Linkedin for Lawyers: 10 Ways to Optimize Your Profile

4

I have taken the most practical points from my Intro to Social Media presentation that I have given at several law firms and turned them into a step-by-step guide to getting the most out of your Linkedin profile. While written specifically with lawyers in mind, any professional will find the guide helpful for improving your online networking persona.

You can download a free copy of Linkedin for Lawyers: Basics, Power Tips and Caveats, from my Infoworks! web site.

I hope you find it helpful!

My Moving Experience – Or, What I Learned on My Summer Vacation

ø

I’ve been quiet on the blogging and social media front recently as I have been busy with purchasing a condo, getting financing in the post-financial crisis world, and then packing, moving, settling in — all during a killer rash of hot weather. This was my first home purchase, and my most significant experience dealing with professional service professionals — the real estate lawyer, the mortgage professional and the real estate agent — and, it wasn’t good. All shall remain nameless. And in the interest of saving you from a long, dull tail of woe, let me just summarize it briefly.

The whole experience was a real-life reminder of how real-world professionals seem to lose sight of the fact that this is my biggest transaction in life so far. This is very important to me. I’ve never done it before, and your job is to get it done seamlessly, with my comfort level intact, and with the impression that this is important to you as well.

In the modern world of the mortgage approval process, I dealt with people by e-mail, fax and telephone — never a real person in real life. Processes were cumbersome, repetitive, and misinterpreted. Documents had errors were incomplete, and deadlines were missed, more than once. Even my lawyer didn’t want to see me until the closing. And everyone talked in industry jargon and legalese. No relationships were made (with the exception of the real estate agent, who was a real person who responded when called upon). It was merely a transaction in which I was the grist for the mill.

No one ever offered the: “here’s what’s going to happen, this is what you can expect, here’s a document to help you understand the process.” Not even a “check this page on our web site for more information.”  The tagline on the bank’s emails was a clever play on words about how important the customer is. Ha!

Professionals beware. It’s old hat to you… but it’s often the most important thing in your customer’s life. Treat it that way and you will be remembered. I realize that a personal meeting at the start of the process (with both the mortgage broker and the real estate lawyer) to describe what will happen is likely time consuming, but it would have changed the experience from a faceless gauntlet of hoops to jump through and mysteries to unravel, into a personal/professional relationship with a much greater chance for satisfaction and referral.

Living and working in the realm of professional services marketing, there is much lip service to all the proper behaviors. But how do we make sure that we don’t just talk the talk, but actually walk the walk? A good reminder for me. How about you?

Communication Tip: Fight Capitalization Creep

1

Do your firm’s communications suffer from capitalization creep? It’s an insidious virus that infects the writing of many a professional — lawyers chief among them — resulting in an over abundance of capitalized words on a page. Legal contract writing encourages this behavior of capitalizing words as a way to personify or make them formal subjects of a document. Writers will often capitalize a word to give it extra importance. But don’t allow that logic to creep into your marketing writing.

A handy weapon in the fight against capitalization creep in your firm’s public facing communications is a style guide. You can develop your own in-house style guide as a way to define a preferred usage for firm-authored articles, web bios and marketing materials. If you don’t have a style guide, the AP Stylebook is a great place to start. You can either use it verbatim, or you can use it as your base guide and make exceptions or additions to it over time. (The AP Stylebook is one of my favorite reference books of all time.)

A Style Guide To the Rescue

A style guide is helpful not only to keep everyone on the same page using consistent style, but it is also great support when you need to tell a specific attorney why you keep lower-casing his or her capitalized terms.

It can sometimes be difficult especially for a younger professional to tell a senior attorney that his “Fellow” should be a “fellow” or that her “Chair” should be a “chair.” However, a nicely worded e-mail stating that you’ve made the following edits to the article “to maintain consistency with the rest of the web site and to adhere to AP style” almost always gets your point across and accepted.

Another good reason to limit capitalization: It’s much easier to read a sentence or paragraph that isn’t fraught with capitalized words. Lots of capitalized words make a paragraph clunky and slow down reading.

