Elyse Hackney (@ecoopers), a customer success executive at Hearsay Social, recently shared 5 LinkedIn privacy tips for financial advisors. After I shared her tips on Twitter, Hackney was kind enough to allow me to share, liberally, her advice with you.

Like financial services, the legal profession places a premium on privacy. At the same time, lawyers ought not be so protective so as to be invisible and ineffective networking on LinkedIn.

Here’s five LinkedIn privacy settings you ought to take a look at. Each of the settings, other than the fifth, are configured on the LinkedIn Privacy Settings Review link reached through Account settings by clicking on your small photo on the top right of your LinkedIn profile page. See below.

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1. Your Public Profile (“Edit your public profile”)

Your public profile is what people who aren’t connected with you on LinkedIn see when they view your profile.

In order to grow your network, enable people to evaluate your expertise, and establish credibility, you need to be findable and complete profile. The best way to do this is to share as much of your profile as possible.

You’ll see below that I make each portion of my profile viewable. At the very least, Hackney recommends that you show these fields publicly: your “basics” (Name, industry, location, etc.), picture, headline, summary and current position.

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2. Activity Broadcasts (“Turn on/off your activity broadcasts”)

When you update your profile or make new connections on LinkedIn, you may have that information shared with your LinkedIn connections via their news feeds.

If you are strategic and limited with whom who you connect, this is a nice way to keep top of mind. If you are more aggressive in growing your network and do not know all of your connections well, this can be a little much for your connections.

You also need to be careful with minor changes to your profile such as modifying the description of your present position. I recently made a subtle change and had people congratulating me, via email and in person, on my new job – which I did not have.

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There is another feed setting which controls who sees the thought leadership posts you are making and sharing in your status update. Not only will sharing your items with everyone “reconnect” you with clients, prospective clients, and referral sources, but it will also allow you to engage those people who like and comments on the items you share.

For bloggers, this lets you more widely share what you’ve written and what interests you. Even just sharing articles lets people know what’s important to you and serves as another way to spark conversations.

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3. Let Others See Your Connections (“Who can see your connections?”)

You are giving the option to allow your connections to view your network of connections. In no case will your connections be viewable to the public at large.

Opening your connections raises a number concerns for lawyers. Will other lawyers try to poach my clients? Will other professionals in my network, ie, financial advisors, try to “sell” to your connections? Will displaying my connections disclose that I represent a client without that client’s consent to disclose same.

The first two ought not be overly concerning if you are prudent with whom you connect. Disclosing a client relationship is a concern. However, if you have a large number of connections, as most lawyers do today, it’s difficult for someone to know who is a client and to say you disclosed such a relationship.

I see value in letting others see your connections. It reinforces you as a valuable addition to another’s network as well as demonstrates your level of influence. As Hackney says, it’s also a good way of seeing shared connections to discover new business opportunities.

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4. Who’s Viewing Your Profile (“What others see when you’ve viewed their profile?”)

Unlike other social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google+), LinkedIn allows you to see when others view your profile (and vice versa). LinkedIn also allows you to see who those visitors are (and vice versa).

I do not allow others to see that I have viewed their profile. I am anonymous. But because I have a premium account I do get to see the identity of those who view my profile – so long as they have chosen not to be anonymous. I find that the majority of people who view my profile do not opt for anonymity. I see who they are.

As Hackney says, the inclination of those without a premium account is to sacrifice the ability to see who has viewed their profile so that others can’t tell when they visited a profile.

But by allowing access, you receive consistent information about who has been researching you. That can be invaluable for any number of reasons. Most of the time it’s fine if someone sees you’ve viewed their profile. If you need to remain anonymous, just log out of LinkedIn and view their public profile.

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5. Recommendations and endorsements (“Manage recommendations you’ve received”)

Recommendations and endorsements raise a couple concerns for lawyers. One is whether your state’s ethics rules prohibit public testimonials altogether. Arguably, recommendations and endorsements are testimonials. From a practical standpoint lawyers are displaying them, whether their state allows testimonials or not.

Second is whether a specific recommendation or endorsement is false or misleading. That’s unethical in any state. Lawyers play fast and loose taking endorsements and  recommendations from people who are not familiar with their legal work and in areas in which the lawyer has no real expertise. This is especially true with the one-click endorsements.

LinkedIn details how you delete a one-click endorsement – though it’s after the fact.

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You are given the option to display a “real recommendation,” as opposed to a one-click endorsement.

