The amount of engagement on LinkedIn is on the rise. More comments and likes on posts, more requests to connect and more messages exchanged between connections.

This is all good for lawyers. LinkedIn’s been a “safer” and more “understandable” social network for lawyers and law firms than Facebook and Twitter.

Rather than trying to figure out offline who to meet and how to meet them, lawyers are meeting people and building relationships from their desktop or iPhone.

Let me share an example. Last week I was hosting a “Law Blogger Con” at the New York City Bar Association. Law Blogger Con is an informal get together of law bloggers and wannabe law bloggers to share insight and ideas for growing as bloggers – particularly improving as lawyers and growing business.

I was worried that a listing at the Bar Association and some emails I sent out weren’t going to be enough to get people there. So I did an advanced search on LinkedIn to find my 1st degree connections in the New York City metro area. A thousand of them.

I skimmed through the connections and sent individual messages to those I wanted to invite through the LinkedIn message feature which displayed next to the person’s name on the list. I don’t know how many I sent out — about a hundred or two, apologizing that I was just sending the message (same for all, except the name) the night before.

I received about 25 notes in response. Nice notes, most saying they couldn’t make it this time, asking that I stay in touch so they can make it next time and a few asking to talk about blogging and what LexBlog could do to help to them. And the notes keep trickling in.

Another example are the messages I exchange with people when they request to connect or I request to connect with them. They feel informal and unobtrusive. These exchanges are also leading to relationships and business. These requests to connect and the exchanges are growing in number.

Finally, I’m receiving more likes and comments on LinkedIn when I share my blog posts in the LinkedIn status update. Not on every post, but a lot of them. I use the comments and likes as an opportunity to engage, via LinkedIn messaging, the people I want to get to know better. Some lead to phone calls and some lead to face to face meetings.

Why the uptake in activity? I am not a rocket scientist, but I think it’s a combination of LinkedIn making improvements in its app and more business and legal professionals taking to social media.

When LinkedIn first made improvements to its mobile app the end of last year, I saw a good bump in engagement. A user interface, which continues to improve, with subtle upgrades, gets us using the app more often. The key then becomes machine learning and algorithms.

Who would we like to meet? What would we like to see?  The better LinkedIn gets in delivering on this via algorithms, the more we’re going to return and the more time we’re going to spend on LinkedIn. And the more time we spend on LinkedIn, the more data it has on who and what we like.

Just as important is lawyers acknowledging that social media is where clients, prospective clients, referral sources and business leaders are hanging out. Marketing professionals and conference speakers telling lawyers to wake up for the last five or six years didn’t register. But when lawyers saw they were going to go hungry without networking online, they acted — and many have come to LinkedIn and begun to use it as more than a roledex.

I am a big fan of Facebook, but I’ll confess that LinkedIn is awful darn good as way to meet people, nurture relationships, arrange face to face meetings and grow business.

Why is it that lawyers and legal tech company leaders do not personalize their introductory engagement on LinkedIn? Slowing down so as to use a little ettiequte can go a long way.

I receive a lot of requests on LinkedIn. None come with a note of introduction.

It would only take a couple minutes to go to the InMail icon, hit it and send a note via LinkeIn. Nothing special, just a note to say “Hi, hope you don’t mind, but I just sent you a request to connect here on LinkedIn. I ran across what you’re doing, found it interesting (or whatever’s appropriate) and would like to connect etc.”

Maybe you met a person at a meeting or at a conference. Maybe you engaged someone via Twitter or Facebook. Absolutely connect on LinkedIn. But why not a personal note referencing the meeting or engagement. It’s a nice thing to do and us old guys have a short memory and may not recall meeting.

You’ll be surprised how many nice notes you’ll get in response. I think folks are shocked that someone takes the time to be thoughtful.

When you get a request to connect on LinkedIn, why not do the same? Look up the background of the person on LinkedIn, their site or Google. After accepting the connection, drop the person a note on LinkedIn complementing them for something they are doing or have done. Something you know they’re proud of. Again, you’ll get a lot of nice notes.

