LinkedIn (or Left Out) for Lawyers

Blog writer, Janet Raasch, provides the following article.


Until recently, very few lawyers and corporate counsel had even heard of the social media site LinkedIn.  In fact, it surprises many to learn that LinkedIn was launched ten years ago.  How quickly things have changed!

Ninety-five percent of ABA members indicate that they have posted their profiles on LinkedIn. Seventy percent of corporate counsel indicate that they use LinkedIn regularly as a tool to find and vet outside counsel.  These statistics come from a 2012 ABA survey.

LinkedIn is now one of the world’s most popular websites.  If you would like to be found by potential clients, your LinkedIn profile has become even more important than your website biography.  If you are looking for networking opportunities, your LinkedIn presence and activity have become just as important as your face-to-face networking.

LinkedIn launched in May 2003.  “From the very start, LinkedIn differentiated itself as a site for business, business development and recruitment rather than a social site,” said Phil Nugent.

“In just ten years, LinkedIn has gained 225 million users around the world, including 80 million users in the United States,” said Nugent.  “More than 173,000 people join LinkedIn each day.  It is a great place for many attorneys, because the demographics of LinkedIn skew older, wealthier and more-educated than any of the other top social media sites.”

Nugent discussed effective use of LinkedIn by lawyers and law firms at the monthly educational meeting of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association, held July 9 at Sullivan’s Steakhouse in LoDo Denver.  Nugent is a non-practicing attorney and principal at NCG Strategic Marketing.

“Successful use of LinkedIn as a business development tool has three steps,” said Nugent.  “First, you must post a complete and compelling profile.  All too many lawyers and law firms leave it at that, however, and then wonder why LinkedIn is not working as well as they had hoped.

“To achieve success on LinkedIn, you must build a strong network of connections in terms of both quality and quantity,” said Nugent.  “With this accomplished, you can leverage LinkedIn as a business development tool to find others, to get found and to conduct market research.”

Getting Started on LinkedIn

The creation and posting of a good profile is step one of a solid LinkedIn presence.  However, it should not be the same as a lawyer’s website bio.  Instead, it should be designed to satisfy the unique needs of LinkedIn’s search algorithm.

“LinkedIn’s algorithm uses a metric to quantify profile strength, which has a huge effect on search results,” said Nugent.  “Different areas of your LinkedIn profile carry different weights.  You should aim for a profile-strength of “all-star,” or as close to 100 percent as possible.”

Nugent discussed and gave specific recommendations regarding the algorithm’s weights.

Name and title (25 percent) -- Do not make the mistake of simply listing a generic job title in this very important space.  It should include carefully selected keywords – the keywords that those searching for someone like you are likely to use.  The title category can be as long as 120 characters, or about 18 words. 

Photo (5 percent) – A profile that includes a photo is seven times more likely to be viewed than one without a photo. Be sure that the photo is both professional and recent.

Summary (10 percent) – Use your summary to tell a compelling story about how you help clients solve their legal problems.  This section should include plenty of keywords.  It can include up to 2,000 characters, or about 350 words.  Spell check is always recommended.

Education (15 percent)

Previous two jobs (30 percent)

Three recommendations (15 percent) 

Another smart tactic for promotion of your LinkedIn presence is to customize your profile’s URL.  LinkedIn automatically generates a random URL, but this easily can be changed to a much shorter version featuring your name.  Additionally, you should be sure to add links to your website and blog.

On the “Edit Profile” page you can add content modules that include projects, publications, honors and awards, patents, certifications and languages.

“Throughout your LinkedIn profile, remember that content is king,” said Nugent.  “The copy should be compelling and should include plain-English keywords that are the same words that will be used by your target market or your ideal clients.  These keywords should indicate who you are and what you do.  Avoid ‘legalese’ -- unless your clients use it, too.”

Once you have prepared and posted a strong LinkedIn profile, you want to make sure that people can actually gain access to it.  Go to the “privacy controls” section of your profile and choose the settings that allow “everyone” to view your profile photo and visibility.

Creating a LinkedIn Network

To support a strong LinkedIn profile, you need a strong network.  When it comes to building a network, you can pitch as well as catch.  This means that you shouldn’t rely only upon the invitations that you receive; you should proactively send invitations to those with whom you would like to be connected.

A LinkedIn network works like a big circle, with you in the middle.  First-degree connections are direct connections.  These are the people you have accepted and who have accepted you. Second-degree connections are friends of these friends.  Third-degree connections are friends of second-degree connections.  Your level of visibility into third-degree connections is limited, and a request to connect must be routed through the second-degree connection that controls the relationship.

