New LinkedIn Features Helpful for Lawyers

If you haven’t visited LinkedIn  in a while, you may want to take a look. LinkedIn has been making some changes and adding new features, hoping that their users will update their Profiles more often and engage more with others. Many of  these changes improve the LinkedIn experience and can help lawyers build relationships.

LinkedIn Profile Redesign

Individual Profiles have been redesigned to make it easier and faster for users to update their Profile, with the hope that that they will do so more frequently, and not just when it’s time to look for a new job.

The redesign also provides users with more statistics, formatted in a more visual display, to let users know who has viewed their Profile and to provide more information about the connections in their network.

If you haven’t received the new Profile design yet, you will – LinkedIn is rolling out the new design to users over several months. If you simply cannot wait, you can request the new format from LinkedIn.

Endorsements

Endorsements work with the Skills section of your Profile. When you add a Skill to your Profile, your connections can endorse you as having experience in that area. When they do so, a thumbnail image of their Profile picture appears next to the Skill on your LinkedIn Profile, and a number next to the listed Skill on your Profile will increase so visitors can easily see how many Endorsements you have for a particular Skill listed on your Profile.

Endorsements are different than Recommendations. For a connection to endorse you, all they have to do is to click one button; Recommendations are longer and are specifically connected to one of your positions on your Profile and include the ability to write narrative comments.

Some lawyers have mentioned to me that they do not like the new LinkedIn Endorsements. If you don’t like them, or if you are concerned that the Endorsements might violate your jurisdiction’s ethical rules, you can hide individual Endorsements from your Public Profile by clicking on the arrow to the right of the Skill, which will bring up a list of those who endorsed you for that Skill, and you can hide the one(s) you don’t want to show. As of now, this cannot be reversed; once hidden, the Endorsement is gone.

Notifications Tab

You may have noticed a new tab on the LinkedIn navigation bar that looks like a flag. That’s the new Notifications tab, which gives you information on who has viewed your Profile, who has liked one of your Updates, what is happening on discussions you’ve participated in, and what activity is occurring in your Groups.

LinkedIn Signal

LinkedIn Signal is a way of searching LinkedIn’s Update feed. You can search your own name, your Twitter handle, product, services and clients and see what people are saying about them on LinkedIn, and then you can communicate with them – even if they are not a first-degree connection.

Company Page Updates

The Company Page  redesign includes the ability to add a banner photo across the top of your law firm Company Page (similar to Facebook cover photos). LinkedIn Company Page banner photos are 646 x 220 pixels in size.

You can now target your Company Page Updates to share with specific audiences: everyone who is following your firm, or by a specific industry or location. And LinkedIn also provides companies with statistics on their results when sharing these Updates.

With the new redesign, your firm’s Updates are more prominent, now appearing at the top of the Overview page (the first page visitors see when they click on your firm), so it’s easy for visitors to read, like, comment and share. Now you can also Feature a post to bring it up to the top of the page.

The Overview page also shows LinkedIn users how they are connected to your firm and highlights your firm’s services and career opportunities on the right sidebar.
Company Pages can now be seen in the mobile and iPad apps versions of LinkedIn, making your law firm’s page accessible to those using LinkedIn on a mobile device.

INfluencer Program

If you use LinkedIn, you probably already know that you receive Updates from your LinkedIn connections on your LinkedIn Home Page and in weekly Network Update emails. You can also choose to ‘follow’ other LinkedIn users who are fellow members of a Group by clicking on the “follow” button below their picture when they post in a Group discussion, or under their description in the list of Group Members.

You can also ‘follow’ a company to receive their Updates in your stream, by clicking on the ‘follow’ button on their Company Page in LinkedIn.

Now LinkedIn has introduced a new way to ‘follow’ others – if they are designated as thought leaders or influencers. At its inception in October 2012, there were 150 designated ‘influencers’’ you could follow on LinkedIn. Find influencers to follow.

Influencers’ Updates are not limited to the typical short updates most LinkedIn users can post; instead, influencers can create longer posts, and can embed photos, videos and Slideshare presentations. This gives influencers a leg up, not only in terms of visibility, but also in terms of content.

According to LinkedIn, the list of influencers you can follow is expanding and will include not just universally-recognized thought leaders across LinkedIn, but also industry-specific “movers and shakers.”

Are you a thought leader in your area of practice? You can submit an application to LinkedIn to be considered for the LinkedIn influencer program.

(photo: Linked People from Shutterstock)

  • http://FishtownLaw.com Leo

    I have a LinkedIn account. I forget that I have a LinkedIn account until someone sends me a message or invites me to connect. The few minutes I spent on the “groups” there, I quickly noted that most of the members were law marketers peddling wares.

    I remain unconvinced that LinkedIn is useful for law practice.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      I remain unconvinced that it is useful for anything, including wasting time.

    • http://lawyermeltdown.com/ Allison Shields

      It’s like any other networking or community group you belong to. In order to see the benefit, you need to be active. If you join a group in “real life” and you rarely show up, don’t reach out to individuals in the group, fail to take the relationship outside of the group, don’t participate or offer anything of value to the community, you aren’t going to see any benefit.

      Similarly, if you join a group and find out that it’s populated by in your face marketers (in any industry) or self-promoters, the group isn’t going to be worthwhile for you – but that doesn’t mean you need to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

      I think LinkedIn is generally more helpful for lawyers who work in a business to business context because businesses are using it, but if you get referrals from professionals and business people and you cultivate your network, it can be a very useful tool for business to consumer lawyers, too.

      One of LinkedIn’s main benefits is being able to see who is connected to whom and to leverage your connections and your connections’ connections. But, just like cultivating any other relationship, it takes time and effort.

  • Jay

    The best thing about Linked in, for me, is keeping contact information updated. When I get a business card I can scan it with Cardmunch (now owned by Linked in) it goes into my Iphone contact list along with the Cardmunch app list; it syncs with my Outlook contacts; I can invite the new contact to Linkedin; and when that contact changes job, or phone numbers on Linkedin it all automatically updates throughout my contact lists. Also, if I go to have lunch with a contact that I have not seen in a while and I may have forgotten what they look like, Linkedin has a picture for me and updates on the business activities so I can have more directed small talk.

  • http://lawbizcoo.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/lawbizcoo_iolta_trust-accounting/ Peggy Gruenke

    Allison – thanks for the great information. I am preparing to teach a LinkedIn class to the young lawyers at the Cincinnati Bar Association and will incorporate these new features into the presentation. I have read your book. I wish we would know when the new profile design will be available to the common, everyday users. I am hoping the new company page updates encourages more firms to set-up a robust company page for their firm.

    And I learned something new – the LinkedIn Search Updates – Signal feature. Not sure why they call it Signal.

    My experience working with attorneys and their LinkedIn profiles is the effectiveness of incorporating their blog – the number of people responding, looking at their profile and truing into connections has been interesting to see evolve. Can’t wait until LinkedIn releases the new blog integration.