People like to beat up on LinkedIn for having a crummy user interface. Maybe that’s true on non-mobile devices, but the Linked interface on iOS for my iPhone and iPad is excellent for early engagement like this.

Hitting the network tab, I see a red button next to “Invitations,” signaling that I have received some invitations to connect. Truth be told I have about 150 in there right now.

After checking who the people are, I hit the “check mark” icon to connect with them. Linkedin then defaults to a “messager” icon which I click on to send my short message. How easy is that. By the time I am through with a few, I have often received a response from someone. After all, the messages surface in their email.

Why do this? One, we’re people. Social networks are more than a numbers game, they’re about connecting and getting to know people.

Two, it’s how business is developed and sales are made. Despite all the misinformation flying around about content marketing, social networks as distribution channels for content, traffic, stats and followers, most businesses and most every good lawyer get their work from relationships and word of mouth.

Relationships come from getting out and meeting people — and being polite and endearing in the process, especially at the beginning.

I look to generate two to three solid relationships a week through introductory exchanges on LinkedIn. By solid I mean someone I believe our organization can help through the turnkey blog solution we offer.

Though I hate the word lead, the person and their organization go into SalesForce, the CRM we use, as a lead so that my team and I can stay in touch with the person.

In many cases, I have had phone calls with the person I met on LinkedIn within a week — phone calls that led to business. In other cases, it can be a ways down the road.

I don’t force the relationship or business. It comes or it doesn’t through ongoing engagement and me adding value along the way.

LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool sitting in your pocket or purse. Slow down a little and take the time to use it properly.

Dave Winer (@davewiner) raised some good questions about LinkedIn’s plan to create it’s own version of Instant Articles ala the version already in place at Facebook.

From a technical standpoint, why have “a proliferation of mostly-compatible feed formats,” per Winer. Developers are already creating one for Facebook.

Bigger yet:

[W]hy just just with publishers? Why not talk with bloggers? I think ultimately this will be a similar kind of mistake to the ones that political parties made. Publishers are like big donors. Bloggers are equivalent to voters and grassroots organizers.

The bloggers haven’t gone away, big platform people, it’s just that you don’t see them because your platforms aren’t accommodating us. If you tweak things, just a little, you’ll find we’re even better friends than the big publishers. Get your thinking out of the 20th century box.

A LinkedIn spokesperson told Buzzfeed’s Alex Kantrowitz (@kantrowitz), Weiner’s source, that:

Publishers remain a very important part of our content ecosystem and we are in regular conversations with them about new ways to work together. Our goal is to ensure we get the right content in front of the right member at the right time to deliver the best member experience possible.

Publishers, by definition, includes bloggers, but from the Buzzfeed story it sounds like LinkedIn is talking to limited number of traditional publishers in an attempt to make LinkedIn a leading source of business news.

Social networks and publishers with big brands want to get publishers, including bloggers, to publish on their platform and not ther own blog. Medium, Facebook and LinkedIn are the biggies.

That’s a mistake. They ought to be shining a lot on bloggers by running blog posts in entirety, which are first published on the blogger’s site. They ought to recognize that the power of personal publishers lies in having your own site. It’s your independent site that keeps you going and producing more media.

It’s the media the social networks and large digital publishers are after, not search and an independent site which professionals who are blogging want. Getting the blogged content gets a social network like LinkedIn more ad revenue. Professionals who are blogging do so to build relationships and reputations, ad revenue is not what they are after.

Running bloggers’ posts, while recognizing the power of independent sites, gets the social networks and large publishers great content. No one is going to cover niches that need covering like a professional with deep expertise blogging with a passion.

Embrace blogging for what blogging is like Google. In Google’s case blog posts at the top of relevant searches. It’s a win-win.

Lawyers have long used publishing as a means of establishing themselves as trusted authorities in their area of law.