One big trouble area especially when preparing attorney bios is titles. Formal titles are capitalized when used immediately before a name, not when they are used alone or separated from the name by commas.

Common Capitalization Creep Culprits

Here are a few examples of the most common types of phrases I find myself editing (de-capitating)…

  • He is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Brown Company.
    He is chairman of the board of directors of Brown Company.
  • Mary is Editor in Chief of the Technology News Quarterly, and a Contributing Writer to several IP Newsletters.
    Mary is editor in chief of the Technology News Quarterly, and a contributing writer to several IP newsletters.
  • He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Ceramics and a Master of Science degree in Chemistry.
    He has a B.A. in ceramics and an M.S. in chemistry.

Capitalization is just one battle you will win armed with the AP Stylebook. It’s a great reference for any communicator and solves any moments of indecision you may encounter on the job. The Associated Press also has an online version of the guide that you can use with a site license and customize to define your firm’s or organization’s specific style preferences.

Making the Case for a Firm-Branded Twitter Presence

9

A recent analysis (by me) of the largest 100 law firms in the Boston area (as compiled by the Boston Business Journal) revealed that merely 15% of law firms have taken steps to set up a firm-branded Twitter account, and fewer than 15% are actively tweeting. Why would a law firm have a Twitter account? Why not? You are already spending lots of time creating and approving content for public consumption. Twitter is just another (quick and easy and highly effective) way to disseminate that information.

While Twitter is designed for use by individuals (it really does work best when people use these tools to engage in real and meaningful markets of conversation) don’t overlook the value Twitter can bring to your overall marketing effort in the form of a firm-branded account.

Here are 5 quick, off-the-top-of-my-head reasons why your organization (law firm or not) should tweet.

1. Protect your brand. The most important reason to start a Twitter account is to claim your name — so that you own it, not someone else. Remember the domain name gold rush of the 1990s? Twitter name prospecting hasn’t taken off to the same extent as domain name squatting, but wouldn’t it be a drag if someone else had your preferred Twitter handle? If for no other reason than protecting your brand or domain name, it’s a good idea to sign up now. Your Twitter user name can be 15 characters long. For many corporate or law firm names it’s not long enough, so claim a street version of your name. One version of your name might work better than another in the Twittersphere, so consider carefully before you commit. (See what others are doing by clicking on this Twitter list I created: Law Firms That Tweet.)

2. People are listening. At the beginning, Twitter feels like the sound of one hand clapping. It takes a while to build followers and to flock with your “friends of a feather.” And while it often seems that no one is listening to what you have to say, know that they are. Sure, many of your followers will never see or read your tweets. But know that some are paying attention. They don’t always answer back, but your messages are being received. And, among the Twitterati are journalists scouring Twitter for trends and story ideas for their next pitch meeting.

3. Search engines eat it up. Even if you doubt that people are listening to your Tweets, know that search engines are. Starting and using a Twitter account properly can be an effective distribution channel and a great way to get content quickly indexed by search engines and in front of relevant audiences. Google rapidly absorbs tweets into its index, so, what you tweet can quickly show up in searches. When set up properly, your firm’s Twitter account can be an important step in an “Own your name on Google campaign” — working to own all the page-one results on a Google search of your firm’s name. (But that’s a topic for another time.)

4. The best way to learn it is to do it. Starting a firm-branded Twitter presence is a safe and easy way to start. It is an excellent way for you and your marketing staff to lead by example and to become better able to help your professionals embark on their own Twitter branding parade. Once you and your firm understand Twitter a little better, you’ll begin to see how you might use it to reach and track moods and happenings in a specific industry niche or for a specific practice group. Share what your doing with others in the firm — individuals will learn by watching what you are doing.

5. Build your Twitter infrastructure and network now, for when you need it later. Twitter has some interesting widgets (and developer tools) that allow you to easily embed Twitter feeds or selected tweets into any web site or blog you publish. So, you can easily create a tweet-on-demand content management system to report by cellphone direct to your web site on a specific breaking news event with up-to-the-minute reporting. It could be a great tool to use in a crisis. Your firm-branded Twitter page can be a valuable extension of your web site, and a key component of your overall PR and web visibility effort. As you build your Twitter following, you build a valuable and relevant network you can listen to and count on to keep you in the know or to help get your message out.

