Legal Marketing: Are you ignoring your “Contact Settings” on LinkedIn?

December 20, 2010

Contact Us

Make sure your “Contact Settings” can be easily found on your LinkedIn account.

Expose yourself – it’s okay!

Poor old contact settings.  Relegated to the bottom of your profile.  Often ignored.  But did you know that with a few minor tweaks, contact settings could make your profile exponentially more accessible on LinkedIn?

The trick is adding your contact information (an email address or phone number) to this section – usually found at the bottom of your profile.  Once you do, your contact information becomes exposed to your entire network – not just your first level of connections. This way clients are more likely to find you. And not just find you, but contact you. If it’s too hard for a client to find your contact information, you might lose them to your competition.

I know this will make some people nervous.  I have many people in my network. I’ve had my contact info in this section for years, and I rarely get unsolicited spam as a result. Optimizing my contact information has only benefited me, not hurt me.

Caveat:  The more you expose yourself on social media, the more exposed you are to people who might abuse the system.

You can always create a “social media email account” that you use strictly for your social media communications:

  • Keep your legal social media email and “real” email separate
  • Build your lists
  • It gives you a “throw away” option if your account gets usurped or ‘phished’

That should keep you relatively safe.

Expose yourself!


Legal Marketing: Best Practices for Connecting on LinkedIn

December 19, 2010

Connecting people

Interested in learning ways to connect to more people in the legal marketing network on LinkedIn?

You can only make your LinkedIn network so big with people that you know. So if you want to grow your network, you will have to start adding connections in the legal marketing field that you may not know. When inviting people to connect on LinkedIn, there are limited options to show your relationship:

  • Colleague
  • Classmate
  • We’ve done business together
  • Groups
  • Other
  • And I don’t know…

Obviously if any of the first three options apply, use them.

  • You can use the “friend” option without knowing the other person’s email address if you haven’t been “dinged” (reported). Many people don’t realize that if you try to connect to someone you don’t know, and they say they don’t know you, LinkedIn will eventually require that you enter an email address for every connection request you send. You don’t want this to happen. So if you can use the “friend” option, (or any of the other options) make sure you create a personalized message. Let people know why you are connecting with them. How did you find them?  What about their profile intrigued you?  You have a much better chance of getting your invitation accepted, or at the least, not tagged as an “I don’t know” (IDK) or spam if you tell them why you want to connect.

An option I will often use, if it is available, is the “group” option.  As long as a LinkedIn member has joined a group that you also belong to, and has not turned off the ability to connect through a group, you can reach out to them this way.

Invitation using “groups” option

  • Once you join a group, you might have to wait to be “accepted” by the administrator. After you get “accepted,” you can then send the person you want to connect with (in that group) a message asking them if they will accept an invitation. This is a great way to grow your network. This is more time-consuming, but will not cost you an “InMail” or an “Introduction.”   If you ask them first to connect before you send the invitation, you will also be less likely to get spammed or IDK’d.

Your other option, of course, is to use one of your introductions.  Take the time to fully explain why you want to connect, not only to the end party, but also to the person connecting you.

Introduction on LinkedIn

If you have a paid account, you can use an InMail.

  • Some people will put their contact information in the “Contact Setting” at the bottom of the LinkedIn profile – and you can either use that information to contact them directly, or to get access to them as a “friend.”  (Once again, be aware that you have a higher chance of getting IDK’d or reported as a spammer if you do.)

Use common sense.  The Golden Rule applies to LinkedIn as well.  Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.  I am a LION, and I will accept your invitation.  Others might not.  But usually, with the courtesy of a well-crafted introduction letter and a genuine desire to connect, most people will grasp your outstretched hand and connect.


Legal Marketing: 10 Things NOT to do on LinkedIn

December 16, 2010

Notebook with Things not to do

When LinkedIn tells you that your profile is 100% complete, don’t believe them.

Here are the top 10 things to avoid to get your LinkedIn profile optimized and ready to go:

1. Don’t put anything in the name field other than your name

Thinking they will stand out from the crowd, some people add email addresses, phone numbers and group affiliations into the name field (when editing Basic Information on LinkedIn). They think that:  John A. Smith  (Johnasmith@gmail.com) LION will get them more hits than a simple: John Smith.

The problem is that LinkedIn will categorize you incorrectly, which means you’ll be harder to find when someone types your name in.  It also means you will be harder to find in the contacts list, especially if you have 500+ contacts. Harder to find means less business.

