Most law firms today use some sort of social networking to increase awareness of the firm and establish an ongoing relationship with their clients and potential clients. But of all the platforms available, LinkedIn has long remained a favorite. In fact, as we discussed in a previous post, of all the attorneys who use social media for professional reasons, the majority use LinkedIn. In fact, a report by the American Bar Association finds that 75 percent of individual attorneys who use social media, use LinkedIn. The report also shows that approximately 66 percent of large firms use the platform.
While the main reasons for professional social networking are improved brand awareness and enhanced client relations, more than half of the attorneys and firms who use LinkedIn use it for education and information consumption. This means that most attorneys are “lurking” more than interacting. So if you're using LinkedIn, you should ensure that your profile works well as an introduction, because you might not get more than a passing glance if you don’t grab their attention and give them a reason to stay.
I've listed 5 simple steps to help you reach the goal of pulling visitors in to read your profile and connect with you:
- Anyone who comes to your profile should see an up-to-date professional head shot, not of the building where you work, or the firm’s logo. In fact, LinkedIn says that your profile is 14 times more likely to be viewed if you have a profile photo. It's important that your face is clear and close so peers and clients can recognize you. Look at the camera and be confident. Need help choosing a picture? Josh King at Avvo recently wrote about PhotoFeeler, a photo comparison service where voters weigh in on a number of factors including how competent, likable, and influential you appear based on your photo (use the "business" category).
- Your headline should accurately represent your current situation. Though your profile should be creative enough to help you stand out from the crowd, it must also be clear. Tie it into the summary and consider both as your elevator speech. Your summary should describe not only what you do but also why you do it. Let your motivation and passion come through in your summary, but don’t just say your motivated and passionate - show it.
- When you list your skills, be sure to include high-level skills as well as those you have developed for your specific niche. When you list work experiences, be sure to include any volunteer work or community involvement. Adding these things helps visitors connect with you on a deeper level and helps them form a more well-rounded view of you and your services. (Adding in volunteer work also helps show that you are a motivated and passionate individual.)
- After you finish adding in your experiences, use LinkedIn’s “People You May Already Know” feature to help you add contacts quickly. Update your contacts every few months and don’t be afraid to remove those that aren’t relevant to your current situation.
- Use the “Add Sections” feature to include content from your blog (WordPress) and Twitter feed. You can also include other external content, including content from SlideShare. LinkedIn also has a feature that allows you to reorder your sections, so you can move the most interesting or relevant content up in your profile, giving your readers easier access to the information they want to see.
Another helpful tip, turn off “Send Bio Updates” in the “Privacy and Settings” menu, so you don’t annoy your connections while you revamp your LinkedIn profile.
Teresa Shaw is an SEO consultant with 10 years of experience helping attorneys and law firms across the country increase public awareness of their services.