Originally posted in The National Law Journal on January 6, 2014
During 2013, I spoke to thousands of lawyers across the United States, Canada and England about how to develop business using the professional social network LinkedIn.com. I heard almost every question imaginable, but the one that made the least sense was this: “How do I change my settings on LinkedIn so that people won’t see that I’ve updated my LinkedIn profile?”
To understand why this misses the point of LinkedIn, you need to understand the site’s mechanics. If you win an award — let ‘s say the Nobel Peace Prize — you can go into your LinkedIn profile and note this achievement under your “Awards” section. LinkedIn will highlight the award and notify your followers.
Lawyers might appreciate this feature if they win major awards frequently, but most update their profiles merely to add basic information they hadn’t already gotten around to — frequently, their pictures, summaries of their experience or where they went to law school. My research of the Am Law 100 law firms shows that more than half of these law firms’ partners’ LinkedIn profiles were missing a summary or a picture. Imagine if your bio on your law firm’s website lacked this basic information — it would be an embarrassment. So it’s understandable that lawyers don’t want anybody to know they’ve been lagging in completing their profiles.
LinkedIn makes it very easy to turn off these notifications, but before I tell you how, let me ask one question: Why do you have a LinkedIn profile in the first place? Answer: To get attention! You want people to notice you. Forget any embarrassment — when your name shows up on the list of people who have updated their profiles this week, that’s a win. One that didn’t require you to write a blog post or win an award.
Here is how I recommend you make that happen:
Step 1: Update your LinkedIn profile.
Step 2: Get noticed.
That seems simple enough. But say you want to fine-tune your profile, making multiple changes over weeks or months before sending notifications to your friends. Here is how to do that:
Step 1: Go to “Privacy & Settings” in the top right -hand corner of your LinkedIn profile.
Step 2: Click “Review.”
Step 3: In the bottom middle under the heading “Privacy Controls,” select “Turn on/off activity broadcasts.”
Step 4: Update your LinkedIn profile.
Step 5: Repeat Steps 1 through 3, except turn your broadcasts back on.
Step 6: Get noticed.
Pick the plan that makes the most sense to you. The important thing is to get it done. A new year has dawned. Open it with a bang by finally completing your LinkedIn profile.