Most lawyers know that they should be using LinkedIn. At the very least, someone at some point has told them that they should be using LinkedIn. Often times, they’ll create an account, set up their profile, connect to a few colleagues, and then sit back and wait. Occasionally they’ll receive a request from a friend or colleague, but otherwise, they might find themselves wondering: “What’s the big deal?”
In many ways, LinkedIn is like a really good networking event. There are lots of interesting people and possibly valuable connections to make. In fact, there are chances to connect with other colleagues and potential clients that you might not otherwise have access to. But, like any networking event, you’re only going to get out of it what you put into it. For example, if you attended a networking event and placed your business cards on a table and then sat in a corner for the rest of the night without attempting to connect with anyone, you shouldn’t be surprised if the whole event proves to be a waste of time. If you want to make the most out of LinkedIn then you absolutely must take the time to interact with other people. Interaction on LinkedIn comes in three flavors: Updates, Groups, and Answers.
Once you’ve connected with other LinkedIn users, the easiest way to interact with them is to post updates to your account. If you publish articles on a blog or website, you can post the links with a short introduction to your updates. You can post updates about your practice or new issues affecting your practice area. Generally speaking, I’d encourage you to view posting updates as a means by which you can remind the people you’ve connected with who you are and what your specialties are.
Groups are a great way to interact with and develop relationships with other people in your industry and practice areas. For example, I’m a member of a number of Groups including groups for solo practitioners, groups for entertainment attorneys, and groups for other entertainment industry professionals. By interacting with these groups by posting comments and updates, I’m able to meet other attorneys (which can lead to referrals) and interact with other professionals related to the industry I represent (which can lead to new clients). For me, LinkedIn’s Groups may be the most valuable tool on all of LinkedIn.
Answers provide another great way to demonstrate your knowledge as a professional and connect with potential clients. You can find Answers by clicking it from the “More” drop-down on the LinkedIn toolbar. From the Answers homepage you can click on “Law and Legal” to see questions posted by LinkedIn users seeking answers by attorneys. By interacting with these individuals, you’re able to demonstrate your competence as an attorney while also making a connection to someone already in the market for legal advice.
Have you had success making connections on LinkedIn? We’d love to hear your experiences in the comments section.