With the Internet, lawyers have turned to blogs, alerts or articles in third party publications. Social networks, such as LinkedIn, have even added publishing features so that anyone can sign in and publish articles in entirety.

A big question for lawyers though is whether publishing on LinkedIn will make them look like an expert.

Nick Corcodilos (@NickCorcodilos), a Silicon Valley headhunter of over 35 years, said in a recent PBS Newshour interview made clear building one’s reputation as an expert in their profession is a big competitive advantage. However, he doesn’t believe publishing articles on LinkedIn is an appropriate and productive medium for building one’s professional “brand.”

I think LinkedIn has become a corrupt publishing platform because it reaches for quantity over quality and sells the idea that anyone can be an expert. Again and again my readers send me “expert articles” published on LinkedIn that are so blatantly self-promotional that it’s embarrassing — even articles by famous people (that seem to be ghost written).

The entire purpose of LinkedIn’s publishing platform seems to be building its page count and driving comments – not to create an expert arena. 

I tend to agree. It’s been almost a year since I last published on LinkedIn. I got huge traffic, but I am not sure what more.

Though individual pieces on LinkedIn don’t read “I am an authority, hire me etc.,” the shear volume of articles do. Professionals, lawyers including publish piece after piece and distribute them anywhere they can on LinkedIn, including spamming LinkedIn groups.

The burgeoning industry of companies and people selling ghostwritten content lawyers represent as their own only adds to the volume of content published on LinkedIn.

Rather than focusing on value to users and driving worthwhile discussion, the totally of a lot of people’s pieces, lawyers’ included, screams “here I am, pay attention to me.”

As you know, I am a big believer of tastefully sharing your own blog posts in the status updates on LinkedIn. Doing so drives engagement and discussion similar, yet more limited, to that which you receive at Facebook. This is much different than publishing on LinkedIn.

Beyond a blog, Corcodilos sees niche sites read by others in your field to be valuable places to publish. However, he thinks “LinkedIn has become the fish wrap of the Internet when it comes to publishing.”

Image courtesy of Flickr by Zach Dischner

I shared earlier this week that third party publishers, including bloggers, are seeing a big jump in referral traffic from LinkedIn.

By sharing their posts in status updates, as opposed to publishing on LinkedIn, third party publishers are getting their posts seen in LinkedIn’s content curator, Pulse, and in LinkedIn users’ feeds.

The Business Insider’s Laurie Beaver and Margaret Boland believe the jump in referral traffic to publishers is coming from LinkedIn’s mobile app redesign.

LinkedIn’s share of referral traffic to publishers has skyrocketed after it redesigned its mobile app in December, according to Parsely data shared with BI Intelligence. The data, which tracks traffic sources for nearly 400 digital publishers including Conde Nast, Reuters, The Atlantic, and The New York Times, reveals that LinkedIn jumped from 0.06% of total referral traffic at the end of November 2015 — right before the rollout of the mobile app redesign — to nearly 0.20% at the beginning of January.

While LinkedIn’s share of publishers’ referral traffic still pales in comparison to other social sources — Facebook commands 40% of total referral traffic, according to Parsely — its increase signals that the platform’s efforts to become a distribution channel for publishers are paying off, at least slowly.

LinkedIn Referral Traffic

Though I think LinkedIn algorithms are loosening the reigns as far as surfacing content from its contributor network (content published on LinkedIn publishing platform) in preference to content shared from third party sites,  I agree with Beaver and Boland that the mobile app is making a difference.

One, the app provides users a much nicer interface from which to consume content. Seeing a snippet of a post or article, users can seamlessly and easily the read content on the third party site right in the LinkedIn user interface.

Two, the app makes it easy to share content. Users are frequently sharing my content that I have already shared in LinkiedIn with others in their LinkedIn. The more shares, the more referral traffic.

And three, networking is increasing big time with the new app. People are liking my content, sharing my content and commenting on my content. This gives me the opportunity to engage them and for them to engage each other — both via the content and LinkedIn messenger. With business development being the heart of LinkedIn, we’re all using the app more and consuming more content as well.