Want to know more?
I’m happy to discuss your Twitter and social media presence over lunch to help you better understand how your firm can best take advantage of these new networking and web publishing tools. Contact me here, and follow me on Twitter.

Want help or training?
Let me know if you would like help getting set up and started right on Twitter. I can help you select a user name, and set up a robust password (important!), discuss the types of things your firm can and should be tweeting, show you how to do it, including how to use hash marks, when to direct message people, how to re-tweet, and other do’s, dont’s and best practices. And, I can show you some examples of the real benefits that can result from an active Twitter presence.

Related previous post: Twitter 101: Twitter Is for Listening

Also, just found this related post from Lawyer KM discussing the AmLaw 100 on Twitter trend (which isn’t much of a trend) from about a year ago…

Following the LMA National Conference via Attendee Twitter Posts

ø

The Legal Marketing Association National Conference in Denver is all a-buzz with attendees “tweeting” tips, comments, reactions and shout-outs. (I wonder if anyone is paying full attention). The phenomenon has produced, I believe from one Twitter user’s report, over 10,000 tweets and counting. Beyond the mere spectacle of it all, there is plenty of useful information piling up for anyone who wants to sift and scroll through the tweets.

By using the Twitter “hash code” of #LMA10, you can use the Twitter search tool to search for all posts using this identifying marker (users add this hash code to their Tweets to help others find information about the conference).

Or you can just click on this shortcut link: #LMA10 Tweets.

For some tips on breaking down the pile with specific searches, see this Legal Water Cooler post.

The Best Advice That Law Firms Rarely Follow

ø

Jeffrey Miller and Jill Kohn‘s article, The Top Five Reasons Why Clients Leave and How You Can Prevent It over on the LawMarketing Portal is a worthwhile read for anyone providing professional services. It’s a stark reminder of the mantra, “It’s all about the client.” Can you honestly know if your clients are happy with your service if you never ask them?

According to the authors, the top five reasons clients leave are:

  1. Cost and Billing
  2. Lack of Response
  3. Incompetence
  4. Not Understanding Client’s Needs
  5. Personality Conflict.

The article also offers tips for handling each situation and prevention strategies such as client check-ins and client satisfaction surveys. Promoting good communication between client and service provider and working to understanding the “value” that they’re looking for from you — and delivering it — is key to a long, happy relationship.

The Best Advice… The article reinforced one of the good take-aways from the LMA New England Chapter’s in-house counsel panel in November. When asked during question-and-answer time if they ever had a law firm ask for a client feedback interview, the four in-house counsel on the panel all said no, but that they would welcome it and thought it would be a very good thing. So, in other words, if you are looking for a way to differentiate yourself from the pack, taking the time and effort to do client satisfaction interviews can go a long way in improving your relationship, demonstrating your willingness to better understanding your client, and ultimately providing better service.

I’m certainly not an expert on this topic, but since the time I first entered the legal marketing space and started attending legal marketing seminars, the importance of client feedback interviews/surveys has been repeated and repeated as the single most effective thing you can do to get closer to your clients. And yet many firms are still not doing it. Those who have implemented client satisfaction programs have told me that it is generally very well received by the client, and it often leads to additional work.

Learn more here about: client satisfaction.

So Begins My 10th Year of Blogging!

3

Put on your blogging cap!Somehow I became aware of the fact that this month marks my 9th anniversary as a blogger. I’ve learned a lot along the way, and I’ve shared a lot of it here. Anyhow, I think it is a milestone worth mentioning.

I started out on the Blogger.com platform and had several blogs there before settling in here at Amy Campbell’s Web Log. See what one of my earliest blog posts looked like here at Content Loop — it’s my first rant.

Web Effect: Turning the Mass Media Model on its Head

It’s really amazing how on target it is today!

To all the bloggers out there that helped me learn by watching, reading and doing, ‘thanks!’

