For those who have been practicing for decades, the word “networking” often evokes thoughts of attending meetings and events, or perhaps meeting other professionals for dinner and drinks. These networking techniques are, of course, still relevant. However the internet has opened up an entirely new world of methods that lawyers can take advantage of to help grow their network. LinkedIn is perhaps one of the most effective tools on the web for professionals, and it’s only growing in popularity. It’s also exceptionally easy to use, especially if you take the time to learn the site’s format.
Once you get past the basics of LinkedIn, it’s important to learn how to get the most out of using the site for networking purposes. Here are five tips that any attorney can use to his or her benefit.
1. Make It a Daily Habit
Anyone who owns their own company knows just how important it is to incorporate business development practices into their daily routine, and the same concept applies to networking. Instead of checking in on your LinkedIn account every once in a while, try to devote 10 to 15 minutes each morning reviewing your network, participating in group discussions and updating your profile. It’s a small chunk of your day that can actually make a huge difference in terms of how well you grow your network.
2. Craft the Perfect Headline
The headline that appears below your name on your LinkedIn profile may not seem exceptionally important at face value, but it can have a huge impact on how successfully you’re able to utilize the site for marketing purposes. Because this is the first thing that people will see (besides your name and photo), it’s your chance to make a true impression. You’ve got to think “marketing” when crafting your headline, yet avoid selling yourself too much.
3. Build Your Network Carefully
It can be tempting to sign into LinkedIn and connect with hundreds of people at a time. After all, the service certainly makes it easy enough to do so. When building your network, however, you should always be thinking, “quality over quantity.” Too many people in your network can be distracting, especially when you’re trying to build personal connections with each individual. Start small, and you can always build more connections over time.
4. Don’t Neglect Your Skills
One of the greatest things about LinkedIn is that it allows professionals to list specific skills that set you apart as an attorney from the competition. Neglecting filling out this portion of your profile won’t do you a single favor, nor will listing generic skills that just about everyone can claim fame to. Instead, take the time to isolate things that truly make you a professional in your field, and take a detailed approach to listing your skills. It might take you a bit of extra time, but the benefits will be well worth it.
5. Personalize Your Invitations
LinkedIn allows you to send out a generic invitation to anyone who might be a good fit in your network, which gets taken advantage of perhaps more than it should. The best way to build a proper connection with someone is to send out a personalized invitation. You might mention that you met the individual at a conference and felt as if you could benefit from working with one another, for example. The more personalized the invitation, the better your chances of making a successful connection will be.
LinkedIn isn’t going away anytime soon, and there’s never been a better time to get onboard. If you spend the time to learn how to get the most out of the service, you’ll no doubt find success.