Part 1: LinkedIn Basics, and Getting Them Right
The way people buy is changing
The way we buy products and services has been changing for many years, increasingly moving online. This trend has only been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic - where we've had little choice to do anything else!
With 85% of consumers conducting online research before making a decision, it’s likely that anyone you wish to engage with for work purposes, be it a prospective client or a prospective new employee will research both your firm and you personally online prior to engaging with you directly.
So now more than ever, if you want to make the right impression, it’s vital to understand how to develop and use your online brand to demonstrate your skills and experience within your area of law and to enhance your credibility.
Your personal online brand
Essentially, your online brand is what pops up when someone Googles your name.
Like it or not you already have an online brand, whether that’s your Facebook page, blogs you’ve written, news articles you’ve featured in, or online reviews – good and bad. Your prospective employees or business contacts will already be making judgments about you based upon whatever is... or equally what isn’t currently online to see.
Google yourself… what comes up?
So, you have a choice, do you put effort into shaping and influencing your personal brand to make it work for you? Or do you let the hand of fate decide what searchers see?
Taking control over what people see
Your personal brand must be aligned with your firm’s, corporate brand, but it should also be personal to you. People like to see the human side of a company, and your potential new hires, for example, will be particularly interested in who they might be working with.
LinkedIn is the most widely used social platform for business in the UK, therefore getting your profile fit for purpose is crucial. There are two key things to consider when creating an effective profile:
- Getting found by the people you want to find you
- Making the right impression when they do
Getting found - Keywords
To help your profile be easily found it’s important to blend in the important keywords relating to your professional specialism and geographical locations throughout your profile.
So, decide on what those keywords should be and include them throughout your profile, for the LinkedIn algorithms to pick up, and promote your profile in searches.
Making the right impression – Get your profile up to scratch
- Your headline at the top of your profile: many people make the mistake of simply putting their job title here. Far better, describe what you do so that in an instant anyone who doesn’t know you will understand broadly what you are about. For example: Associate Family Lawyer specialising in children matters in Edinburgh and Glasgow
- Your photo: You must have one! Make it a head and shoulders shot in business attire most appropriate for your market. No holiday snaps, sunglasses, or pets. Oh, and smile, look approachable.
- Background banner: This could either be a corporate banner in line with your firm’s branding, or something that is appropriate to your market, for example, an eye-catching picture of the city you work in or something reflecting your particular area of law.
- Location: Don’t put where you live but where you work or where you mainly do business.
- Contact information: Make sure this is all up to date so that you are easy to find and contact. Consider adding your phone number, email address, and any other social profiles you use for work, e.g. Twitter.
Next up a bit more detail...
About – Your Personal Profile
This is an extremely important section to get right. It’s your opportunity to tell your target audience more about you, what you do and what makes you unique. Key points to bear in mind are:
- No corporate blurb - this is about you.
- Do a bit of research. How can you stand out in comparison to your peers and competitors?
- Putting yourself in the shoes of prospective employees or clients, what would they want to know about you? What can you tell them that would make them seriously consider working with you?
- Talk about your experience and areas of expertise. Share facts and figures and examples if you can – but keep it brief, easy to read through and be mindful of sensitive information
- Show a bit of your personality
- Never write it in the 3rd person
- Blend in your keywords
- If you would like people to get in touch with you, end with a call to action telling them how they can contact you.
If you’re looking for more inspiration LinkedIn provides some helpful profile examples
Featured (previously called Rich Media)
This section is an opportunity to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Upload videos, webcasts, your own or colleague’s blogs, slide decks etc here. It’s a great way to build your credibility as an expert in your field.
LinkedIn provides some helpful advice about what to upload and how to do it.
According to LinkedIn users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn. So, don’t neglect this section!
- Fill in your relevant roles – a minimum of 3 roles required to secure your ‘Allstar’ rating on LinkedIn.
- This section shouldn’t read like a CV with a list of responsibilities. Instead, bear in mind who you’re aiming to appeal to, give a succinct description of what you did in each role.
- Take the opportunity to blend in with your keywords again.
List your key skills in this section and then to get the most relevant ones endorsed by as many people as possible. You can ask your colleagues and other contacts to help you get started here.
A high level or endorsements will not only enhance your chances of coming up in a relevant keyword search but also impress the reader when they have found you.
Recommendations provide social proof that you can do what you say you can. Think about how many times you have looked at online reviews before proceeding with booking a restaurant or a holiday etc, so it’s important to make sure that you have current and relevant recommendations.
Make a regular habit of asking relevant people to recommend you on LinkedIn. The best time to do this of course is at the point of ‘maximum positivity’, which is likely to be on the completion of a successful piece of work.
Equally, it’s important to give as well as take and, providing your firm’s policy allows for this, offer to provide recommendations for others. You can request and give recommendations by clicking the ‘more’ button at the top of a connection’s profile.
Volunteering, languages, qualifications etc.
There are many other sections to your profile that you could potentially fill in. Complete as many as you can. Even if they’re not directly work-related, they all serve to provide a rounded and human profile. People like people who are like them, so maximise the chances of someone finding some common ground with you.
You can add new sections to your profile at any time by going into your profile view and clicking on ‘add profile section’
What's next for your LinkedIn
These are the core basis for producing a LinkedIn profile that is going to work for you not against you. This is however just the jumping-off point.
Take your LinkedIn profile to the next level with Part 2: Content and Engagement on LinkedIn and Where to Start. Good luck!