I have had the opportunity to engage with many lawyers recently, both in person as well as online through LinkedIn, and the sudden interest in social media that they seem to have has been surprising to me. I had always envisioned the legal profession as more of an old-school, conservative group of people that would not have an interest in social networking. The interest from them that I have seen clearly shows that LinkedIn, and social networking, are phenomenons that are here to stay.
If you are in the legal profession and are already on LinkedIn, you may not be utilizing social media to the greatest extent that you can. And if you are still not on LinkedIn, you may be confused as to what the advantage is of being online. With that in mind, let me give you my thoughts on why every lawyer should be on LinkedIn and utilizing it for the following objectives:
- Promote your brand. Lawyers demand a high hourly rate for their services, and thus are extremely brandable by the very fact that they need to project a sense of value for what they charge. Every lawyer that I have ever met has some specialty, and whether their potential customers are consumers or businesses, chances are greater than ever that potential customers are already using LinkedIn. Doesn’t it make sense, then, to promote your brand through your LinkedIn profile, letting others know about your specialties and making sure that your profile contains those keywords that you want to be associated with?
- Look for and gain referrals. Lawyers, like many other professionals, rely on referrals for business. They also rely on recommending other lawyers when they receive a request that goes beyond their scope of expertise. In other words, lawyers are natural networkers. Doesn’t it make sense, then, to take this networking to a new level on LinkedIn by being able to network with other lawyers that you may have no chance to physically meet, where you can share expertise for mutual benefit as well as find lawyers in new niches that you may not have covered?
- Build a future pipeline through Answers and Groups. You have a brand. You have core domain expertise. Why not utilize your asset and provide advice to others on LinkedIn, either through answering the Q&A on LinkedIn Answers or on the Groups discussion boards for those Groups that you want to align yourself with? In networking, I (and many other pay-it-forward networkers) am a strong believer in that you get back much more than you give. Try reaching out and building up a virtual network by helping people out with whatever you already know, and I am certain that this will reap benefits for you.
There are so many professionals that just put their bio up on LinkedIn and do nothing else with it. This is a shame. Social media is valueless unless you exploit it. The above are just three ideas that I can propose to help you out in your LinkedIn journey. Now I am not a lawyer nor have a legal background, so you will all have to help me out on this, but I see lawyer’s, like all humans, as innate networkers, so there is no excuse for not leveraging this awesome social networking platform for more than you probably are doing at the present. And if I am incorrect in my assumptions, please correct me!