The Benefits of Blogging, Explained

6

Back at the start of the holidays I was interviewed for and quoted in an article on attorney blogging that ran in the Boston Business Journal and Portfolio.com. The article was titled Blogged down or Legal Nightmare depending on which publication it appeared in, and it weighed some of the benefits and challenges lawyers face in maintaining legal blogs. You can read that article here and here.

Ever since it ran, I’ve been meaning to follow up with more explanatory material. Here’s my take…

The Benefits of Blogging

Blogs can be a very effective way for professionals to raise their visibility and position themselves as accessible, helpful experts on a specific topic or niche practice. By writing about and commenting on and linking to other useful information in an area of expertise, a lawyer can help to demonstrate his/her knowledge around that subject and maybe even become a “thought leader.”

Blogs have an advantage over typical web sites in that blogs have a built-in syndication feed. Each time you publish a blog post, a news feed is sent out automatically that alerts the search engines and news aggregator sites. (A traditional web site waits for the search engines to come to it.)

So, the more often you post, the more attractive your blog becomes to search engines — not necessarily for its frequency, but for the collection of relevant information you’ve amassed around related keywords. Unfortunately, this is also what leads to a lot of the junk blogs out there. For instance, a lot of personal injury attorneys are notoriously bad bloggers that methodically regurgitate verdict and settlement reports from news sources in order to create a blog post that uses lots of keywords around, say, motorcycle accidents, or cerebral palsy. Then, as a last paragraph, they add on a statement about if you need a motorcycle accident attorney, contact us. That type of blogging is not flattering for the profession and some of it borders on plagerism.

Blogs become extremely effective when they provide “information of value” in the form of original material and commentary. If you can write something extremely relevant and informative, you will gain the benefit of viral marketing — where other web sites and bloggers will comment on and link to your blog post, as well as share it on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and the like.

It’s tempting for some to use the technology of blogs to gain the attention of search engines. But the real success in blogging comes from creating conversations, demonstrating your expertise.

Most lawyers I know are afraid of starting a blog. They are afraid because they don’t feel they have the time to do it, and they think anyone will be able to post crazy stuff on their blog. And they don’t really understand what a blog is. Blogs are still a little bit of a mystery.

Probably the best way for lawyers to use blogs is with help from the in-house marketing department and/or from a web marketing consultant. This way the attorney can concentrate on the content of the blog and allow the blog expert to setup and take advantage of the technology, execute and publish the posts, and provide ongoing direction and support for maximum impact.

Social Media — A Definition

5

I’ve been doing an “Introduction to Social Media for Attorney Marketing” luncheon seminar, and one thing that people have told me they really appreciate is that I start out by giving a definition of social media. We can’t seem to read 3 pages on the web without encountering the phrase “social media,” but do we really know what it is? Here’s how I define it.

Social Media Defined

Social media are nothing more than a special class of web sites — second-generation web sites, if you will. Think of first-generation web sites as those that are created by an authority of some sort (the New York Times, WebMD, Smith & Smith law firm) that publish information to the internet for you to come and read using a “top-down,” one-to-many publishing model. Second-generation, social media web sites, by contrast, are platforms that provide users the ability and tools to create and publish their own mini web sites or web pages. The content on these sites is not created from on high, but created by the participants — from the “bottom up” — using a many-to-many model. We become active participants in creating, commenting, rating and recommending content rather than passive consumers of it.

Social media sites have 3 defining characteristics.

  • Majority of content is user generated
  • High degree of participation/interaction between users
  • Easily integrates with other sites

By this definition then, social media platforms include things like blogs (such as Blogger, WordPress, Typepad), social networking (Facebook, Linkedin), social bookmarking (Delicious, Stumble Upon) news sharing (Digg, Yahoo!  Buzz) and photo and video sharing sites (Flickr, Vimio and YouTube). These are, of course, just a few examples.

As time goes on, these categories are blurring. In addition, traditional media (such as the New York Times) are enabling social media capabilities within their traditional publishing models creating a new kind of hybrid.

Hope that helps. If anyone has anything to add to this definition, please feel free to comment.

Discussion of Attorney Advertising and Ethics in Light of Web 2.0

ø

Over at the Lawyerist is a good post discussing the implications of attorney advertising rules and ethics guidelines in light of new web technologies such as Linkedin. There don’t seem to be any clear answers, but some important things to think about… see the post at: Legal marketing ethics in a Web 2.0 world, by Leora Maccabee.

