Getting Started: Effective Use of LinkedIn[R]

Article excerpt

More than 55 million users see the value of LinkedIn. For some, their use is limited to adding a few proJL file items and then accepting invitations to connect with friends or colleagues. Others though, are making full use of LinkedIn's suite of tools to engage clients, network with stakeholders or connect with potential clients.

The majority (two-thirds) of LinkedIn users are decision makers or influence purchasing. In late 2009, the number of attorneys with profiles on LinkedIn surpassed one million. So whether you are an individual looking to network with peers, or a firm seeking business development opportunities, there are ways to use LinkedIn more effectively. With only a small percentage of the attorneys taking full advantage of what the service has to offer, it is quick and easy for you to get ahead of the curve. Here are a few simple steps to get you started:

* Create or Optimize Your Profile--On your profile page, the percentage of completeness is displayed on the right-hand site. Get this number up to 75 percent by plugging in the information they recommend. Add a photo. This is an easy way to demonstrate to other users that you are more serious about social media. Also, add your past jobs and schools. Even if you don't include a lot of detail under each position, these criteria will connect you to other networks.

* Add Contacts--You can add connections by importing contacts from your address book. If you have already done this, then search for new contacts by name, company or email address. Don't hesitate to invite someone to connect and use that "people you may know" box. Most people are on LinkedIn for the same reasons as you, and will accept your invite if they are active users.

* Post Status Updates--Try to provide updates a few times each week. These should be a mix of personal thoughts, work-related updates and article posts. The updates are a good way to stay on your contacts' radar. My personal opinion is to not add your Twitter posts to LinkedIn's network updates. People can follow you on Twitter if they want that stream.

* Find & Join a Few Groups--There are plenty of regional, corporate, peer or interest groups out there. Engaging with new groups provides access to knowledge, contacts and discussions with like-minded professionals and potential clients.

* Answer Q&A--Browse the questions by category based on your own experience or interest. If you can provide a helpful answer that has not already been provided, do so. …