In the first section of LinkedIn for Lawyers we talked about your profile pictures, banner, summary and job descriptions.  Now let’s talk about how to use LinkedIn on a regular basis.

The first thing to do is to connect with people.  I am assuming most people reading this are not new to LinkedIn, so you probably already have many contacts.  My advise is to not simply connect to anyone who has a pulse.  There must be a reason to connect.  For years I practiced the “Coffee, Meal, or Beer Rule” for LinkedIn, which meant I did not link to people I had not yet met in real life.  I do not look at this social media platform as a place to spam and broadcast (although it is becoming that for many people), thus this is not about how many people you are connected with, but the genuine nature of the relationships.

Some lawyers are worried about having connections to clients and other key contacts on the LInkedIn platform, as they fear competitors could mine their list and steal clients.  First, you do not have to have you connection list be public, and secondly, just knowing a name and company does not mean they can steal the client.  You have to trust your relationships with the people in your network.  If you are so bad at making and cultivating relationships that you worry about another lawyer calling is enough for your clients to jump ship, then you have other things you should be focusing on.  Do not worry about using this tool. It has become a commonly used tool for people in business, and as I have said before, the practice of law is a business and you have to treat it like one.

When sending an invite to connect on LInkedIn be sure to include a personal note.  The standard default that LInkedIn provides in cold and impersonal, and since you are inviting people who you have met, or otherwise realize there is a two way reason to be connected, you should take the time to write a sentence or two that is personalized to that individual.

Now, lets talk about posting.  When you make a post to LinkedIn, not everyone sees it. What people see on LinkedIn is controlled by an algorithm, and thus it is not guaranteed that anyone who follows you will see your posts.  It depends on when they log on, how many others have liked or commented on your post, and the type of information they have previously shown an interest. Because of this making a post once a month will do you little good, as you will only show up on the feed of a few people.

I recommend that lawyers post once or twice a week. You can do more if that matches with your personality, but less than once a week is futile in a world where out of sight is out of mind.

But what should you post?  That is up to you. Again, go look at what people you admire are posting and share things that match your area of expertise.  You can write small pieces of actionable content, post links to articles or videos, etc….  But whatever you do, keep it to business. LinkedIn is rarely the place to show your cat or the burrito you ate at lunch. My rule of thumb is to provide value and not to only post things about the services you offer. And let it be more value and less of a commercial.

Once you get into the habit of posting to LinkedIn, others will see your content.  But the other part is liking, commenting, and sharing what other post.  Many people never do this, but likes, comments, and shares are the social capital of LinkedIn.  More people will see posts when they are liked.  Comments are event more powerful.  And a share send the message to the person who posted the original content that you find it smart.  All social media sites are set up for people to get that feeling of success when others acknowledge their content.  If you do this, they will know and they will remember it.  Now, do not like everything, and do not comment on all things someone posts.  That is too much.  Be sincere and save these likes and comments for things people say that stand out.  Think of it this way, if you posted something and another person said “good point”… how would you feel?  Humans like the “Attaboy” feeling.  Do not over think this.  Give a little praise when it is deserved and you will stand out in a sea of noise.

LinkedIn is a tool. Owing a tool means nothing if you do not use it, but you have to use it in the correct ways.