I’d appreciate additional conversation/comments on this topic.

Thanks!

Twitter 101: Twitter Is For Listening

5

Twitter
I’ve been dabbling in Twitter for the past year trying to evaluate it for use by attorneys for marketing purposes, as well as for my own curiosity. Initially, I was skeptical as it seemed to be dominated by self-promoting “shouters” (I think I am borrowing that term from Kevin O’Keefe). And it still is. It is also dominated by persons who tweet constantly about Twitter, just the way bloggers used to blog only about blogging. This seems to be the natural progression of new media — the early adopters use the new medium to talk about the new medium.

Twitter Is For Listening

However, despite all the self-promotion and social mediabation, Twitter has some real benefits. I used to advise lawyers (as long as 2 months ago) to not worry about Twitter, at least until they have completed and mastered Linkedin. But now I’m recommending that you should pay attention. Even if you don’t see how you could ever use Twitter in business, use it to “listen” to the marketplace, or your peers, or your competitors (or your clients!) by using Twitter search, and by building your network. As more people start to use social media tools, they turn from talking about the tools, to actually talking about their business.

The other reason you should jump onto the Twitter bandwagon is that, if used properly, it can tremendously benefit your visibility on the web and search engine optimization. Grab your name or keyword specific handle now. Figure out how to use it later. Or have your someone teach you, coach you, or assist you in mining the benefits of Twitter. Until then, keep listening to me via this blog, or, follow me on Twitter at: amyblog.

“Listening” via Twitter is how I found this presentation: Twitter 101 for Business, via Rex Gradeless.

Read more posts like this on: Amy Campbell’s Web Log.

What This Blog Is About

1

tagcloud

Here’s a visual representation (or tag cloud) of what this blog is about. It was created using Wordle.net, a tag cloud generator. It works with any web page URL or you can input your own text. Try it. It’s fun. : )

Alternative Fees Beat: Who Is Doing It? and How?

2

This is just a quick pointer to Jim Hassett’s blog, Legal Business Development, where he has released the initial findings from his survey of AmLaw 100 firms on alternative billing arrangements. There’s been lots of talk about alternative fees, but Hassett has been busy getting answers. And now, without further ado, I give you over to Jim

Click on: Alternative fees survey

The New Marketing Is the Old Marketing — Just Different Tools

2

Social media and new technologies are disrupting the marketing world, and yet the basics of selling professional services still start with building awareness. People buy from people that they know, like and trust. This video has been making the rounds, but I had to post it here because it makes such a great point — watch it here.


Thanks to the Legal Water Cooler where I last saw it.

The first part references the legendary “man in the chair” ad designed in 1958 for McGraw-Hill publications.

Social Media for Attorney Marketing: Recommended Reading

1

I just gave a presentation on Introduction to Social Media for Attorney Marketing, and these are the recommended reading links I offered for further exploration (with brief notes on why I included each link). They are posted here for those who attended the presentation as well as those who did not. Click away…

• Where To Focus With Social Networking
September 22, 2009 – Excellent article just published this week that supports everything we talked about today

• Using the Web to Network, By Olivia Clarke, Chicago Lawyer
March 6, 2009 – Good exploration of the generational approaches to social media among lawyers

• Toot Your Own Horn: The Fine Art of Self Promotion
July 2009 – Contains a list of the types of things that are newsworthy for attorneys and fair game for promoting via firm news items, blog posts, Linked in status line updates, twitter tweets, etc.

• Networks for Counsel 2009 Study
August 2009 – Leader Networks conducted the second annual international study of lawyers use of social media, conducted on behalf of Martindale-Hubbell

• Twitter Explained (1 funny, 1 serious)
March 2009 – My blog post linking to a funny video from the Daily Show about Twitter and Social Media (meant for a laugh), and a more serious post from Carol Elefant: To Twitter or Not To Twitter? That Is the Question for Lawyers

• Is Social Media a Fad?
August 2009 – A short film with the amazing statistics that tell the social media story (despite the drama and hyperbole) in promotion of the book, Socialnomics

UPDATE: Can’t stop adding to this list! Here’s another good article…

• Top 20 Ways to Quickly Becoming a Recognized Subject Matter Expert on LinkedIn

… and more!