Keep your name clean: John Smith.  You’ll have plenty of other opportunities to put your contact information in your profile (headline, summary, or contact me sections to name a few).  And in those other sections you can always use CAPITALIZATION and special characters to make YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION jump out at the reader.

Ladies- LinkedIn finally has a field for your maiden name. They took far too long to resolve this issue, but now both your old colleagues and your new friends can find you!

2. Don’t create your LinkedIn profile in LinkedIn

Create your LinkedIn profile in a Word file, then cut and paste it into LinkedIn. This will help prevent spelling and grammatical errors, make it easier to get word counts, and later you can be easily copy it into other social media platforms to keep your branding consistent. It will also save you a boatload of time.

And if for some reason LinkedIn ever suspends or shuts down your profile, or you simply want to try out another legal networking site, having a fully formed profile already in a Word document is a huge time saver.

3. Don’t use boudoir shots or your business logo for your LinkedIn photo

This is a BUSINESS NETWORKING site. Keep your photo professional. Head shot only, so they can see your trustworthy eyes and kind smile.  And for those of you with new babies, yes your kids are adorable, but you can show them off on Facebook.

4. Don’t Ignore the Update function

Similar to Twitter and Facebook, the LinkedIn update can be a powerful tool to keep you top of mind.  You will show up on your connection’s homepage and even their email, especially if your connections don’t know they can turn this off.  And a few a week is just fine. I recommend people Tweet hourly, update Facebook daily, and update LinkedIn one or two times a week.

Like the other updates, you can post links to interesting articles, let people know about upcoming legal events or promote speaking engagements.

5. Don’t leave your public profile unedited

How useful or memorable is this public profile URL:  Linkedin.com/in/23h9il?  How about this one?  http://www.linkedin.com/in/legalmarketingexpert

Your public profile can be a powerful way to optimize your brand, raise your Google rankings, increase connections and position yourself as an expert.  Many people simply miss the fact that you can customize your public profile URL. You can use your name, your company name or your personal brand.  Just remember it has to be all lowercase, one word and no special characters.

6 . Don’t ignore your website link and make sure to customize it

First of all, if you have a website, blog site, or even another social media address, make sure you have it in your LinkedIn profile.  You can include THREE sites, so use them all! Every time someone jumps from a mega site to your website, your Google rating climbs just a bit higher.

Higher rating = more hits = more clients! And really, isn’t that the reason we are on LinkedIn in the first place?

7. Don’t populate the Experience section with a simple copy of your resume

Hey, you can now use box.net to upload your resume into LinkedIn.  So while you certainly want to use Experience to list your current and previous jobs, really take advantage of this section by filling it with all that stuff you wish you had room for in your resume.  Did you work for/with any Fortune 500 companies? Did your legal advice save the day?

You can always use this space to showcase wins, different companies you have helped, seminars or workshops you have presented or a mini-shot of your personal website.  And fill it with keywords to increase your changes of showing up in searches too!

8. Don’t limit the Education section to just your traditional education

Certainly you are going to want to list all the degrees you have managed to accumulate.  If you have a PhD from Harvard, by all means, let us know.  But you can also use this section (once again, using that magic tool called other ) to list certifications, licenses and other nifty specialties that make you stand out in a crowd. Once again, use your keywords!

9. Don’t ignore the Summary section

The Summary section is probably one of the most useful and overlooked tools on LinkedIn. You have 2000 characters – that’s 2/3 of a page – to tell people who you are, how to contact you and why they should hire your firm. This is also an EXCELLENT place to capitalize those things to which you want to you want to DRAW attention.

And for the search engine spiders, use your keywords. The more you say something about yourself, the more true it is on LinkedIn.

Remember to use white space (it only takes a character to break that clump into nice readable paragraphs,) CAPITALIZATION, special characters and key words. And as mentioned before – CREATE YOUR SUMMARY IN A WORD DOCUMENT FIRST.

10. Don’t forget to use the applications

LinkedIn finally has some pretty nifty internal and open source applications to make your LinkedIn profile even more effective.  Some of my favorites are:

  • Events
  • WordPress
  • Slideshare.com
  • Box.net
  • TripIt.

Check them out and utilize them!


Legal Marketing: Fix your Company’s LinkedIn Page

October 29, 2010

Pliers

LinkedIn’s new tools allow you to optimize your company’s page to the fullest.

