yet by the number of updates and stories others have posted.

Other than those few tools I just mentioned, none of us will see all content from all of our friends and followers when we log on. The sites know this would be an overwhelming firehose of updates, so they use machines to learn your behavior, and read your content to determine what you should see, and whose content they think you want to see. This goes both ways because they are also holding your content back from others who do not interact with you regularly. Yes, in a way that stinks, but it is what it is. It’s time to ethically stack the deck in your favor by being there, being involved, and sharing.

Lawyers, when it comes to LinkedIn, it’s time to ethically stack the deck in your favor.

You also have to realize that LinkedIn algorithms rank profiles according to what we say, how we act on their site, what information we share in our newsfeed, on the Publisher (blogging) platform, on others’ comments, etc. If you want to give yourself a competitive advantage over others, then your behavior on LinkedIn needs to bolster that by using the right words, search behavior, media, interactions, and more.

What Should I Post On LinkedIn?

When it comes to what to post and how to behave, just as with other platforms, I always encourage lawyers to think more about how they can draw attention to others more than themselves. Making it mostly about others will be what helps you to develop and nurture relationships that help strip away the unfamiliarity that exists between you and those with whom you want to do business.

That might seem counterintuitive, but people will remember you more for how helpful and resourceful you were than they will remember your updates about your own accomplishments, so your activity in the newsfeed should reflect that behavior. This doesn’t mean you are disconnected from your subject matter and practice area on LinkedIn, but could actually help others see how closely tied you are to it.

Anyone Can Brag. You’re Not Anyone.

Anyone can brag. Not everyone can reach out and be gracious and helpful. Well, they can, but there aren’t enough lawyers that actually do that in social media.

Anyone can brag. Not everyone can reach out and be gracious and helpful.

Being viewed as helpful, as a really good resource for industry information, a connector, a person vs. a broadcaster or machine, and someone who obviously knows what s/he is talking about is going to have more of an opportunity to stand out today than someone who doesn’t do any of that.

After several years in social media, I never thought I would be saying this, but you are still within a wonderful window of opportunity to stand out and be different in social media and to be remembered because of social and digital media.

You are still within a window of opportunity to stand out and be different in social media, and to be remembered because of social and digital media.

Lawyer friends, it’s time. It’s past time to care about LinkedIn.

 

Written by:

Nancy Myrland
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