Published: 2014-03-11

Online Networking for Lawyers: How to Get More out of LinkedIn

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LinkedIn, the online networking site for our working selves, is closing in on 150 million members. Chances are good that you have set up a profile on LinkedIn, and that most of your colleagues, as well as clients, have a profile on the network too. But is that all you have done with LinkedIn? If you haven't explored the site lately, you might be missing some new features of LinkedIn that can help lawyers prosper. Put on your marketing hat and consider how these revamped areas of the site may help grow your business:

 Profile

A new feature allows you to add sections to your profile to reflect achievements and experiences. When you're in Edit Profile mode, click on the Add sections link. On the left side of the window that pops up you'll see a list of links to numerous sections and applications that you can preview and add to your profile, including apps for lawyer ratings and legal updates.

 Companies

Your clients and potential clients have been able to follow your firm on LinkedIn for a while now. This used to involve requests for notifications whenever the profile changed. LinkedIn is now like Facebook when it comes to company pages -- companies can share status updates, which followers see in their homepage news feed. People can comment on the post, "like"157 it, or share it with their own professional network. Status updates can be up to 500 characters long and can support URLs with multimedia.

You can choose who from your firm can post. Here's how: In the Overview tab of your company page, look for the Admin tools drop-down, and select Edit. Under Company Pages Admins, select either All employees with a valid email registered to the company domain, or Designated users only.

There is an Analytics tab of your company page that allows you to check the stats that appear on your posts about 24 hours after your status update goes live, to see what types of information and links create the most likes, comments and clicks.

 Groups

Under the Discussions tab, in addition to the ability to comment, you now have the ability to create a poll question. If you vote in a poll, you can elaborate further on your choice in the familiar comments area that appears once you have voted.

If you're curious about who's in the group and how active it is, look for the statistics dashboard. You can find it within any group in a Group Statistics box or by clicking the More... link in the horizontal menu, then selecting Group Statistics from the drop-down menu. On the dashboard, click through the horizontal menu for a summary, demographics, growth, and activity for the group.

 Events

A few months back LinkedIn overhauled their Events function. Events are accessible through a link off the top horizontal menu bar--click More for a drop-down menu, where you will see a link for Events. On your Events home page you see a frequently changing set of event recommendations based on your location, industry, and networks. If you're proactively looking for an event to attend, there is a full-featured events search, with controls to filter by industry, location, and time. A feature called Attendees you may want to meet shows up when you click on an event.