Big message for bloggers here. If your blogs are not responsive for optimal mobile viewing, you are nuts. Blog posts on LinkedIn are being displayed in your blog interface right in LinkedIn’s app. LinkedIn is not going to clean up your garbage of non-mobile development so that LinkedIn users can read your content.

Not only do you look lame and leaking innovation with non-mobile, you’re wasting people’s time. It takes time to publish blog posts. Why do you want to make them difficult to read? Why do you want to make sure others do no not share your posts at LinkedIn?

Bottom line, LinkedIn is the friend of blog publishers – for now.

Image courtesy of Flickr by David Alcalde

If you are not sharing your blog posts at LinkedIn, you may want to think twice.

I’ve been noticing a dramatic increase in engagement via LinkedIn the last month or so — especially the last couple weeks. The engagement has been coming from blog posts I have shared as updates at LinkedIn.

I am not a big fan of measuring “content marketing” success by traffic. I’m in a relationship and reputation business, not an advertising sales business. I want to reconnect with people, exchange in discussion, agree to meet and get an opening to “reach out” through content I share. For me, content is the currency of engagement.

As a result of blog posts I have shared on LinkedIn over the last couple weeks I have agreed to meet a communications person at a major firm for lunch in Seattle, received an opening to call a CMO at a New York City based firm whom I have been looking to meet, and exchanged in discussion with any number of lawyers, business development, and marcom folks. This engagement is going to lead to more calls and more meetings.

Turns out LinkedIn is indeed surfacing more content from third-party publications. Digiday’s Ricardo Bilton (@rbilton) reports publishers are seeing a big jump in LinkedIn referrals.

At Forbes, for example, traffic from LinkedIn increased 127 percent from July to December last year (it wouldn’t share exact numbers). Forbes has found an effective formula on the platform, where it posts around 12 stories and quotes each day and has 1.2 million followers. But the biggest spike in traffic came last month, almost overnight. “We’ve done things to build our audience there, but they’ve clearly done things on their end and it’s benefiting not just us but everyone,” said Forbes chief product officer Lewis D’Vorkin.

The referral picture is the same at The Financial Times, Inc. and Business Insider, the latter of which reports a 300 percent increase in LinkedIn referral traffic over the past month. Business Insider president Julie Hansen said the increase came as a surprise to the site, which hasn’t changed its LinkedIn strategy to attract more readers there. The increases at both Business Insider and Forbes reflect the larger spikes in referrals coming from LinkedIn over the past two months. Parsely looked at its data and found that LinkedIn referrals made up as much as a quarter of a percent of the December traffic sent to publishers on its network. That’s still tiny overall, and reflects the fact that the network includes more than just business publishers, but it’s up from a five hundredths of a percent in July.

Though LinkedIn would not comment for Bilton, Publishers believe the spike in referrals is the result of tweaks made to Pulse, LinkedIn’s news aggregation app.

In November, it added a feature called “universal links,” which loaded Pulse articles within the app rather than sending readers to the mobile Web. That feature, coupled with the publisher recommendation feature LinkedIn added last September, have made it easier for Pulse users to find and read publisher content. Pulse has been downloaded 1.2 million times since last August, according to Apptopia.

Parsley, an analytics platform for digital publishers, shared just how dramatic the jump has been. Though the percentage of total referrals from LinkedIn is low, the increase is dramatic.
LinkedIn referral growth

What’s surprising is LinkedIn’s change in strategy in regard to publishers publishing on their own sites/publications/blogs. With LinkedIn’s publisher platform, LinkedIn wanted to get experts and authorities to publish directly on LinkedIn to their contributor network. LinkedIn called the leading authorities “Influencers.” So it was no surprise that LinkedIn wanted to surface content from it’s own contributor network to users on LinkedIn, as opposed to promoting/surfacing content from third-party sites.

