LinkedIn for Lawyers: Maximizing your Profile, Connections and Participation

I’ll be presenting a webinar with Dennis Kennedy, my co-author on the LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers books on July 11, 2017 from noon- 1 p.m. Eastern. The webinar is sponsored by Bloomberg BNA and the ABA Law Practice Division.

This program will help lawyers make the most of their online professional networking through LinkedIn by focusing on the three fundamental building blocks of LinkedIn: Profile, Connections and Participation. You will learn to create a robust dynamic profile, build your connections, use search tools for research and to enhance your network, monitor your network with ease, optimize your settings for privacy concerns, use LinkedIn effectively in the hiring process, and develop a LinkedIn strategy to grow your legal network, all while getting up to speed on features and the new changes recently implemented by LinkedIn.

This program brings something for everyone, from brand-new users of LinkedIn to those who have had a Profile for years. Whether you’re a brand-new associate, have just started your own practice, or you’ve been in practice for years and already have a robust network, the strategies in this program will help you use LinkedIn to your best advantage.

LinkedIn Makes BIG Changes: What Lawyers Need to Know

Dennis Kennedy, my co-author on LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers, and I will be presenting a webinar with the ABA Law Practice Division on June 14, 2017 from 1-2:30 p.m. Eastern discussing the big changes LinkedIn has made with its new user interface this year, and what it means for lawyers using LinkedIn.

This program will walk you through the changes to LinkedIn, reorient you to what is available and how to find the features lawyers use the most, let you know what has been eliminated, and show you how to use LinkedIn’s new interface to your best advantage based on your individual goals and objectives.
This program is sponsored by the Law Practice Division, the ABA Center for Professional Development, and the ABA Young Lawyers Division.
  • List Price:$195.00
  • ABA Member Price:$150.00
  • Sponsor Member Price:$95.00

[Infographic] Six Ways to Jumpstart Your LinkedIn Network

Is your LinkedIn network working for you?

In 2016, Dennis Kennedy, my co-author on LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers, and I wrote a two-part post on LinkedIn about how lawyers can reinvigorate their LinkedIn networks. That post was subsequently combined into one post on Law Technology Today.

As we say in the article, it’s usually best to send personalized invitations to connect and to always think strategically about who you want to connect with and why, as well as what might motivate that person to want to connect with you. But we also talk about some ways to add a lot of LinkedIn connections quickly at those times when that makes strategic sense for your practice.

We discuss these six ways to expand your LinkedIn network, whether you’re brand-new to LinkedIn or you’ve had a Profile for a number of years:

  1. Uploading your contacts/address book to LinkedIn to make connecting with those you already know in the “real world” easier
  2. Sending personalized invitations – your goal is to get the other person to accept your invitation to connect, so invite wisely!
  3. Using Groups to identify and reach out to potential new (targeted) connections
  4. Connecting with fellow alumni from your college or law school
  5. Searching 2nd level connections
  6. Using LinkedIn’s “People You May Know” suggestions

Although some things have changed since we wrote the initial piece because LinkedIn changed the user interface, the main ideas remain the same – you may just need to click in a different place to find what you’re looking for.

For example, now you’ll click Continue under add personal contacts on the left side of the page under My Network to upload your address book. And LinkedIn no longer provides the radio buttons to choose how you know someone when sending an invitation to connect. Find Alumni is no longer an option under the My Network menu, but you can still connect with fellow alumni by searching for your school and then clicking the See Alumni button.

You can find Part 1 of the article here (on my LinkedIn Profile) and Part 2 here (on Dennis’ LinkedIn Profile). Or check out this great infographic the folks at Venngage made for us for a quick visual reference:

Expand Your LinkedIn Network with Legal Ease Consulting

Shaping Your Narrative – Online Reputation Management

In this ABA TECHSHOW session, Gyi Tsakalakis and I will be discussing online reputation management–when consumers need a hotel or a restaurant, they turn to online rating services to find the best. When prospective legal clients need a lawyer, more and more are now turning to the web to see which lawyers rate the best and which ones fail the test. It may sound absurd but you need to start worrying about what others are saying about you and your practice online. This session will review various online attorney review sites, discuss ways to leverage positive reviews in your online marketing, and how to deal with those nagging negative reviews. We’ll also cover the relevant ethics rules.