“The quality of your network is important,” said Nugent.  “If you accept too many random invitations, your network, although large, may not be sufficiently useful.  If you accept (and send) too few invitations, you won’t be able to use the database as it was designed.

“Before accepting any invitation,” said Nugent, “ask yourself if this person is potentially a client or a source for the kind of work you really want to do. Strive for balance between the quantity and the quality of the invitations you accept.”

When vetting an invitation, check out the inviter’s profile.  Is the invitation from a real and (apparently) respectable individual?  Does the inviter have quality contacts that might prove valuable?  Does the inviter have a large number of contacts?  Did the inviter include a personal note with the invitation?  “Rely on these factors to determine if it makes good sense to connect,” said Nugent.

When sending out your own invitations, start with your existing contact list.  Include your firm’s partners, associates and staff; members of professional, business and industry groups that you belong to; and referral sources, clients and friends.

“Never allow your network to stagnate,” said Nugent.  “It should grow continuously.  When you meet a new contact, follow up within 48 hours with an invitation to connect on LinkedIn instead of (or in addition to) an email or a written note.  To facilitate this tactic among those you meet, consider including your LinkedIn address on your business card.”

Using LinkedIn for Research

“A well-crafted LinkedIn network is like a finely tuned sports car,” said Nugent.  “It’s really a waste if you just let it sit in the garage.  You should take it out for a spin as often as possible.  The more you ‘drive’ LinkedIn, the more you’ll discover its usefulness -- and the more you’ll realize what a powerful tool it can be on a daily basis.”

Your LinkedIn network is essential when conducting pre-interaction due diligence.  “You can search your network in order to find out useful information about prospects, their companies, clients, competitors, consultants, referral partners, media sources and employees,” said Nugent.  “The quality of your results will be determined by the quality of your contacts and the size of your network.

“LinkedIn can help provide answers to many important questions,” said Nugent.  “These include who is the right person to talk to in a particular organization?  What can I discover about this person prior to our meeting?  Who else is on their team?  Who might be able to provide me with background or an introduction?”

LinkedIn’s “advanced search” capability allows you to refine a search by relationship, location, current company, industry, past company, school and language.  Search can be further narrowed by groups, years of experience, function, seniority level, interests, company size, Fortune ranking and date joined.

Lawyers who want expanded search capabilities and additional functionality can try a premium membership on a monthly basis rather than sticking with the basic free membership.  However, the free membership provides plenty of power for most LinkedIn users.

“In just ten years, LinkedIn has gone from being a novelty embraced by techies to a must-have marketing tool for all professionals who hope to compete in today’s marketplace,” said Nugent. “By creating a strong profile and a robust network, and by being an active user, any lawyer can vastly enhance his or her online visibility and reputation.”

Janet Ellen Raasch is a writer, ghostwriter, copyeditor and blogger at Constant Content Blog who works closely with professional services providers – especially lawyers, law firms, legal consultants and legal organizations – to help them achieve name recognition and new business through publication of newsworthy and keyword-rich content for the web and social media sites as well as articles and books for print. She can be reached at (303) 399-5041 or jeraasch@msn.com. 

Social media: The secret weapon for promoting your firm's services

If you have hesitated putting yourself on Social Media websites, read this guest blog post from Lead Generation Lab.

Okay, so it’s not so secret. But why are so few law firms maximizing on the incredible benefits of social media for marketing their services?

It’s simple. Lawyers and social media just don’t mix well together. But with today’s online social trends, it’s about time law firms should conquer that social media dragon. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn give you that ability to reach out to hundreds of individuals and potential clients at the same time.

Forums, blogs, and video sites also give you the chance to interact personally and give helpful advice that will establish you as a thought leader in your area of expertise.

Here are other reasons why you should jump on over to the social bandwagon:

  • Websites that cater to business people and professionals attracts thousands of people daily. Take for example LinkedIn, it has over 200 million registered users with 35% of those visiting the site daily! Even if just 1% of that can see your posts, that’s 2 million people and potential clients!
  • It is the fastest way to promote your website. You could have the greatest law firm website in the world that has complete attorney profiles, list of cases and former clients, and full contact details but it’s not getting as much traffic as you want. Why? Because people these days no longer surf the web as much as they used to. They search for something, they avail the service, and that’s it. Being on social media marketing ensures that you can reach out to more people, and at the same time tell these people that there’s someone behind that company name that actually reaches out and interacts with them.
  • Everybody’s on social media. Well not really, but consider the latest statistic that says social media has overtaken porn as the number one activity on the net. Now that’s saying something, isn’t it? (http://youtu.be/QUCfFcchw1w)

There is no doubt at all that any marketing strategy should involve social media. But law firms should be careful, as abuse of social media can have its consequences too. Every post on social sites should focus more on marketing and less on actual cases, current and otherwise, to avoid possible legal problems.

