Ignoring LinkedIn Has Consequences

LinkedIn for lawyersOriginally posted in The National Law Journal on July 29, 2013

“What happens if I don’t clean my room?” my son, Taylor, recently asked me. He is fascinated by the concept of consequences. Just as children respond well to consequences, so do professionals. So instead of looking at the benefits of LinkedIn or the fact that, according to Greentarget Global LLC and Inside Counsel, 67 percent of in-counsel use it on a daily or weekly basis, let ‘s weigh the negative consequences of ignoring the site.

You may inadvertently ignore messages from important contacts. A law firm partner ran into a friend who was in-house counsel for a major company. She asked, “Why didn’t you ever respond to the message I sent you on Linked In last month?” He replied, “Why on earth would you send me a message on LinkedIn? I never check that!” Ignore all the invitations sent to you via LinkedIn, and you might miss messages from people you don’t want to alienate.

You may miss invitations. I helped a well-connected lawyer finish setting up a LinkedIn account. This person had only seven connections on Linkedin, but more than 100 outstanding invitations. For all they knew, she had clicked “ignore” or “I don’t know this person.” Your Google search results won’t convey your level of expertise or depth of experience. Most lawyers don’t realize the weight that search engines give to their LinkedIn profile. Google your name, and 74 percent of the time it will show up among the top three results and one-third of the time it will be No. 1, ahead of your law firm bio. If you have a poorly ­written, brief or nonexistent LinkedIn bio, you are sending a message to people who haven’t met you yet, and it isn’t a positive one. If you are a brilliant and successful lawyer, make sure your LinkedIn profile conveys that message.

You will miss the chance to be the connector. Many new users of LinkedIn don’t understand the value of connecting your high-value contacts. They worry about ­competitors sniping their contacts and stealing their ­business, so they “hide” their contacts and miss the opportunity to be the business equivalent of the matchmaker. Perhaps the most valuable feature of LinkedIn is the ability to see who knows whom. Let your clients know you would be glad to introduce them to anybody in your network.

Nothing will change in your practice. Many lawyers feel they are stuck in a rut. They have a book of business that has reached as high as it will go, or maybe it’s shrinking. They would do well to remember the words of Bruce Lee: “There are no limits. There are only plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” Jumping into LinkedIn with both feet will keep you from suffering the ­consequences mentioned above. You are a great lawyer; let ‘s make sure LinkedIn becomes an asset for you instead of a liability.


3 Responses to “Ignoring LinkedIn Has Consequences”

  1. It seems that Google + is becoming THE place to be for lawyer networking at the moment (at least, that’s what our social media manager is telling me these days). Do you have any data on how LinkedIn and Google + compare in terms of networking effectiveness as well as search engine attention? If you have limited time for social media and need to choose one or the other to invest in building a strong profile, which one would it be?

    • I’m sorry to say, that I must disagree.

      Google+ isn’t currently in my top 3 places I think Lawyers should be for social networking. Who would they network with there? Almost no clients are using Google+, even if they have an account there. I have yet to hear a single success story from a lawyers using Google+ to land a client. I’m sure they are out there, but Google+ just isn’t getting nearly the traffic by decision makers that LinkedIn is.

      Now, you mentioned networking, for which Google+ is near useless in my opinion.

      What it is not useless is the help Google+ gives with search and of course Google Authorship which allows your picture to be displayed with your content.

      I think having Google+ is worthwhile for lawyers, beyond that I’m not pushing lawyers to use Google+ as a networking tool, because I just haven’t seen the evidence that it is a good fit, unless you are trying to connect with a very unique type of buyer of legal services that uses Google+ more regularly. Maybe some types of entrepreneur in the tech space?

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