LinkedIn’s Next Level – Getting More Return on Your Networking

Come join Dennis Kennedy and I at the ABA TECHSHOW 2015 for LinkedIn’s Next Level – Getting More Return on Your Networking, an advanced-level program for LinkedIn users.
You’ve already mastered the basics of LinkedIn: you’ve set up your LinkedIn account and filled in your Profile; you’re sending and accepting invitations and using LinkedIn to keep up with your professional network. So what’s the next step to make LinkedIn your powerhouse networking tool for your law practice? This session will show you how you can take advantage of the advanced and updated features of LinkedIn using the three building blocks of LinkedIn: Profiles, Connections, and Participation.

LinkedIn for Lawyers: Reloaded ABA Center for Professional Development

This program was presented live on April 2, 2015, but is available for video download.

Panelists:
Dennis M. Kennedy, President, DennisKennedy.com, LLC, Saint Louis, MO
Allison C. Shields, President, Legal Ease Consulting, Inc., Mount Sinai, NY

Like many lawyers (and 225 million other LinkedIn users), you may have a profile on LinkedIn, but do you really know what to do with it? Beyond putting up an online “résumé” and adding connections to your professional network, do you know all the ways that LinkedIn can help you in your career? In this essential program on LinkedIn for Lawyers, learn how to leverage the world’s largest professional network to boost your own practice and profile! Whether you are a new or long-term user, this CLE program will give you helpful instructions and useful strategies for taking advantage of all of LinkedIn’s features, including navigating LinkedIn’s new interface, maximizing your profile, and connecting with referral sources, former classmates, former practice colleagues, peers, experts, and others, in effective, mutually beneficial ways.

After attending this practical session, you will be able to:

Understand the many ways lawyers use LinkedIn and find the way(s) that work best for you

Know the “Three Essential Building Blocks” of LinkedIn and how to use them to get the most value for the time you spend on LinkedIn

Design and optimize your LinkedIn profile to create a strong professional social media presence

Engage LinkedIn in the job search, recruiting, and interviewing processes

Develop focused, strategic approaches to networking with others on LinkedIn

Use powerful advanced features of LinkedIn that many users are not even aware of

Take advantage of new features (such as Endorsements), interface changes, and mobile applications to take your use of LinkedIn to a new level

Boost your professional presence and establish your niche among the 225+ million members of the LinkedIn community
This video download includes an ebook co-authored by the speakers, LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers, (2nd Ed.), for a special discounted price of $25 (50% savings!). This package is excluded from ABAValue Pass.

Nassau County Women’s Bar Association–LinkedIn for Lawyers

This program features an informal discussion about LinkedIn, including:

  • What LinkedIn is and why lawyers should learn about it
  • How lawyers can maximize the visibility of their Profile on LinkedIn
  • Making effective connections on LinkedIn
  • Beyond profiles and invitations – how lawyers can maximize their use of LinkedIn
  • Ethical issues with LinkedIn use

Avoiding Ethical Problems in Online Legal Marketing

This live program is now available on CD or DVD from the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. The program offers a full 4 ethics credits – enough ethics for your biennial registration.

This important program on using social media to market your practice without falling into any ethical quagmires.

 

The program features top speakers on social media ethics who will address avoiding ethical pitfalls within your website, blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook as well as best practices.

We will also focus on the application of advertising rules to LinkedIn, specifically:
• NYS Rule 7.1: False or misleading statements
• Disclaimers on LinkedIn profiles (Rule 7.1 and 7.3)
• Solicitation (Rule 7.3)
• Specialization and “expertise” (Rule 7.1 and 7.3, NYSBA Opinion 972)
• LinkedIn Skills and Endorsements – reciprocal recommendations (Rule 7.2) and other issues
• Client recommendations on LinkedIn
• Confidentiality – what you can and cannot say about clients and cases on LinkedIn; confidentiality issues in communicating with clients/potential clients electronically (Rule 1.6)
• Unauthorized practice of law and inadvertent attorney-client relationships (Rules 1.18 and Rule 5.5)
• Who lawyers can and should connect to on social media

There is also be a discussion on the use of Facebook, including:
•“Friend” requests – which requests should and should not be accepted
• What ethical issues are there when “friending”
• Ethical considerations in researching juror’s, parties’, and witness’s social media presence
• What can and can’t attorneys advise clients about incriminating social media postings

The program also includes comments from the Grievance Committee concerning the Committee’s perspective as to how attorneys are getting into trouble with advertising rules using social media.