LinkedIn has really put some time and effort into making their company profiles (over a million to date) more interactive.  The new Products and Services tabs allow you to add your individual products and services. Additionally, LinkedIn’s new recommendation button makes it easy to get recommendations not only from within LinkedIn itself, but from anywhere you decide to post the Recommend button.

Here’s the code to add the Recommendation button to your site:

<script type= text/javascript  src= http://platform.linkedin.com/in.js ></script><script type= in/recommendproduct  data-company= CompanyID  data-product= ProductID 3 data-counter= right ></script>

Who Can Edit Your Profile?

What has been scary to me for awhile, is that there was no way to control who edited your company page.  Anyone with an email@yourcompanydomain.com could edit your profile.  Finally, LinkedIn gives you the option of choosing who gets access to that editing button, which is a really big deal for both large and small companies that might have some LinkedIn savvy irate employees, or even well-intentioned employees who don’t really know what they are doing.

To change who can edit your LinkedIn company profile, simply go to your company’s page on LinkedIn, click on the edit button, and under Company Pages Admins choose who can edit your company profile:

Choose – Designated users only. At this time the default is “All Employees” which means anyone with a valid email registered to the company domain can edit your company profile. Scary!

Eventually, I am hoping LinkedIn will give us the opportunity to remove employees who don’t work for us (but that have our company listed in their profiles and therefore show up as employees.)

LinkedIn Company Page Analytics

Another new feature is the ability to view analytics for all kinds of things!  You can now see how many LinkedIn members are visiting your company page and how many LinkedIn members are following your company. You can also see what industries, functions and companies these professionals come from. Finally, you can also track how they are interacting with your Careers tab or Products and Services tab, how many are clicking on your promotional banners, and how many choose to contact employees at your company.

What would you like LinkedIn to add or change to their line-up?  Let me know in the comments page below.


Legal Marketing: LinkedIn Tips for Law Firms

October 14, 2010

LinkedIn Login Page

Utilizing LinkedIn will not only build your legal network, but it will allow you to reach and gain more clients.

LinkedIn is the number one social media network for businesses and law firms, and believe it or not, it is utilized in almost every country in the world.  LinkedIn has 80 million users, and it’s estimated that a new member joins every second.

So that means 80 million people who might be your next client, right?  Wrong. What LinkedIn doesn’t tell you, is that you are only as visible as the size of your network.  So if you have a small (5 million or less) network (1st, 2nd, 3rd tier + group members) you are missing out on both your own ability to be seen by others, as well as the ability to find and target strategic clients for your law firm.

Steps to Growing your Network:

  • ONLY invite people already using LinkedIn when using LinkedIn’s connection tool. (Due to 3K limit)
  • Join Groups that have a lot of members (toplinked, LinkedHR, Open Networkers) as well as law groups such as Legal Marketing Association (that I’m apart of). You can join up to 50 groups – which will grow your network.
  • Go to  www.toplinked.com/top50.html and invite the top linked people (who have less than 30K connections – another limit imposed by LinkedIn)
  • Join www.opennetworker.com (an affiliate site) and for $49 a year YOU will receive invitations – from complete strangers – but they might know someone you need to know. (And you can use this opportunity to ‘touch’ new folks who might become a client.)

Targeting your Ideal Client

Once you have grown a decent-sized network, you will have access to more people, including target clients:

  • Use the Advanced Search feature, which will allow you to specifically target the “type” of person who would make an ideal client (sort by “relevance” and “expanded” view). Use a Boolean Search (AND, OR, NOT “”).  Invite the strategic people you find to connect using Groups, if possible, or get “Introduced” through a mutual connection.
  • Find and “follow” ideal clients in groups. (This is not the same as connecting – but gives you many of the same benefits). Use search within the member section of a group (Boolean).
  • Search “law firms” to find key people you might want to connect with (a wealth a valuable information is often over-looked here).
  • Use the new “tagging” option in your LinkedIn contacts list once you are connected (only good for 1st level).
  • Download vCards of your 1st level connections and organize them using Outlook, Act, Apple Mail, etc.

