One of the most overlooked resources for attorneys in growing their practice is the social media website LinkedIn. Here are are few do's and don'ts as well as some suggestions that can easily be implemented to grow your practice using this social media site.
- Do complete your profile and make sure it is an accurate reflection of what you want visitors to see. Write it as if you were the reader and give them a first impression that will be lasting and memorable.
- When it comes to your profile, do make it user friendly. Your LinkedIn profile is your virtual business card. Write it in a way that you want it to be viewed by strangers and people that you have not met yet. A profile that is incomplete says that your busy day does not allow you to fill in the details of what you are doing now or have done in the past or any other useful information. Don't let that be the impression you leave with those that see your profile.
- Do join groups that are related to your specialty area of expertise. Look for those groups which the discussions elicit multiple comments from members rather than just one or two comments. The easiest way to find this is by reading through recent group discussions posts of those groups that you are a member of and assess the amount of activity new posts tend to generate.
- Don't stand on the sidelines and not participate. Do take advantage of LinkedIn by monitoring ongoing conversations on LinkedIn to find opportunities to comment on what other people have written about. Include a link to marketing collateral when it is appropriate is a great way to do this as well as giving an opinion of what other group members have written. Don't be afraid to step up to the plate and share your opinions. Those that are quiet are rarely noticed.
- Do remember the principal of givers' gain and be a resource and share your information, your "white papers" and other information in a way that is not a sales pitch but more in the spirit of asking for feedback. When you give first, people remember you and have been left with a good feeling. It is the feelings that people remember so go out of your way to help others with their challenges when your expertise is something that you can offer.
- Do consider creating a custom landing page that is designed specifically for the LinkedIn audience that contains video to share information and make a seamless transition from LinkedIn to you and the information you want to convey. Video is the way of the future and when you can put your voice and face in front of your target audience along with a message that is valuable, you have the key ingredients to making yourself memorable. Direct your LinkedIn visitors where you want them to go to get to know you better.
- Don't ignore one of LinkedIn's most powerful tools, the answer tool which is provided for for LinkedIn members. By answering questions, readers can tap into your knowledge base and establish yourself as an expert in your niche area of law. Use your expertise to help others and you will help your own practice to grow.
- Do take advantage of search engine optimizing by optimizing your LinkedIn profile. Don't forget to create a URL for your LinkedIn name. The secret is to make sure your profile is optimized with relevant keywords for search engines. If you don't know how to do this, hire someone. It is worth your time and effort.
- Don't forget that when you are sent a request to pass it along promptly, or say why you won't. Membership in LinkedIn is a kind of agreement with the community that you intend to participate. If people send you requests and they sit there, unforwarded and unresponded to, for weeks, you're not only the weak link in the system. You could be impeding someone else's business efforts, and giving no reason for your actions. If you can't forward on a request or move a request forward, say so - and say why. LinkedIn provides a handy list of reasons for declining a request, plus an "other" option.
- Do remember to grow your network. Only invite true friends - or at least, true acquaintances - to connect. It is important to remember that you must have a minimal level of contact with a person before inviting him or her to connect with you on LinkedIn. A contact - a less-intrusive overture than an invitation to connect - is a good way to approach people with whom you have no relationship.
- Don't send connection invitations to people who have never met you, heard of you, or had any inkling of your existence unless they have indicated a desire to be approached by strangers. Think about it: if you found a person's phone number on a scrap of paper, you wouldn't feel that you had permission to phone him. Your possession of an email address doesn't give you license to contact an unacquainted LinkedIn user and suggest a connection - and it's this kind of overzealous outreach that gets users in trouble with LinkedIn, as well.
Finally, value the relationships your create over business. The same as you network off line in the real world, value people for their intrinsic worth over the business transactions they enable. LinkedIn is an amazing tool that enables attorneys who know how to be connectors and influencers to help other people and achieve their own goals, too. Do remember to keep your priorities in order when it comes to give and take and you will never be left out of LinkedIn.
Coming in January….LinkedIn teleseminar….watch for the date and time.