FACULTY:
Chair: Annamarie Bondi-Stoddard
Pegalis & Erickson LLC

Fred Cohen, Esq.
Founder, Amicus Creative Media, LLC

Stacey Sharpelletti, Esq.
Assistant Counsel to the Grievance Committee for the 10th Judicial District

Allison Shields, Esq.
President, Legal Ease Consulting

Aaron Zerykier, Esq.
Farrell Fritz, PC
Secretary of the Social Media Committee, Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the NYSBA

A Simple Social Media Plan for Lawyers

A Think social media is too difficult or time consuming? Here’s a basic social media plan that only requires about 1 1/2 hours a month – although you can expand and contract it as necessary:

ABA Women Rainmakers Mid-Career Workshop

The ABA Women Rainmakers Mid-Career Workshop is November 7-8, 2014 at the US Grant in San Diego, California.

I’ll be presenting on Lawyering in the Digital Age, Saturday, November 8 at 9:45 a.m., but there are many other great programs that comprise the workshop, including sessions on:

  • Gender bias in the workplace
  • Networking
  • Marketing and Leadership Development
  • Civility and Professionalism
  • Career Development
  • How to Sell Yourself

…and more.

Visit www.shopaba.org/WR2014 or call 1.800.285.2221 to learn more.

How to Make LinkedIn Work for Your Practice: MyCase Webinar

In this webinar, hosted by MyCase, I’ll show you how to use LinkedIn effectively for your practice. We’ll cover:

  1. Ensuring that your Profile “speaks to” your intended audience
  2. Using LinkedIn Updates wisely
  3. Why law firms should consider LinkedIn Company Pages and Showcase Pages and how to use them
  4. Making your connections work for you
  5. Finding Groups that make sense on LinkedIn

Improve Your Marketing in One Step: Focus on Your Clients

Focus on clientsI recently received a question from a blog subscriber, “If I did one single thing to improve my marketing what would it be?” My answer: focus on the client. Get excruciatingly clear on who your best clients are and why. Create an ideal client profile so that you can easily recognize potential clients who may fit into this category, and so that you can describe your ideal clients succinctly and consistently. This will help you educate your referral sources and help them to spot your ideal clients so that they immediately know who to refer to you.

Too many lawyers make the mistake of trying to target too broad an audience for fear of turning business away. But instead of attracting more clients, a poorly identified ideal client results in a watered down message that loses its impact and fails to elicit a response.

It is only when you have a good picture of who your ideal clients are that you can move forward to determine what is important to them, where to find them, how to attract them, how best to serve them, what processes and procedures need to be in place, which employees will work best with those clients, and more.

Who are your best clients?

Review your past and present client lists. Which clients did you work best with? Which were the most lucrative for the firm? Which were the best sources of additional business or referrals? Which clients were the most difficult? Which ones failed to pay or did not respect your advice? Which ones brought you matters that didn’t fit into your strengths? Make a list of the characteristics of good and bad clients.

The value of a client isn’t measured solely by the size of the case or the size of your fee. Valuable clients can be those who have realistic expectations, respect your advice or want the best service. Perhaps your ideal client is one who works with you on a case – or perhaps it’s just the opposite. Maybe you work best with clients who leave you alone to work your magic. Maybe your best clients are simply those who will be ‘raving fans’ and generate lots of referrals for your practice.

Once you have a preliminary idea of what a ‘high value’ client means to you, they will be easier to spot. This takes some in-depth work, but it is well worth it. When you become skilled at defining and identifying high-value clients, you waste less time and energy on lower value clients that sap your energy or cost you money and time.

Change how you talk about your practice

Listen to how most lawyers talk about their practices (or read their websites, social media posts and other marketing materials): it’s all about the lawyer, rather than being about the client. This is a mistake. Clients don’t care about you – they care about themselves and their problems. Why not change the focus of your marketing to be more in alignment with the clients’ interests?

