While Facebook remains the King of all social media platforms with more than two billion members worldwide, LinkedIn appeals to business people, entrepreneurs, thought leaders and others seeking to communicate and engage with other professionals. Not only is LinkedIn fertile ground for networking with other professionals, both in and out of the legal world, it is a fantastic place for potential clients to find a lawyer.
However, there are Do’s and Don’ts for tapping into the power of LinkedIn. First, a lawyer’s LinkedIn profile should accurately reflect who they are and how they can help clients with specific legal needs, says attorney Wendy Witt, CEO and Law Business Strategist of Attorney Alchemy. That entity teaches lawyers how to think like entrepreneurs, increase revenue and develop a law firm and life they always envisioned. While she maintains an active law license in Pennsylvania, she has stepped back from practicing to focus on her coaching efforts.
Kate Paine counsels lawyers and non-lawyers about how to best utilize LinkedIn through her entity Standing Out Online. She advises lawyers to post a professional headshot to their profile. The space LinkedIn allots for photos is small, so it’s best not to waste any on full-body photographs, she says.
An updated profile is elemental, too, says Paine. Moreover, she says, since LinkedIn uses the same algorithms as Google, SEO (search engine optimization) is also important. “If you have a good, solid profile on LinkedIn, it will make it likely you will be found via SEO searches,” she says.
Witt is also a big fan of LinkedIn. She utilizes the site to promote Attorney Alchemy by posting helpful tips, articles, discussions, opportunities and comments designed to encourage interaction. Her efforts have paid off, too, because she has gleaned clients through her LinkedIn activities. She says being active on LinkedIn helps her establish credibility and engender trust.
Witt says lawyers should also:
- Make the most of the real estate under their headshot to explain the types of clients they represent.
- Use the summary and space under their gigs to discuss why they work with the clients they do and the value they can afford them
- Give, give, give–give nine times before they ask for anything including a share, meeting or referral.
Just as lawyers would be wise to know what to post on their LinkedIn profile, they should be aware of what not to post, Witt says. Examples include posts that ask for something from readers without offering something of value first, such as information. Huge no-no’s for LinkedIn posts include comments about politics, religion or sex.
Adds Witt, “No hitting on women or commenting on their appearance and no commenting unless what you say adds value and is kind. I’m not saying you always have to agree. I’m saying you need to be professional and remember what being professional means,” she cautions.
Should You Go Pro?
While a basic LinkedIn membership is free, there are four types of paid memberships aimed at different audiences and offering different services. Prices range from $29.99 to $99 monthly and can be paid either monthly or annually. If a member chooses to pay the membership fee for a year, they receive a 20% discount.
Witt says she did her due diligence to determine whether a Premium membership was worth the investment for her business. She concluded it was not. A free membership still allows her to invite others to connect with her on the site, so she didn’t lose that ability despite sticking with the free option.
The Career membership, priced at $29.99 a month, allows a user to see who perused their profile for the past 90 days while a free membership permits the user to see only the last three people who looked at their profile. The no-cost membership also does not permit the user to send an InMail (an email within LinkedIn) to someone with whom they are not connected, although they may ask anyone to connect with them.
The next level up from Career is Business and is priced at $47.99 monthly. For that price, the user may send up to 15 InMail communications monthly, among other services. When you’re able to see who has perused your profile, you are better equipped to determine if you would like to connect with them. Once connected, communications can ensue, and hopefully, new business can be earned.
A new offering for all premium members are online video courses. According to Paine, a wide variety of educational opportunities are offered so users who actively tap into this benefit get a lot of bang for their buck.
Not sure where to start when creating your LinkedIn profile? John Nemo is happy to help. The LinkedIn guru, who is not employed by the company but has made a career educating others how to best utilize it, offers a free template for people seeking guidance on just what to include in a powerful profile.
Nemo is such a fan of the social media platform he even wrote a book about how to best utilize it. For a free download of LinkedIn Riches, click here.
Tami Kamin Meyer is an Ohio attorney and writer. She is the Chair of the Marketing Committee of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.