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Most lawyers are apparently failing to harness the full potential of LinkedIn.

“When I look at lawyer profiles, one in five has a good profile,” says lawyer and social media expert Adrian Dayton. “Half don’t even have a picture…the vast majority are missing a summary: Who are you and why are you so good at what you do?”

It may seem obvious, but LinkedIn is a vital part of a lawyer’s social media strategy. After all, that is where all the business folks are.

“The other thing is that it’s a safe and controlled environment,” Dayton says. “There’s no risk of someone posting embarrassing pictures there. But that’s a double-edged sword. It’s a safe and sterile environment, yet on the other hand it’s the most boring of the (social media options).”

LinkedIn is where you can find people you have a reason to talk to. But Dayton said it’s not a great place to bump into someone as you would on the golf course.

Dayton should know. He wrote the book on LinkedIn – literally. His second book is called LinkedIn & Blogs for Lawyers: Building High Value Relationships in a Digital Age and came out January 2012.

At more than 800 million and more than 300 million users, respectively, Facebook and Twitter crush LinkedIn in terms of users (LinkedIn has about 135 million). Yet it is important to note that the biggest growth of LinkedIn has occurred in the last 18 months, Dayton said. In other words, it has reached a critical mass.

“It is not going anywhere,” Dayton said.

Unless you are about to retire, you better be on LinkedIn. “If you’re not, then according to the online professional world, you don’t exist,” Dayton said.

Helpful Hints for Harnessing the Power of LinkedIn

  • Get a good profile together. Say who you are and why you are good at what you do.
  • Join a few groups.
  • Change your headline from the default and mention what type of law you practice.
  • Share articles.
  • Ask questions to start discussions.
  • Use a blog in conjunction with LinkedIn.
  • Take advantage of the SlideShare application to share presentations.
  • Upload your contacts to LinkedIn.

“LinkedIn is not as nearly powerful on its own,” he said. So Dayton advocates using LinkedIn in conjunction with other social media platforms, such as your blog. While simply being on LinkedIn is better than having no LinkedIn presence at all, Dayton said law professionals should put some time into their profile and explore the various features that it has to offer. LinkedIn is not just a place to put a rundown of your resume. Get involved and get social.

About Author

John Majeski is a former contributor to Bigger Law Firm Magazine.

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