Your marketing message should create an association for the people you are speaking to – either so that they identify themselves as your ideal clients or so that they immediately think of someone else who needs your services.

Instead of focusing your marketing message on you, focus on who you serve and what they struggle with.

Calling your clients by name

Think of your marketing message as a way of calling the name of your potential clients. Rather than making a general statement (“Hey, you!”), identifying someone by name (“Hey, Bob!”) will get their attention much easier. Bob is tuned into that information because it’s very specific to him. You want your marketing to do the same for your clients. You want them to think you’re talking directly to them – because you are.

In order to call your clients by name, you need to be intimately familiar with who those clients are. The better you know the clients you’re seeking to attract, the better your marketing efforts will be. Creating a client profile is a good way to develop that knowledge.

Keep in mind that whether your practice focuses on individuals or businesses, all of your clients are people. If you have a business to business practice, you’ll want to focus on the decision-makers – the human beings you need to connect with in order to get their work.

When creating your ideal client profile, remember that you may have a different “ideal client” for different for different areas of practice or services you provide. Dig deep. Some areas to explore include the four Ps: Psychographics, Patterns for choosing legal services, client Problems, and your Positioning.

Psychographics

Psychographics are one of the most powerful ways to connect with your clients, and also one of the most frequently overlooked. You may find that your clients are actually very different demographically, but psychographically, they have a very similar profile.

Psychographics, while less tangible, are much more accurate in predicting which people or businesses will relate best to your particular message, method or solution. Psychographics include things like your client’s mission, philosophy or values, their reputation in the industry or community, their management or communication style, integrity or litigation history. For example, do you prefer clients who are more collaborative and settlement-oriented or those who want to fight or pursue litigation regardless of the cost?

Psychographics include any belief or value that your clients strongly identify with – and they don’t necessarily have to relate directly to their business or to their legal matter.

Patterns

An important part of profiling your ideal client is determining how they choose legal services. Knowing that your clients are more likely to make the decision to hire a lawyer at certain times of the year, as the result of specific triggering events, or upon receipt of specific types of information can help you plan your services and your marketing strategy. Learn why your clients hire you, what kinds of service providers they prefer and what similar services they have used, among other issues.

Problems

One of the most effective ways to connect with clients is by identifying what problems they face. Everyone wants their problems to be solved, and if you can identify what the client perceives their problem to be (as opposed to what you think their problem is, or what lawyers generally think the problem is), you’ll get the potential client’s attention quickly – and start gaining their trust. Think about not only the problems themselves, but also about the symptoms of the problems that your clients commonly experience, and how clients typically describe them.

Use the language your clients use when crafting your marketing messages, writing copy for your website, posting on social media, or discussing what you do at a cocktail party. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes. If you can do that, your marketing will automatically stand out from the rest of the lawyers in your area and it will help you build relationships.

What is it that your clients want or need? How do they talk about it? Is there an underlying result your clients wish to achieve, even if they don’t articulate it? What are the underlying emotions your clients typically experience when facing the kinds of legal problems you solve?

Positioning

Once you’ve analyzed the problems, ascertained the values and goals, and determined when and how your ideal clients choose legal services, you need to get your message in front of the right people, whether they are the clients themselves, their trusted advisors, or other referral sources. Your client profile should help you to position yourself in front of the right people if it includes an analysis of the places your ideal clients and referral sources gather.

What do your ideal clients read? What do they watch or listen to? Who influences them? What kinds of advisors do they seek? Which websites do they visit? Do they participate in social media? Where and how? Are they members of specific groups on LinkedIn, for example? Where and how do your ideal clients seek out information? What professional associations do they belong to? What types of events do they attend? What causes do they care about?

If you don’t already know the answers to these questions, ask your best clients, or do some research on your existing clients or on individuals in your target market.

The client profile will help you to focus your marketing efforts, plan effective means of reaching your ideal clients, and develop methods to serve them better. The insight it provides can be invaluable for the future of your practice. But don’t create your ideal client profile and then put it away – it is important to revisit it regularly to keep it up to date.

