Your LinkedIn profile is a core part of your online personal brand, whether you are looking to build your professional network or to generate leads. So what does your profile say about you?
Stand out from the crowd
Chances are, if you wanted to find a fellow professional, you would look them up on LinkedIn. LinkedIn sells itself as “the world’s largest professional network“. With over 433 million members worldwide, it’s easy to see why LinkedIn has become a go to source of information. But if someone was looking for you, what would they see? Would they even find you?
The first thing is to build a profile that gets you found. Because LinkedIn is essentially a database, it’s helpful to think in terms of keywords. If your target audience is looking for a lawyer like you, what words will they search for? Obviously, titles like ‘lawyer’ or ‘solicitor’ are less than unique. But so are words like ‘managing partner’, ‘director’ and ‘owner’. Try to include something about your specialisation, expertise or perhaps your location. If you can, use these keywords in your headline – the little description that appears under your name.
Using keywords will help your profile be found in searches, particularly if the person searching can’t recall your full name or the name of your firm. The other important place to use keywords is in your summary. Although LinkedIn, like other social media, is about engaging and connecting with your audience, your summary is where you get to tell the world how great you are.
Let’s talk about you
LinkedIn suggests you can improve your profile by improving these five areas: your profile picture, endorsements, summary, experience, and volunteering and causes. Let’s see how these can work for lawyers.
According to LinkedIn, adding a profile picture makes it at least seven times more likely that people will view your profile. Keep your profile photo clear and professional – no holiday snaps. Use a recent photograph. A dated photograph says you couldn’t be bothered or haven’t maintained a current profile. It’s also best to stick with a plain, simple background.
Endorsements are a way for colleagues and other professionals to recognise your skills. Skills will generally be keywords, so this will also help boost your profile. Add skills that others can endorse you for. Think about keywords that people looking for someone with your skill set would use as a search term. If you’re not sure, LinkedIn gives suggestions when you add skills, to point you in the right direction.
Your summary is a chance to sell your professional self in 40 words or less. This is the space to talk about you – what you have done, can do and why people should want to connect with you. It is not the place to copy and paste impersonal content about your firm. Some firms make this mistake by adopting a uniform summary for all of their solicitors that is primarily about the firm, not the lawyer. A personalised summary using keywords is much more effective. If you want the focus to be on your firm, you can create a LinkedIn company page for your firm, in addition to your own personal LinkedIn profile.
Although LinkedIn profiles can look a lot like an online CV, your experience section can be so much more. Rather than just a list of job titles, try adding some details of your roles or examples of your work that really showcase your expertise and experience in action.
Volunteering and causes is the section where you can show more of your personal side. Are you a member of the local tennis or football club? Do you support a charity or volunteer in your local community? This is the space to feature your contributions.
Next steps with your LinkedIn profile
Once you’ve polished these key aspects of your LinkedIn profile, you might like to explore other sections you can add. Have you won any awards? Do you speak another language? And with your personal profile ready to go, why not establish your firm’s LinkedIn presence with a company page. You can read more about LinkedIn company pages in an upcoming article. In the meantime, if you want to know more about making the most of your LinkedIn profile for marketing your law firm, speak to Lift Legal today.
About the author
Peter Heazlewood is a management and marketing consultant, he specialises in helping law firms develop their practices using business planning marketing and performance reporting techniques refined in his own successful law firm. Peter lives in Sydney with his wife and is the father of five adult children.