Just remember that when it comes to social media, as with any other marketing platform, too much of a good thing is a bad thing.

 

About Lead Generation Lab:

The Lead Generation Lab (LGL) team represents the most comprehensive and integrated group of Performance TV professionals under one roof in Australia – Creatives, Copywriters, Strategists, Data Analysts, Media Buyers, TV Editors, CGI animators, Producers and Client Service Managers. 

How Not to Get Addicted to Social Media

I recently came across an insightful article that can apply to any of us in this information (overload) age. The original location of the article in on the Longhorn Leads  website on July 16th.


In a world that seems to be saturated with social media use, it can be difficult to recognize the very blurry line between normal usage and dependence. Much like drugs or alcohol, social media can become a real addiction for those that are prone to compulsive behavior. Maintaining a normal level of connectivity with the people on your friends list without becoming so fixated on those sites that you begin to miss out on face-to-face interaction is possible, but it requires a certain level of discipline and the ability to objectively appraise your own level of social media usage.

While a social media addiction isn’t likely to cause the physical destruction that comes with substance abuse or alcoholism, it can very easily become an impediment to living a normal, productive life. There are very real repercussions stemming from behavioral addictions which can dramatically impact the life of not only an addict, but also those around them. These tips can help you spot a budding addiction and cut it off at the pass, as well as address the issue with loved ones that are becoming unhealthily fixated on the Internet and social networking sites, in particular.

Keep Your Network Manageable

When you see the number next to your list of friends growing, it can be a very exciting and fulfilling affirmation of your popularity and desirability. After all, if so many people have sent or favorably responded to friend requests, you must be a sought-after person. Still, a cumbersome friends list means that you’ll eventually be bogged down with updates, and simply staying abreast of the changes documented in your newsfeed can become  a full-time job. The first step to staving off a social media dependency is to keep your friends list at a realistic, manageable level. You can’t possibly stay on top of the big events and random thoughts of a thousand people while remaining productive and active in real life. Don’t approve every friend request you get, and don’t send requests out to people that you don’t have an actual, real-life connection to. This will help ensure you’re not spending valuable time congratulating the engagement of a relative stranger or liking the updates of a celebrity you’ll never meet.

Learn How Filtering Lists Work, and Use Them

If you use your social media account as a professional networking tool, you’ll have to add people that you don’t have a personal relationship with in order to expand your reach. There are filtering options built in to all the major social networking sites that will allow you to separate your contacts into more manageable lists. In addition to saving you time and limiting the amount of energy you pour into a social networking site, these lists can also help you ensure that the content you share is visible only to relevant contacts. Your business acquaintances won’t be looking at your family vacation photos, and  your parents won’t be reading your work interactions.

Pare Your Networking Site List Down

There are a plethora of social networking sites on the Internet, all with what seems to be a specific purpose. You can easily spend hours between four or five sites with which you have an account, feeding the beginnings of a social media addiction. Instead of maintaining profiles all over the web, try to limit the number of sites you use. When you can check all of your updates and interact in a reasonable amount of time, you won’t be roped in to spending hours on separate sites. It’s also easy to lose track of just how much time you’re spending on social media collectively when the usage is broken up between several sites. If you spend two hours a day using four separate sites, you’re effectively putting in a full day’s work, just browsing your social networks! You may not notice hours spent on several sites like you would if you spent six straight hours on Facebook alone.

Use Blocking Apps and Timers

If you run an Internet browser that allows apps, plugins and extensions, peruse the Productivity section for functions that will periodically block “time wasting” websites. When you’re forced to disable a plugin before logging on to your Twitter account, you’re more likely to think twice about how much time you’re investing in your online social life that could be spent on a real, in-the-flesh interaction or two.

Be Realistic and Objective

It’s never easy to be honest with yourself about destructive habits, especially those that have become compulsive. Still, it pays to be realistic about the level of dependency you have on social media and networking sites, especially if your friends and loved ones have commented on your excessive usage. While it can be difficult to notice a gradually growing dependence, it’s wise to know the signs of behavioral addiction and to be able to recognize them, both in yourself and in those around you.

Less Than Half of Social Media Users Believe Online Activity Can Be Held Against Them in Court

Press Release dated today.

NEW PROVIDENCE, N.J. (July 30, 2013) – Social media users beware: Before you share a photo or check into a restaurant – would you be comfortable having those posts reviewed in a court of law? A recent survey from Lawyers.com finds that many people are unaware that their social media activity can have legal repercussions.