ABA Law Practice Division Marketing Conference 2014

This year, I’ll be speaking on two separate panels as part of the ABA Law Practice Division Marketing Conference. Both panels will take place on Friday, May 2, 2014. On the first panel, I’ll be joined by legal marketing experts Kevin O’Keefe and Ernie Svenson, discussing social media. The second panel will be myself and Dee Schiavelli talking about how lawyers can maximize their LinkedIn presence.

ABA TECHSHOW 2014

ABA TECHSHOW 2014As always, TECHSHOW 2014 will be held in Chicago on March 27-29, 2014. I’ll be speaking in the “Social Media” track on March 27 on “Making Your Content Work for You on Social Media” and in the “How to” track on Friday, March 28 on How Lawyers can use LinkedIn. You can now see the full schedule of sessions at techshow.com, along with registration information, faculty bios and more.

LinkedIn Updates and Changes Every Lawyer Should Know

LinkedIn logoLinkedIn has been busy making even more changes to its platform lately. Here’s a summary of some of the changes and updates you should know about:

Skills and Endorsements

LinkedIn’s previously named “Skills and Expertise” section has been re-named “Skills and Endorsements” in part due to feedback LinkedIn received from lawyers who advised that many jurisdictions (including mine – New York) would not allow lawyers to complete any section under the title “expertise” without special certifications. The newly-named “Skills and Endorsements” section should cause less ethics headaches for lawyers. However, there are still cautions. To learn more about endorsements, check out my article on Law Technology Today, LinkedIn Endorsements 101.

Changes to LinkedIn Company Pages

In another article on Law Technology Today, I talked about LinkedIn Company Pages. That article gives a good overview of what lawyers can do with LinkedIn Company Pages for their law firms, but as of April 14, 2014, LinkedIn will be eliminating the Products and Services tab from LinkedIn Company Pages. It turns out that not too many users were taking advantage of this feature of Company Pages. In place of the information that used to be contained in the Products and Services tab, LinkedIn recommends two options. First, you can post Updates to your Company Page about your services. These Updates will appear both on your Page and in your followers’ LinkedIn feeds. You can even include video in your Updates. While this is one option, you may want to use this option for announcements of new services or initiatives, news or other timely items, rather than general descriptions of your practice areas and services.

Your other option is to use Showcase Pages to highlight specific services that your firm might offer. Showcase Pages were introduced by LinkedIn in late 2013 as a way to highlight specific products or services, or to allow businesses to reach specific audiences who might be interested in only a segment of the company’s offerings, rather than their general Company Page updates.

Essentially, Showcase Pages are sub-pages under your main law firm Company Page on LinkedIn, but they are dedicated to one individual service that you provide. Showcase pages can be helpful for law firms who have diverse practice areas and want to post different content to different audiences. As legal marketing expert Nancy Myrland noted in her post announcing Showcase Pages last year, Showcase Pages can also be a great way to institutionalize cross-selling, because all of the Showcase Pages link back to the main Company Page and to one another.

To find out how to drive traffic to your Company Page, you may want to read my post from the Legal Ease blog, “Driving Traffic to your Law Firm Company Page.” These concepts can be applied to your Showcase Pages as well.

LinkedIn Analytics

LinkedIn has been adding some tools within the platform to help you see how much attention your LinkedIn Profile, updates and Page are getting. For example, the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” feature of LinkedIn now gives you lots of information about the industries and locations of the people who have viewed your Profile, as well as information about how they found you (LinkedIn search, Google search, etc.) – even with a free account (although premium accounts provide even more information). In addition, at the bottom of the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” screen, LinkedIn will also give you suggestions about how you can garner more Profile views.

If you post Updates to your LinkedIn Profile, on your Home Page LinkedIn will provide you with information about how many views and likes your recent Updates have received under “Who’s Viewed Your Updates” in the right sidebar.

If you manage a Company Page for your firm, you’ll get Analytics (stats on the number of impressions, clicks, and interaction) and Page insights (Page views, unique visitors, page clicks).

Blocking Users

LinkedIn recently made some changes that will now allow you to block individual users on the platform. Simply go to the person’s Profile that you want to block and click the down arrow next to the blue button you see on their Profile and click on “block or report.” For more details, including what blocking means on LinkedIn, stay tuned for an upcoming post on Law Technology Today explaining how you can do it.