The popularity of LinkedIn has made this professional networking site a powerful – and free – business development tool for many lawyers and law firms.
LinkedIn is a professional website where business professionals can post profiles on themselves, make connections with other professionals and recruit professionals for business purposes. While about 95 percent of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) members currently have LinkedIn accounts, approximately 75 percent of those who serve as corporate counsel have reported that they regularly use LinkedIn to help them select third-party counsel, according to a 2012 survey conducted by the American Bar Association. The popularity of using LinkedIn in the legal community has made this professional networking site a powerful – and free – business development tool for many lawyers and law firms.
However, when it comes to getting the most out of a LinkedIn account, it’s not enough to simply post a professional profile of oneself. Instead, lawyers and law firms must take the time to:
- Craft a composed, complete and compelling profile that will stand out against the thousands of others already posted on LinkedIn
- Build up their network connections on the site
- Regularly use LinkedIn to fully take advantage of all of its powerful features.
First, we’ll discuss how to develop a compelling LinkedIn profile.
Your LinkedIn Profile: The First Step
Having a prominent presence on LinkedIn and making sure that your profile pops up when someone is searching for professionals like you starts with building (and maintaining) a compelling professional profile for yourself. LinkedIn ranks each profile on the site according to how an individual completes the following sections:
- The Name and Title section can receive up to 25 percent (towards a total of 100 percent, according to LinkedIn’s algorithm): To receive the full percentage for this section, it’s important that you use specific keywords, rather than a generic description. Think about how someone would search for a professional like you and try to incorporate those words and phrases in your title.
- The professional photo can receive up to 5 percent: Including a professional photo with your profile will not only boost your profile’s rating with LinkedIn’s algorithm, but it will also increase the likelihood that others will check out your profile by about seven times.
- The professional summary can receive up to 10 percent: This section should include keywords pertaining to your practice, and it should inform readers about what you can specifically do to help them with their legal issues. Be sure to reread this section before you post it and to update it as needed.
The other sections in your LinkedIn profile are rated as follows:
- The educational background can receive up to 15 percent of your total profile score.
- The previous employment can receive up to 30 percent of your total profile score.
- The recommendations section can be awarded up to 15 percent of your total profile score.
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