Blog/Podcast: Still Not Using LinkedIn? Here Are 5 Reasons Why You’ll Change Your Mind
With busy schedules and demanding clients, it’s easy to see why many lawyers let their LinkedIn profiles fall by the wayside (or why they never create an account in the first place). But the truth is that many lawyers have false ideas about the uses, time commitment and value of LinkedIn that prevent them from using the platform to its fullest potential.
Brynne Tillman, CEO of Social Sales Link, has dedicated her career to helping professionals grow their businesses by leveraging LinkedIn. She joined the Law Firm Marketing Catalyst podcast to bust the biggest LinkedIn myths and teach lawyers how to enhance the way they currently use the platform.
Myth #1: If you’re not going to be an active user, there’s no point in having a LinkedIn account.
Truth: While it’s true that you’ll get more out of LinkedIn the more you use it, having an infrequently used account is better than having no account at all. LinkedIn is your digital footprint. Almost everyone has a profile and it’s usually one of the top websites that comes up in a Google search for a person’s name. Frankly, it makes people uneasy if you don’t have one. People want to see your background and if nothing shows up, they’ll either assume you’re a technophobe or you have something to hide.
The caveat is that you shouldn’t have an account with a blank profile. You don’t have to post or even log in to LinkedIn every day, but you must have a profile with a photo and some information about you (education, current position, etc.). Having a blank profile is just as bad, if not worse, than no profile.
Myth #2: It doesn’t matter if your photo is on LinkedIn.
Truth: Seasoned attorneys tend to be more concerned about putting too much information and content into the digital world, but the fact is that people expect to see you online. At the very least, your LinkedIn profile should have a professional, recent headshot (not your law school graduation photo from 25 years ago, or a blurry candid shot of you). It’s a good investment to hire a photographer to take a photo of you that you don’t mind putting online.
Your profile should also include a branded banner image at the top with your firm’s logo. If your firm doesn’t already have an image you can use, ask if one can be created. Headshots and header photos should be mandatory for every lawyer in the firm, simply because if each lawyer’s profile looks different, it makes a poor impression on anyone looking at the firm’s company page.
Myth #3: Your LinkedIn profile is your online resume.
Truth: A LinkedIn profile is much more than just a resume—it’s a powerful networking tool and business resource. Although your LinkedIn profile may bear some resemblance to your CV, if that’s all it is, you won’t get much value out of it.
Your LinkedIn profile has several different sections you can use to your advantage. Your headline is a 120-character blurb that appears at the top of your profile and across the website. Most write something like “Attorney at ABC Firm,” but that doesn’t get prospective clients excited to talk to you. Instead, convince people to keep reading by using the “who you help, how you help them, why they should care” formula. This type of headline might look more like “Helping in-house counsel handle their legal tax overflow work so they’re freed up to do more important tasks.” That’s a headline that would catch any in-house attorney’s eye.
Your “About” section, which can be a few paragraphs long, should expand on your headline and focus on your prospects’ needs, rather than your work history. Finally, you can go into detail about your professional background in your “Experience” section, but don’t simply list every job duty you’ve ever had; include case studies and deliverables that demonstrate your skill.
Myth #4: LinkedIn is only for connecting with prospects.
Truth: Although LinkedIn is the perfect tool for identifying and connecting directly with prospects, that’s not all it’s good for. It’s also an excellent way to find referral sources and connect with people who have a sphere of influence you want to tap into. It’s all about leveraging your social proximity: who in your network can help you gain access to the people you want to do business with?
For example, LinkedIn can help you meet the strategic players in your clients’ world, such as their CPAs, financial advisors, realtors, vendors and other professionals that influence them. When you build relationships with people who are also selling to your target audience, it makes it so much easier to leverage those relationships to get introductions, and you can help them access your other clients as well. Even if you don’t want to engage with people through LinkedIn, it’s the best place to investigate and see who knows who you want to know.
Myth #5: Networking through LinkedIn will eat up your business development time.
Truth: LinkedIn actually saves you time, in part because your profile is working for you even when you’re sleeping. The internet is basically a 24/7 networking event and having a LinkedIn profile means that people can find you at all hours of the day and night, even if you’re not online.
Starting conversations with in-house counsel and targeted prospects on LinkedIn is also much quicker and easier than starting a conversation in real life, because you’re coming into it at a higher level of credibility. Your target can instantly see your mutual contacts, your experience, a bit of your personality and your interests by looking at your profile. They have a sense of who you are without you having to say a word. If you don’t currently have time to add LinkedIn to your calendar, you can repurpose some of your existing business development time into a LinkedIn strategy that may prove to be significantly more productive.