Don't let your profile stay unfinished. Completing your LinkedIn lawyer profile will help you leverage LinkedIn for marketing, networking, and referrals.
As the largest social network for professionals, LinkedIn gets serious attention from lawyers. They use it for marketing, networking, finding referrals, and sharing content. 78% of lawyers surveyed by the American Bar Association said their firms were on LinkedIn in 2016. Some estimates indicated that as many as 95% of all lawyers are currently on LinkedIn. But some lawyers need help with an important part of their LinkedIn strategy: completing their LinkedIn lawyer profile.
Filling out information in a LinkedIn lawyer profile seems easy enough upon first glance. You put a picture up, include your name and the firm you work for, write some basic information about your practice areas and start networking. But a lawyer’s profile needs to be filled out extensively to work for marketing purposes, and doing so can take more time than one might think.
Here are some quick tips for completing your LinkedIn lawyer profile:
Keep Keywords in Mind
LinkedIn is like a giant, searchable database of professional profile listings. When someone starts typing a query into the search bar, they immediately get suggestions for the listings that contain relevant search terms. Once they search, they’ll get a list of the most relevant profiles, job listings, and groups.
Keep keywords in mind while filling out your profile. Place keywords within the sections of your profile to increase your chances of showing up in search results. Use keywords for your practice areas, your job descriptions, and your location. There are sections dedicated to these topics, which we’ll go over shortly.
But first, let’s start at the top.
Use a Professional Profile Picture
Your profile picture appears at the top of your profile and will be included in every post you make on LinkedIn. According to LinkedIn, just having a profile picture makes your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed. It’s probably the most important part of your LinkedIn lawyer profile.
Your profile picture should be professional and it should actually look like you. You may be tempted to make yourself appear younger by using an older photo, but it could be misleading for someone who meets you after viewing your profile. Use a current picture and update it as you grow older and advance in your career.
If you don’t have a picture of yourself that was taken by a professional photographer, you may want to consider it. Having professional-grade photos isn’t only useful for your LinkedIn profile.
Create a Compelling Cover Photo
You may have noticed that some of the professionals on LinkedIn still use the generic cover photo that comes with their profile. They’re missing out on an opportunity to express themselves. Your cover photo should communicate something about your practice, your career, and your personal identity.
To obtain a cover photo, you can look through free stock photography, purchase one that you think is effective, or create one on your own. If you're an amateur (or professional) photographer, use one of your own photographs. If not, try creating a cover photo for your profile with one of the free tools available online.
Give Careful Thought to your Summary
After they look at your images, your name, and your job description, viewers will inevitably land on your summary. This is your chance to make a statement. Keep your keywords in mind when writing your summary, but try to focus on telling a story rather than listing off your accomplishments. Keep your summary concise enough to hold someone’s attention and write in the first person.
Go Deeper Into Your Experience
Anyone who moves beyond your pictures and your summary to the lower part of your profile is more interested in you than others, so it’s okay to go deeper into your experience. Provide a history of your career growth. Write descriptions of what you did in your previous positions and include a highlight about them.
LinkedIn makes it easy for people to see your prior experience and education without having to read too deeply, so you can’t hurt yourself by writing more. Your experience section is another rich area for keywords. Try to include keywords you think your potential clients or referral sources are searching for.
Don’t Neglect Your Skills and Accomplishments
The skills section is important for job hunters, but you can use it as a tool to give clients a more in-depth look at your practice areas. The skills you list also act as keywords in LinkedIn search, so be sure to include every skill that is relevant to your practice.
The reasoning behind filling out your accomplishments section shouldn’t be surprising. It’s the perfect opportunity to show off any awards and accolades you’ve received during your time as an attorney. Potential clients may not retain you just because you post accomplishments, but they do build trust.
Recommendations and endorsements are an ethical gray area in some states and among some legal experts, but they have the potential to serve as powerful marketing tools. Check with your firm and your state guidelines to determine if you can accept skill endorsements, testimonials, and recommendations from clients and colleagues.
Create a LinkedIn Company Page for Your Firm
If you are the partner of a firm, make sure your firm builds out its own LinkedIn Company Page. You can create a basic company page in 15 to 30 minutes. Log into your personal LinkedIn account and click on the “Work” tab in your navigation bar. At the bottom of the list, you’ll see the “Create a Company Page” button. Click it, and then follow the steps to get started.
Create a custom URL for your LinkedIn law firm page. Give your URL some thought. Keep it as close to your law firm’s name as possible. Create a company description. You may want to work with your partners on this, or you can use a description you’ve posted elsewhere, such as on your website. Assign administrators to your page. They’ll be able to manage content on the page, respond to inquiries, post jobs, and make changes as necessary.
Upload a cover photo and a profile photo. Most firms use their logo as their profile photo, but many firms neglect to upload a cover photo at all. Again, the cover photo on your LinkedIn Company Page is an opportunity to share your brand's identity, just like the one on your LinkedIn lawyer page. Create a custom cover photo to express your firm’s identity and stand out from your competitors.
When entering your company “specialties,” keep your clients in mind. Focus on your practice areas and consider your keywords, as they can influence traffic on your page. Once you’ve filled out every requisite field (Company Size, Operating Status, Year Founded, Location, etc.) you can click “Publish.”
What to Do with Your LinkedIn Company Page
Once you’ve created a Company Page, you can use it to share engaging content, list jobs, build a network and much more. Create a Showcase Page to spotlight your brand or highlight one of your initiatives. Use LinkedIn’s built-in analytics to keep track of your network. Use Career Pages to recruit new talent at your firm. Ensure there is a link back to your own website on your Company Page. LinkedIn acts as a new source of traffic for your website and a link can benefit your site’s SEO.
Complete Your LinkedIn Lawyer Profile
Creating a full LinkedIn lawyer profile is your first step towards leveraging LinkedIn for marketing, networking, and your referrals. Take the time you need to build your profile. It may be the first thing a potential client or referral source sees before they reach out. If you plan on using LinkedIn extensively for marketing and lead generation, all of your efforts will rest on the strength of your profile. So, make it count.