Effectively Using LinkedIn for Lawyers: Going Beyond Connecting and Turning LinkedIn Relationships into Better Introductions Part 3
This is the third article in a series about Linkedin, a lawyer's best friend. The first key to effectively using LinkedIn is to create a complete profile that best represents your expertise and experience in your field of practice. The second key is to develop your LinkedIn universe by adding the right contacts. The third key is to leverage those contacts and turn them into quality introductions. Before discussing that further, it’s important to understand the basics of LinkedIn connectivity.
Within LinkedIn, there are three levels of connectivity. Your first-degree connections are the people you know. They’re the ones who accepted your invitation to connect and you theirs.
Your second-degree connections are the people your first-degree connections know and are connected with on LinkedIn. For example, Bob Jones is a connection of mine. I see on LinkedIn that he knows a man named Scott Williams. Therefore, Scott would be a second-degree connection to me. If I know Bob and Bob knows Scott, would Bob make a quality introduction to Scott on my behalf? That’s the million-dollar question.
If I’m looking at John Smith’s profile, it might say 327 connections. Not only will it give you their names and titles, it will show you whether they’re first- or second-degree connections. Focus on the second-degree connections, as they’re the folks you might be interested in meeting. If they were 1st degrees, you’d already know them.
Once you click on your contacts “327” you will have two choices: You can scan through all 327 names to find the people you’d like to meet, or you can use the search feature (click the magnifying glass) to look for someone under a specific keyword. For example, type in the title “general counsel” and see what happens. The search numbers may go down from 327 to eight, but those eight might be the exact type of people you’re looking to meet. Amazing right? In five minutes, you just identified eight GCs that your contact may know.
When speaking on the topic of networking and LinkedIn I typically ask, “How many of you are on LinkedIn?” Nearly every hand in the audience will pop up. Then I ask, “How many of you are getting actual business from using LinkedIn?” After a pause, all of the hands slowly come down. This is unfortunate, however you have the opportunity to turn that around. By setting up a solid profile, adding your best contacts and being proactive with your network, there’s business waiting for you.