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How Lawyers Can Use LinkedIn More Effectively

I joined LinkedIn in February 2008. That means that I'm now approaching my four year anniversary of not knowing how I am supposed to use this service to make it productive in some way (with one exception, which I will discuss below). 

I have tried various things on LinkedIn through the years. For a short time I tried to actively grow my number of connections because, well, I don't actually know why. I thought that was what you were supposed to do, I guess. Now I have 636 connections (thank you very much), but I don't feel much more connected to the legal world from this effort. Sometimes I click to see who has been "viewing my profile," but that hasn't done much for me, either. 

In Texas Lawyer, Adrian Dayton offers "5 LinkedIn Tips That Lawyers May Not Know." None of these tips are game-changers but I found some of them to be helpful. First, Dayton notes that one of the limitations of LinkedIn is that you cannot send a message to a person on LinkedIn if you are not connected to them. You can circumvent this, however, by seeing which groups that person belongs to and then joining that group. As Dayton explains, members of the same group can send messages to each other even if they are not directly connected. Good to know.

Dayton also suggests that LinkedIn users who wish to grow their connections should remember to import their Outlook contacts periodically, as more than 1 million people join LinkedIn each week -- likely including some of your own contacts. For all of Dayton's tips, read the full article here.

On the topic of LinkedIn groups touched on by Dayton, let me throw out one more idea that has been the most useful thing I've done on LinkedIn to date: start your own group on LinkedIn.

When I launched my publication (Securities Docket, which covers SEC enforcement and securities litigation issues) back in 2008, I also created two new groups on LinkedIn. One of these was a general group called the Securities Litigation and Enforcement group, which is open to everyone, and the other was the SEC Enforcement Alumni group, limited to alumni of the SEC's enforcement divsion. These groups started with one member each (me) and now have over 1,300 and 300 members, respectively.

Starting your own group lets you target the specific type of people you would like to gather in one place, and, best of all, lets you be at the center of that group. As the creator of these groups, for example, I can send every member an email message about an upcoming event, moderate group discussions and select key news sources for the group to review. If there is a specific group of people that you would like to assemble and be involved with, creating a LinkedIn group can be an effective way to accomplish this.

Posted by Bruce Carton on August 24, 2011 at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)

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