[This article was originally published on www.SLAW.ca in June, 2011]
Linkedin is the most common starting point for most lawyers when it comes to social media. In recognition of that, I want to showcase a few features of Linkedin that you may not currently be using.
The status update box has been around for some time now but it is relatively underutilized in the legal community. You can find the status update box either beside or directly underneath your photo on your linkedin home page or your “edit my profile” page. It is a simple white text box that you can update as frequently as desired with a small snippet of information that you think the people in your network might be interested in. That could be a link to an article or blog post you’ve written, news of an upcoming seminar you will be presenting at or attending, or just drawing attention to a noteworthy article or decision in your client industry or practice area. Whenever you update your status, the homepage of everyone in your network gets alerted, which makes it an effective tool for keeping yourself on the radar of those in your network.
Most of us think of Linkedin as being built around individuals, but more recently Linkedin has wisely let businesses in on the action by creating “company pages” – essentially a Linkedin profile for the company. But more than just a single page, the company profile can in fact serve more like a corporate microsite. The “home page” of a Linkedin company profile is relatively fixed in terms of content and layout – you can include a brief corporate overview, as well as feeds of company blog and twitter accounts. Linkedin also automatically includes summaries of some of the individual linkedin bios of your staff on this page.
Beyond that corporate home page, however, you can also create a “products/services” section that is a real hidden gem that very few law firms are currently using. You can create service pages for each practice area of your firm that includes:
- a picture or photograph;
- a service description;
- a bulleted list of key benefits or people;
- practice-specific contact information;
- a practice-specific web-link (e.g. a practice area blog or firm website section);
- an embedded YouTube video; and
- a disclaimer of your choosing.
Additionally, on your services index page you can also include up to three large banner ad-style images that themselves can link directly out to whatever you like. This is ideally suited to highlighting key areas of focus for your firm. Linkedin also has built-in analytics for these company pages so that page administrators can monitor traffic to these pages.
A corollary of the fact that you can now create company pages on Linkedin is that you can now choose to follow (monitor) the activities of other companies there as well. This is similar to adding a person to your linkedin network, except that unlike the case with people, you do not require a company’s consent in order to follow their company linkedin activity. Start looking for companies you already interact with regularly (i.e. clients, vendors, competitors, etc.) by simply using the search box in the top right hand corner of the top navigation bar, and using the dropdown filter to select “companies”) and typing in the company name. Once you’ve found a company of interest, simply hit the “Follow Company” button, near the top right hand corner of the Company Page, and any updates they make will automatically appear on your Linkedin homepage that shows all recent activity from people and companies in your network.
InMaps is a nice feature for visual learners that analyses your Linkedin network and creates a personalized visual representation (I’ve attached mine below as an example) of the people in your network and clusters them into as many as eight different groups based on the connections between them, each denoted by a different color. It’s then up to you to identify what each of those clusters represent, and add your own descriptions to the legend in the bottom left corner. It’s an interesting exercise – in my case I found the strength of my law firm alumni network (Faskens) stronger than expected more than a decade on after leaving the firm. I also noted an actionable insight in the relative absence of Linkedin connections in my network to the broader marketing and advertising industry – my current ties are much stronger to my client industry (law) than to the advertising and marketing world.
You can find out more and create your own InMap here: http://inmaps.linkedinlabs.com/faq