With all the headlines, notifications, news, noise and ads precisely tailored to grab and keep your attention, you might be looking to cut down on your social media consumption where you can. But unless you are a lawyer heading into retirement, you need to be making some time for LinkedIn. Regardless of your personal feelings about LinkedIn (you don’t know half your connections, random strangers sending connection requests, constant InMails from headhunters and salespeople), at over 500 million users it is the number one social platform for professionals. Your peers and your clients are using LinkedIn so like it or not, if you’re a professional, you need to be on it.
Here are 3 common mistakes attorneys make when it comes to LinkedIn:
MISTAKE #1: LITTLE TO NO PRESENCE
Even though you may not care about your LinkedIn profile, LinkedIn makes sure that if a profile exists it is one of the first things listed on an internet search of your name. Clients, prospects, referral sources and potential employees and employers use LinkedIn to make sure you are who you say you are. It is the first place people go to verify your professional credibility so it is important that it is a true reflection of the professional you are.
Make sure you are connected to your entire professional network including your current and previous colleagues. LinkedIn is a referral network and a place for you to illustrate to your connections what your expertise is and when to refer you. The attorneys you know might be searching their connections for an attorney with your exact expertise so make sure you 1) are a connection and 2) it’s clear what you do and for who.
MISTAKE #2: WRONG INFORMATION IN PROFILE
Missing information, outdated information, too little information, or too much irrelevant information will make you look unprofessional and disorganized. Your LinkedIn profile should reflect the intentional brand you are working towards, it is not a place to list everything you have ever done.
Your Headline is always listed alongside your name in searches and should clearly explain your expertise and target client. A headline that reads “Attorney” is a missed opportunity to help your connections and the public understand what you do best and who should work with you.
Your About Section is the next place people look once they are intrigued by your headline. Use the this section to further define your expertise as it relates to the type of work you are looking for more of.
Don’t skip the soft stuff. Include all the schools you’ve attended, the organizations and associations you belong to, your volunteer experience, languages you speak and personal accomplishments. This back of the business card information helps people relate to you as a human being.
It should go without saying that your photo needs to be professional (not from a wedding and definitely no selfies) and actually looks like you do today. And make sure prospects can actually contact you; keep your contact information updated along with links to your company website and other websites you are currently associated with.
MISTAKE #3: NEVER GOING ON LINKEDIN
LinkedIn is a great place to research and understand your clients and prospects. You can see what is current, relevant and of interest to the professionals you work with or would like to work with.
LinkedIn is a natural place for your network to be reminded of you in parallel with material that indicates that you are an expert and a thought leader in your field. Post articles you’ve written, share important firm posts, share content you think your target clients would be interested in, post notice of speaking engagements, and write thoughtful comments on posts that could be read by your target clients and referral sources. Strategically tagging companies and people in your posts and comments will expand the opportunity for people to see your name and information.
Avoid these mistakes and make time to ensure your LinkedIn profile is an accurate reflection of the professional you are and is in line with your business development objectives.