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Networking through the Internet to build relationships and enhance your reputation requires that you not be overly conservative as to privacy concerns. LinkedIn, being a professional network with privacy options, enables you to have an effective networking environment while protecting most concerns you’d have.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Nan Palmero

LinkedIn has unveiled a new redesign for company pages, making them more attractive and relevant for both users and businesses, including law firms. The new company page is part of LinkedIn’s revamping its core products to make them more interactive — and social.

Mike Grishaver (@mgris), who leads Company Pages Product and Monetization at LinkedIn, is pretty succinct in what the new Company Pages offer.

For members, this means easier access to the information you want about the companies you care about. For companies, this means a more powerful way to build relationships with your target audience on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn will now focus on providing users with information and updates that are relevant to them as opposed to the standard and impersonalized stream of updates, which is what LinkedIn, has now. These changes will make it much easier for companies to connect with users and create a brand presence. Although with the new company pages there is no longer a blog section, LinkedIn says you are better off sharing blog content on your company’s newsfeed.

The redesign is also more visually appealing. The old company pages are made up of mostly text, with no features to help companies grab the users’ attention. Now law firms can upload an image to their page that best represents their brand. This new feature is quite similar to Facebook’s use of cover photos on their user profiles and business pages.

These new changes make LinkedIn a much greater competitor to other social networking sites when it comes to business marketing. Even before this makeover, LinkedIn has been a great way to promote your  law firm. This redesign is just one of the many valuable features LinkedIn has added over the past couple of months that help law firms market through the social networking site.

The announcement of the new look for LinkedIn Company Pages came right after their debut of the notifications feature. Now business owners are informed when someone likes shared content, views their profile, accepts an invitation, or sends them a message. This allows business owners can easily engage with users by replying back when someone comments or promptly answering questions a user might have.

In April, LinkedIn added the capability of targeted updates. With Targeted Updates you can deliver highly relevant content to targeted audiences to drive increased engagement. I talked about what this means for law firms and lawyers in a previous blog post, “LinkedIn Targeted Updates: Law firms deliver content to focused group

With all of these substantial changes LinkedIn has made for company pages over just the last six months we can definitely expect that there is more to come. LinkedIn also announced that users would now be able to see Company Pages on iPhone and Adroid apps from their mobile devices as well as receive notifications. Although users aren’t yet able to edit their profile from mobile apps too, we can expect that in the near future.

If you have yet to create a LinkedIn company page, you are missing out on a vital and powerful tool in your online marketing efforts. A company page is great way to advertise your experience, expertise, and your practice to the over 175 million registered LinkedIn users


Thanks to everyone who attended “Networking on LinkedIn at the Next Level ” on May 22. The recording of the session is available above; we had a bit of trouble with the audio during the session, so I apologize for the sound quality on the recording.

One point to clarify, based on questions from a number of clients: Kevin uses one of LinkedIn’s upgraded accounts — the free version does not include all the features he shows.

LinkedIn has a great channel on YouTube that provide a good overview of different features. A few that we recommend are:

For more information on how to best utilize LinkedIn, LexBlog has a few additional resources:

If you have any questions, concerns or feedback, please feel free to email helen@lexblog.com. We hope to see you at our next webinar on June 28 at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT — topic TBD.

LinkedIn is a heck of a lot more than a lawyer’s profile of record — it’s a networking powerhouse.

In “Networking on LinkedIn at the Next Level : Building Relationships and Enhancing Your Reputation,” you’ll learn to harness LinkedIn’s most effective features (many of them new) to get work the old fashioned way: through relationships and cultivating a strong word of mouth reputation.

This hour-long webinar on May 22 at 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT, hosted by LexBlog CEO & Publisher Kevin O’Keefe, will share hands-on ideas on (among other things):

  • Use of ‘LinkedIn Today’
  • Use of LinkedIn iPad and iPhone Apps
  • How to make real and last connections
  • Following targeted individuals and companies
  • Sharing information with your network to build trust
  • Using advanced search to grow your network
  • Advancing LinkedIn search and connections to face to face meetings
  • Case study success stories of lawyers using LinkedIn
  • 5 new LinkedIn features in 5 minutes

When? May 22 at 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT

Where do I register? At LexBlog’s events center

Questions or concerns? Email helen@lexblog.com.

Can’t make it? The webinar will be recorded and posted to Real Lawyers Have Blogs and the LexBlog Support Youtube channel 24-48 hours after the session.