Just last August, Digiday’s Lucia Moses (@lmoses) reported that the traffic LinkedIn drove to publishers dropped 44 percent in the first seven months of 2015.

LinkedIn used to be a steady referral source for many publishers. But that’s changed as the social network for professionals has prioritized its own media and its contributor network.

That’s all changed now and legal bloggers looking to reach in-house counsel and executives ought to look at LinkedIn’s change of heart the same way business publications do. From Business Insider president Julie Hansen:

It’s a great thing for sure. Given LinkedIn’s audience and the type of business content they’re linking out to, it’s obviously something we’re thrilled to see.

When sharing to LinkedIn all you need to do is share a good blog post in the LinkedIn status update directly from your blog or by copying a link into the status update on LinkedIn. Add a two or three sentence teaser that summarizes your point or pique people’s interest with a question or bold statement. That teaser will be displayed in Pulse or in people’s LinkedIn feed.

Good news for publishers — including bloggers.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Gregory Tran

I picked up my iPhone this morning and started scrolling through the feeds on my Twitter homepage—a lot of good stuff from some very bright people.

It got me to thinking that, like many folks, I don’t relax and slow down enough to garner the value I can receive from my social media.

Media in years past has been the television, newspapers, the radio and magazines. Today, media for most of us is each other. We receive news, information and insight from people we have come to trust, whether we have met them or not. That’s okay. After all, we never met Walter Cronkrite, Tom Brokaw, or Bob Woodward.

But with news and information flying all over the place on social networks, how do you capture the value?

Here’s how I do it through each of the social networks. Others, I’m sure, have their own ways.

  • Twittter. I have whittled the list of people I follow to six or seven hundred. I used to follow most of the people who followed me. I stopped that when it got about 13,000 people. 13,000 is a firehouse from which I cannot get any value. Plus there’s no chance of engaging the smart folks who are sharing items on Twitter with a retweet or a favorite. I have created lists—i.e.) legal reporters, law firm CMOs/Managing partners, bar associations—but I’ll confess I do not use them as much as I could. Following six or seven hundred sounds like a lot, but not everyone tweets all day long. It’s manageable. I use the Twitter app on my iPhone and iPad for this.
  • Facebook. I get as much value from Facebook as anywhere. I share items which I am passionate about and this has attracted people with similar interests who have since become my friends and whose items shared I now see. I also befriend people that Facebook suggests I may want to befriend when they have a high number of mutual friends. This has resulted in having friends all around the world in business, media and more—reporters at major publications and executives at leading corporations, including Google and Apple. I then engage these folks via likes and comments to the items they share. Facebook’s algorithms are then more likely to surface items on my newsfeed that these people share and/or items I am apt to find of interest.
  • News aggregator. My tightest news, that is news from sources and on subjects I have identified, is fed to my news aggregator. I use Mr. Reader on my iPad. I set up Feedly, which then feeds into Mr. Reader. Here, my feeds are organized into folders such as law, strategic partners (companies I would like to work with), WordPress (news related to WP), Facebook (news related to FB), Seattle, Notre Dame, etc. Most days I will scroll through my feeds by folder, beginning with the law, glancing at the headlines much as you would browse headlines in a newspaper. When I see something of interest I open it up and read it. If the item would be of interest to my followers, I share it on Twitter.
  • LinkedIn. I use LinkedIn much less for news and information than the first three. I open my iPhone and check out the notifications for items that people I know have have shared or published. I get some good information and can easily engage with a share or a like.

There’s other apps people use, such as Flipboard as a news aggregator or Hootsuite for aggregating social network feeds—I’m just sharing what works for me in garnering value.

The bottom line for me is value—whether that’s value in the news and information received, which allows me to grow as a person and be better equipped to help the people I serve, or value in the personal relationships that blossom from social media. Without this new form of media, I would never have met the people I have.

As Notre Dame Football Coach, Lou Holtz said, the only thing that’ll change you from the person you are today and the person you will be five years from now are the books you read and the people you meet. Today, Lou might include the items of value you read and the people you meet from social media.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Phanatic

If you are like most Americans, you are spending more and more time on your smartphone.