• Social Networking and the New Workplace – A more in-depth look at the risks and rewards of social media at work from a lawyer’s perspective.

• Drafting Trouble-Free Social Media Policies

Legal Marketing Lessons from the Recession

ø

Law360 has compiled an 80-page white paper on lessons for law firms from the financial crisis. One section is devoted to business development that outlines creative approaches that are on-target for readers of this blog. Here’s a look at the marketing articles you’ll find if you download this free paper (which is only about 1/3 of the document which also covers management and cost-cutting topics)…

Getting Creative With Business Development

  • Windows for building business in the downturn
  • Experts share secrets to cross-selling clients
  • In-house counsel urge firms to push specialties
  • Social networking spurs firms to log on or lose out
  • Upheaval forces firms to rethink markeing
  • Experts say firms should refine ads, not abandon them
  • In-house counsel seek value through RFPs
  • Study finds firms should weigh costs of RFPs.

To download the PDF, click on: Law360 Presents Lessons For Law Firms

Concurrent with the release of the whitepaper, Law360 is launching four new news sections today, covering the practice areas of Appellate, Contract, Corporate Finance and International Trade.

Marketing Legal Services the Free Way

2

FreeThe ever-thoughtful and social-media-savvy Doug Cornelius has a great blog post, Free and Law Firms, commenting on the book Free: The Future of a Radical Price and how it applies to the marketing of legal services. The book is written by Chris Anderson, the same guy who brought us Long Tail, The, Revised and Updated Edition: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More, a book that neatly describes new markets as shaped by the internet. Read Doug’s post, then order the book, and then start thinking about how it might impact the business of law firms.

Also, take a look at these links offered by Cornelius, and see how they might impact or shape how you approach, offer and sell your legal services.

Thanks for a great post Doug. Anderson’s last book did much to shape my thinking about marketing on the web, so I’ve ordered ‘Free’ for express delivery so I can read on my summer vacation.

UPDATE: Since posting the above I found another post by Jordan Furlong on the same subject: Free and the GP.

Creating a Firm Policy for Social Networking?

1

As interest in social networking continues to grow, firms are recognizing many of the benefits, and then asking how can we control what our employees do with these viral tools? I know several firms personally that are working to adopt “social media policies” or social networking policies that include guidelines for employee use of collaborative web sites such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and blogs — both for personal and professional use.

The best resource I’ve found to help tackle the drafting of a firm policy is from Jaffe Associates. They offer a Social Media Policy Template that will provide you with a giant step in the right direction. You can download the template for your own use.

Thinking Seriously About Social Media

ø

Before this blog settled in on law firm marketing topics, it was more of a new media blog. Whether you love Twitter or hate it, here are a couple recent posts that take a bigger view of social media and explain why we should pay attention to these tools and how they are shaping our lives and events. Check them out.

Clay Shirky: How Twitter Can Make History

Q&A with Clay Shirky on Twitter and Iran

Am Law 200 Is Out for 2009

ø

The American Lawyer has published its annual listing of the top 200 law firms. They slice and dice it a few ways — by gross revenue, revenue per lawyer, profits per partner…

You’ll need to be a registered user to read much of the information, however, the lead article below is accessible to all. It reveals that conventional legal marketing wisdom hasn’t necessarily been the road to success during this economic downturn.

Where the Work Was
It wasn’t in New York — or at Am Law 100 firms. Think middle markets and out-of-favor practice areas.
The American Lawyer
By Amy Kolz
June 01, 2009

Reports of their demise, it turns out, were premature. For years, the regional firms that constitute much of the Second Hundred were told that they were exactly the wrong size: too big to compete with the narrow focus of boutiques and too small to match The Am Law 100’s national footprints and marquee names. But last year, as the financial sector began its meltdown, the Second Hundred’s slow-growth strategies were vindicated.

Read full article here: Where the work was.

Log in