 

“Our society’s inclination to tweet, post and share everything about our personal lives can be fun – but it can also lead to legal trouble,” said Larry Bodine, Esq., Editor-in-Chief of Lawyers.com. “Our survey shows that most people are unaware that their online ‘digital trail’ can and will be used against them in legal situations, despite privacy settings or deleted posts. Social media users don’t even need to post evidence of illegal activity: If a ‘check-in’ or an Instagram places a defendant somewhere they shouldn’t have been, or claim not to have been, it impacts a case. Social media activity can absolutely be subpoenaed.”

 

According to the survey:

Less than half of social media users believe that what they post can be held against them in a court.

  • 46% of Facebook users
  • 44% of YouTube users
  • 38% of Twitter users
  • 32% of Instagram users
  • 25% of Vine users

 

Younger social media users are savvier on the topic. They are almost twice as likely to believe that what they post on social media can be held against them in a court of law:

 

 

 

Social Media Users Age 18-34

Social Media Users Over 55

Facebook

60%

33%

YouTube

62%

28%

Twitter

53%

25%

Instagram

46%

19%

Vine

32%

18%

 

 

Social media users with higher incomes were more likely to believe that what they post can be held against them:

 

 

Household Income Under $25k

Household Income Over $75k

Facebook

41%

60%

YouTube

36%

58%

Twitter

32%

51%

Instagram

22%

46%

Vine

18%

37%

 

Social media users with higher levels of education were more inclined to believe that what they post can be held against them:

 

 

High School or Less

College Degree or Higher

Facebook

39%

64%

YouTube

37%

63%

Twitter

29%

60%

Instagram

23%

50%

Vine

19%

38%

For more information, please visit www.Lawyers.com.

 

Methodology

A total of 1,001 interviews were conducted from April 4-8, 2013, collected from TeleNation, the Ipsos telephone omnibus survey. TeleNation is a nationally representative study, including both landline and cell phone interviews; interviews were conducted in both English and Spanish. Qualified respondents were U.S. adults age 18 and over. Data were weighted to reflect Current Population Survey statistics on age within gender, U.S. Census region, market size, education and race/ethnicity.

About Lawyers.com

Lawyers.comis a top-cited online legal resource that provides consumers and small business professionals the information they need to learn about the law, ask questions/get answers, read timely legal articles and find the right legal team for their legal issue. With information about more than 1.2 million lawyers and firms, Lawyers.com has the most attorneys with a trusted lawyer rating or review, and annually reaches nearly 34 million unique users.

The Results are in: Majority of Consumers Use Social Media When Searching for Attorneys

The Rainmaker Institute recently commissioned a survey by The Research Intelligence Group to find out how consumers use social media in their search for an attorney. Read about the details of the survey at Survey Says Majority of Consumers Use Social Media When Looking for Lawyers.

 

 

New Study Reveals Social Media Use Is Now Mainstream for In-House Lawyers

Today's post is a press release that reveals which social media outlets are the most popular, therefore most important to utilize.


 

LinkedIn, blogs by fellow lawyers and Wikipedia are among the tools most frequently used by in-house counsel in their professional lives, according to a new survey released today by communications firm Greentarget, consulting firm Zeughauser Group and InsideCounsel magazine.

 

In-house attorneys use social media more than ever, for everything from building professional networks to consuming substantive content to conducting business and industry research.

 

This survey, referenced with the hashtag #ICSurvey on Twitter and represented visually by an infographic, suggests that many legal marketers are not yet making full use of the channels and platforms that can effectively reach the primary buyers of legal services. But it also affirms the wisdom of law-firm marketers who take an integrated, content-centric approach to incorporating digital platforms into their communications strategies, treating them as an extension of their thought leadership efforts.

 

The In-House Counsel New Media Engagement Survey, conducted for the first time in 2010, measures the changing perceptions, attitudes and social media usage behaviors of in-house lawyers and their impact on business development efforts. Earlier iterations of the survey are now hosted athttp://insidecounselsurvey.com

 

“The survey results suggest, in no uncertain terms, that the convergence of digital and traditional media is fueling the continued use of social media among the in-house bar,” says John Corey, president and founding partner of Greentarget. “Our 2013 survey makes it crystal clear — as evidenced by the sustained prominence of LinkedIn and attorney-authored blogs, the growth in mobile consumption of news and a continuation of the ‘invisible user’ trend — that in-house lawyers are using social media as part of their daily routines.”

