It is growing more and more misleading to refer to LinkedIn as a “social media platform”. Although it is one of the most popular platforms, it is far from simply a “social” tool. For all of us working in the legal industry, LinkedIn can actually be a powerful tool for us to use, when we apply it with purpose.

The American Bar Association suggests that we first establish our reasons for participating on LinkedIn. “Because my Marketing Director keeps telling me to…” is a great reason in my opinion! But here are a few more serious ideas of purpose:

  • Establishing your expertise, and sharing the expertise of others within our firm.
  • Seeking out strategic alliances to help build your client base.
  • Developing relationships with people in specific industries.
  • Gaining information about clients, competitors, and industries.
  • Maintaining contact with your real-world connections.

Once you establish your purpose, it serves as a baseline for your engagement on LinkedIn. Or, in simple terms, your purpose leads to a strategy so that you can establish a routine to get on and off the site, while making efficient use of your time. For instance, joining and creating groups, levering your articles and blogs through the publish feature, and sponsoring updates are all great ways to engage, depending on your purpose for using LinkedIn, and with whom you are striving to connect.

You’re here. You’re ready. So start with the basics. At Fraser Trebilcock, we  created a one-page document with tips for our attorneys to use while building a LinkedIn profile. The American Bar Association also offers some great thoughts on items to include in your profile – and why – along with how to build your strategic network on Linked In. An interesting side note, this ABA article was first published in November 2013, establishing the strategic groundwork for lawyers three years ago.

Now it’s time to answer the ultimate question: Will you be LinkedIn or Left Out?