Whether reading email, following Twitter, scrolling through your NewsFeed on Facebook or accepting requests to connect on LinkedIn, you are as apt to be using your iPhone or android as your laptop.

Not only is your smartphone more convenient, mobile apps are more user friendly than apps on your laptop. And why not? What 25 year old brilliant engineer wants to work on the past when the future is at hand.

With your smartphone already in hand, use it to get ideas for blog posts. Here’s how to do so on LinkedIn.

Here’s the homepage of the LinkedIn app on my iPhone.

LinkedIn Homepage

Touch the LinkedIn icon and the menu page will be displayed.

LinkedIn app Menu page

Tap the little flag at the top and you’ll see this notifications page. Notifications will include notifications of who viewed your profile and who commented or liked something you shared on LinkedIn (perhaps your blog post). But most notifications will reference posts published by your connections.

LinkedIn mobile app notifications

It used to be that the posts published by others was a firehose of content. “Please no more, I am getting a notification every 5 minutes” kind of thing. It was akin to spam, with many of the posts about items you had no interest in.

But LinkedIn has added an algorithm so as to surface items you have more of an interest in and from people with whom you have intersected in some capacity. Think Facebook and its algorithms surfacing relevant items in your NewsFeed.

Take a look at the content. Are there items you can share and comment on in your blog? You will be engaging the other party by linking to their name, their post, quoting them and adding your insight.

Better yet, like one of the posts or comment on a post right in the LinkedIn app. You can expand on your comment in a post on your blog. Repurposing comments which flow quickly in free thinking is a great way to generate blog posts.

Here’s a post displayed in the app which you can read, share, like and comment on.

LinkedIn Ed Poll Post

Also understand that this sort of blogging engagement is exactly what you want in blogging. You’re connected with these folks on LinkedIn. They’re the folks with whom you’re looking to build and nurture relationships. What better way to do so than to reach out and say “Hi” through a blog post where you are also giving them a shout out on your blog.

You have the LinkedIn app in your pocket, put it to work in your blogging.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Terry Chay

Common wisdom in the legal profession is that LinkedIn ought to be used for professional networking while Facebook ought to be used, if at all, for personal networking.

I am not sure this is true anymore. For me, Facebook is much more engaging and social when it comes to sharing news and information, dialogue, and learning among my business colleagues.

Ian Barker (@iandbarker) of Beta News asked earlier this week “Is Facebook more useful for professionals than LinkedIn?”

Based on the below infographic from the UK’s Brighton School of Business and Management, Barker wonders if LinkedIn is any better than Facebook for business users?

Highlights that lawyers ought to take from the school’s comparison:

  • Sheer number of users Facebook has being far greater than LinkedIn
  • Facebook’s having far greater monthly visitors
  • 80% of Facebook’s users are age 36 and older, while the figure is only 66% on LinkedIn
  • Facebook having an equal breakdown of men and women while LinkedIn has more women using the network than men
  • Facebook’s benefits being social connections, word of mouth, and recommendations – all important for business development
  • LinkedIn is used most by recruiters

Last night I was thinking of buying “The Art of Social Media” by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick. I asked on Facebook whether anyone had read the book and if it would be a good resource for lawyers on our network.

Five people immediately chimed in with their thoughts, four lawyers and the CMO of a major law firm. Dialogue ensued that’s continuing over to today. Based on the number of legal professionals now reading the book (me included), and who will read the book, I expect discussion regarding the book’s advice to follow on blogs and on Facebook.

LinkedIn is no doubt important for lawyers. Facebook though, with its ease of use, personal feel, and dialogue, is a good place for lawyers to network – professionally and socially.

If you aren’t using Facebook yet, 2015 would be a good time to start.

Facebook for lawyers

I read an article by the Boston Globe’s Julie Xie (@julieyinxie) this week asking whether you needed both a resume and a LinkedIn profile.