 

The Highlights:

  • New media use is now mainstream. The percentage of respondents who say they do not use new media has plummeted from 43 percent in 2010 to just 27 percent today.
  • LinkedIn is still the “serious” social network. Sixty-seven percent of in-house counsel used LinkedIn for professional reasons during the past week, and 40 percent used it during the past 24 hours. It remains the most frequently used platform for professional reasons.
  • Attorney-authored blogs are popular and trusted. Respondents say they read blogs by attorneys as often as they read blogs by professional journalists, and more than half (53 percent) say well-executed blogs influence hiring decisions.
  • The “invisible users” trend is accelerating. Although social networks are designed to promote online engagement, most respondents (74 percent) are using social media in a listen-only mode versus commenting on posts and participating in discussions—up from 68 percent who identified themselves as invisible users in 2012.
  • Use of mobile is prevalent. Fifty-three percent of survey respondents read business news on their smartphones daily, while 39 and 23 percent, respectively, use tablets and mobile apps for news every day.
  • Wikipedia is emerging for business-oriented research. Sixty-five percent of respondents say they use Wikipedia to conduct company and industry research, up from 51 percent in 2012. This is one of the more significant jumps in the year-over-year data.
  • Online video is largely unexploited. Many respondents report that they are watching online video from law firms, but they are doing so infrequently.
  • Peer-driven rankings lack influence. Despite the energy and resources that law firms continue to invest in peer-driven rankings, they have minimal impact on the opinions of outside lawyers or hiring decisions, the survey data suggests.

 

To download a summary of the research report, click here. For more information, contact John Corey at jcorey@greentarget.com or 312-252-4100.

LegalTechNY Discussion: Barriers to Social Media Adoption

At LegalTechNY, Steve Mann, chief marketing officer of the Research & Litigation Solutions business at LexisNexis, posed this question to Stephen Fairley, chief executive officer of The Rainmaker Institute and myself: If we have passed the tipping point for firms to use social media, why are so many firms reluctant to dive in?

 

 

FREE RECORDING: Ethics for Online Legal Marketing Webinar

Recently, Jay Butchko, Director of Retention and Acquisition Web Visibility Solutions,  co-hosted a webinar titled "Ethics Essentials for Successful Online Legal Marketing." 

Find out what's legal and what's not with real-life examples of online law firm marketing that violate ethics rules, and how to avoid repeating them.

There is no cost to download this webinar, focused on strategies to adhere to Rules of Professional Conduct. Learn to use these essential best practices — and apply them to your own marketing strategy.

Click here to access the recording.

Google+ for Businesses

This post has two parts.  Part one is an inforgraphic that my colleague, Stephen Fairley, shared on The Rainmaker Blog that explains 7 benefits Google+ provides for business. Part two is a video that explains the benefits of using Google+ instead of Facebook.  This can be particularly beneficial for businesses.  Although I would counter, using both gets your business out in social media more fully, which translates into more business.

Fairley states: "Google+ is one of those social media networks that many attorneys are still not sure what to do with...but with more than 500 million members now making it the fastest growing social media site ever, it’s worth your time and attention.

The following video answers the all important question: Facebook or Google+? 

 

 

 

Tomorrow(!) LexisNexis Marketing Experts to Host LegalTech Social Media Panel

Leading experts in law firm marketing from LexisNexis® will be among the participants in a featured panel at LegalTech New York 2013, the number-one annual legal technology event in the world.

The session, "Taming the Wild West of Social Media: The Secrets of Social Media Success in the Legal Profession," will be held on Tuesday, January 29, from 2:00 to 3:15 PM at the Hilton New York in midtown Manhattan.

The panelists for the session are:

  • Larry Bodine, Esq., editor in chief of Lawyers.comSM andmartindale.com®;
  • Steve Mann, chief marketing officer of LexisNexis; and
  • Stephen Fairley, chief executive officer of The Rainmaker Institute.

While it may seem like the Wild West at times, social media does in fact have a very real role to play in both the business and practice of law. According to the 2012 Attorney Selection Research Study by The Research Intelligence Group (TRiG), 26 percent of American consumers used one of the major social media sites when gathering information about a legal issue and more than one in five (22 percent) said they turned to a social media site to actually find a lawyer they felt might be able to help them with their legal need.

The LegalTech panel discussion will explore:

  1. The state of social media in the legal industry today and an update to guide attendees through the year ahead;
  2. New and improved social media best practices in specific online channels (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogging, etc.); and
  3. The various ethical and legal considerations about which law firms must be aware, including an update of key decisions and guidance issued by various state bar associations.

CLE credits are available — up to 1.5 general CLE credits depending on the state. 

If you can't make it to LegalTech feel free to ask questions, comment or just follow us on Twitter using #LNsocial.