Optimizing Your Profile:

  • Your LinkedIn Profile is your professional identity, autobiography, brochure or ad on LinkedIn. Think of it as a website showcasing your career and your law firm.  Like any brochure, make sure your content is grammatically correct and free of spelling errors.  Use secondary applications like Slideshare.com and Box.net to import legal literature and videos.
  • Use the professional headline on your profile to share your areas of expertise and interest. You have 200 characters to work with. This field is weighted heavily in both the LinkedIn search and Google search, so use your keywords.
  • Use the summary section to expand upon information in your profile. This section is searchable, so include keywords that are appropriate for your industry (example: law firm, legal, practice areas, etc.). Sometimes it’s easier to write your summary in a Word document first and then cut/paste it into LinkedIn. This allows you to check spelling and grammar, as well as create attractive formatting with bullets and spacing.  The most common symbols and bullets will transfer over. You have 2,000 characters to use.
  • Change the link/url in your Profile by editing Public Profile so that it includes your name, your law firm and/or practice area expertise (www.linkedin.com/in/legalmarketingexpert) and include it in your email signatures, business card and resume.
  • Put ALL your job titles in the Title Field of the “experience” section.  This field is also heavily ranked in a LinkedIn Search.

By creating a rich profile, and taking advantage of the many tools LinkedIn provides, you’ll make the contacts you need to expand your practice.


Legal Marketing: Being “active” and “passive” on Linkedin

October 11, 2010

LinkedIn Image

Why should you use LinkedIn for your law firm? Here’s some pretty good reasons why.

LinkedIn Assumptions:

  • Most people think LinkedIn is just a glorified Rolodex or an extended resume online.
  • Most people are “strategic” networkers who know all their first level connections and want to connect to others through them.
  • Most people follow LinkedIn’s “Learning Center” and think they have a complete profile (because LinkedIn tells them their profile is 100% complete).

Passive Uses of LinkedIn:

Keyword your profile:

  • Ask your legal marketing director or web person for the keywords they used to optimize your website.
  • Think about what people might type in a search engine to find the services you offer.  (Dumb it down – not everyone knows the lingo of the legal industry.)
  • Make a list of these keywords and OPTIMIZE every part of your profile:  header, summary, experience and education, specialties and interests.

WHY? This will get you found on the first page of the LinkedIn search. Help people find you and your law firm, even if they don’t know your name.

Websites:

  • Do you only have one?  Using “other” you can focus certain pages within your website and list them separately on LinkedIn.
  1. Home page
  2. Contact Page
  3. Product /Service Page

WHY? People are more likely to click on “Increase your ROI” rather than “My Website.”  This will raise your Google page rank because people will be clicking from a big site to your site, which indicates relevance.

Personalized Public Profile:

  • Reflect your name and law firm.

WHY? This will also help you get found on Google.  And it’s easier to remember than “45ub4l0.”

“Passive” tools actively used:

  • Answers (become a thought leader.)
  • Groups (Create a customer/contact list of like-minded contacts)
  • Create a dynamic group
  • Post blogs and news articles reflecting your firm
  • Moderate discussion – find the “pulse” of your audience

Active Uses of LinkedIn

Search:

  • Find ideal prospects
  • Research the caliber of people you are considering as a client and/or employee
  • Find partners to expand your firm nationally or internationally
  • Find venues or a destination (conference, tradeshows, etc)
  • Research a competing firm
  • Research a client you are considering working with
  • Find mentors in the legal market

Other Uses of LinkedIn

  • Free Advertising
  • Exposure for your blog
  • Exposure for your work (only public domain)
  • Business hub for your employees
  • Create a business culture

How do you do this?

  • Create a professional, optimized and dynamic profile
  • Build your network (and therefore your client list)
  • Learn how to effectively mine your network.

These tools and others will help you establish a name for your firm, create a list of great potential clients and even attract the best candidates for open positions.


Legal Marketing: Blog Opportunities

September 28, 2010

Blogs will change your Life

As social media becomes a more credible source of information, it’s becoming a major influencer when choosing a law firm.

Lawyers are getting younger and younger. As each month, year, and day passes, a new generation is rising to the plate – a generation that has grown up in the social media world.

According to a recent survey taken by LTN Law Technology News, “43 percent of in-house counsel turn to blogs as a primary source of information.”

This is a huge number, especially when most law firms have not caught up with the social media craze. Common skepticism aside, blogs are a way to get hired and gain clients. This is a way to market your firm, basically for free. This is an opportunity for smaller firms to grow their client base and compete with much larger firms. With social media in the mix, everyone is on the same playing field.

The survey also pointed out the huge age difference when it comes to adopting social media. Attorneys between the ages of 30 and 39 are using social media a lot more than lawyers over the age of 60.  These younger lawyers are getting onto their social media accounts daily – LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter – and they are getting some of their legal and industry news from these sites.

As time goes on, social media will be something all lawyers HAVE to do to keep clients and to stay in business. This is the generation of social marketing. Welcome.

To read more about these surveys, click here.