I know most folks will want to see at least a resume, but for me, it was a no brainer, a LinkedIn Portfolio is the key. I make it a point not to look at resumes of candidates for positions at LexBlog. I look solely at their LinkedIn profile.

The LinkedIn profile shows me initiative, or lack thereof, and gives me a “living history” of the person’s college, law school and work experience. I also do not want to see a resume tailored for us – I’d rather see what someone dreams of doing and is committed to achieving.

For law students, building out a LinkedIn profile from the first day of law school ought to be a top priority. Do not let anyone tell you it’s not important.

Employers want to see law grads with initiative and who are distinguishing themselves. Believe me, you’d be surprised how few law students have a good LinkedIn profile, let alone work on distinguishing themselves.

Attorney Dan Linna (@danlinna), Dean of Career Development at Michigan State Law School, shared with me that the school works with law students as to LinkedIn from “Day One.” My gut tells me there are not a lot of Michigan State’s out doing this.

Law students would be advised to view LinkedIn, as Kristina Corbitt (@kriscorbitt) of LexBlog tells lawyers, as your portfolio. More than a resume, a portfolio brings your growing body of work to the table.

There are plenty of blog posts, including some here on my blog, on the makings of a good LinkedIn profile and how to effectively use LinkedIn. Also check out the LinkedIn profiles of others.

Here’s a dozen ideas I have shared with law students at various times.

  • As your title list law student aspiring to…(describing what you wish to do), rather than just “law student.”
  • In your summary tell the story of why you are going to law school, what you are hoping to do even if you don’t know specifically and what attributes you have that make it likely you’ll succeed.
  • Go through your past job history, maybe even back to high school sharing what you took from each job, even if it was just the need to stick with something long enough to make a buck. More than one law firm CMO has told me they have lawyers that have never had a job until after law school.
  • Get recommendations (not one click endorsements) from past employers all the way back, past professors in undergrad and in law school and people who headed a charitable cause you worked for. Get these over time while in law school so it doesn’t look like you worked on LinkedIn your last semester.
  • For undergrad and law school explain why you chose the school. Give things some flavor rather than just listing the school with enrollment from one year to another.
  • Start building out a network, through LinkedIn connections, of lawyers, law professors, and other law students who are active online, whether active on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. Ideally there’s some strategy of who you are connecting with – area of law, geography, alumni of your undergrad, worked in the same company etc.
  • Share in the status update things you are reading that relate to your legal interests. Doing so lets LinkedIn know your interests and will suggest that those with similar interests connect with you. Overtime you’ll be able to engage, via LinkedIn, people who like or comment on those things you share.
  • Follow law firms you’d like to work for. You can see their culture, identify people within areas that you would like to work in, see news, see pro bono efforts etc. You could even share on Twitter news items of firms, referencing their Twitter handle, assuming the items you felt were news worthy. You’ll know a heck of a lot more about law firms and their people than other law grads.
  • Engage connections with questions about clerkships, jobs, what you should be looking for, and maybe questions or comments about their blog posts.
  • Use LinkedIn advance search to identify past employees of firms you’d like to work at so you can find out what they know. Use the advanced search to build out a network of alumni of your undergrad to start engaging them and using them as a resource.
  • Use LinkedIn publisher to write some articles about areas of the law or culture of interest to you. Look at some good pieces from the Influencers section on LinkedIn as examples. We are not talking long pieces or items that read like case summaries. 400 to 700 words in a professional conversational tone, linking to other items and including images are some good keys to follow.
  • Look around for relevant LinkedIn groups to join. If nothing more, look to connect with and meet some of the members.

Not for a second am I implying that doing a great job on LinkedIn is a substitute for academic accomplishments, job history, internships and clerkships, acumen, commitment and more. Hopefully, you’re LinkedIn profile will be a reflection of who you are.

Working on LinkedIn just presents you with an opportunity to make connections and distinguish yourself from other law grads. It’s a gift.