Tag Archives: LinkedIn

Spontaneous Exclamations: LinkedIn etiquette

Adam Katz is a senior associate at Harrison & Held, LLP.  He concentrates his practice on federal & state tax matters, commercial finance, mergers & acquisitions, entity structure and formation, and non-profit law.  Adam can be reached at (312) 753-6110 or akatz@harrisonheld.com.  Comments on all posts are welcome!

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It is generally accepted that Facebook is in the process of taking over the world.  But before a giant, fire-breathing, robotic Mark Zuckerberg battles Godzilla and becomes our planetary overlord, let’s take a moment to talk about LinkedIn etiquette.

In the interest of being brief for a blog post, we can break this down into three categories: (i) portrait; (ii) content; and (iii) interaction.  Follow these easy steps on your way to achieving LinkedIn mastery (or just a convenient tool and a nicer looking page).

1.         Portrait – “My nose isn’t big. I just happen to have a very small head.” – Jimmy Durante. Everybody wants to look good, especially if they are posting a photo for the entire world to see.  However, while you may add to the quality of your LinkedIn profile page with a professional portrait, your profile really doesn’t need a photo.  Why?  To a significant portion of LinkedIn’s users’ dismay, this isn’t Facebook. LinkedIn is meant for professional networking as opposed to being an electronic yearbook in which you publish all of your personal exploits in or sometimes out of a bathing suit for the entire world to see.  Therefore, what’s most important is your professional credentials, not your face.

So if you have a professional portrait use it— it’ll make your LinkedIn page a more customizable extension of your profile page on your workplace’s website.  However, if you’re stuck cropping the better looking pictures of yourself from your latest trip to Cabo, don’t waste your time.  Drop the anxiety about posting a picture of your nose looking too big from your “bad side” and just don’t upload a photo.  It’s not necessary.  Focus on the content.

2.         Content – (insert hyperbole here). Simple: LinkedIn is your online resume, but you get more than one piece of paper to write it on.  Use this to your advantage.  Take your resume, insert it on your profile, and then expand on the details without being too verbose.   Whether you use your profile to network, acquire clients, job hunt, or whatever else, it’s a bonus to be able to convey to people exactly what you do.

When you meet people in a professional setting, much of the time they will briefly research your background and your LinkedIn profile will undoubtedly come up in a basic search.  As a result, since this profile is supposed to be analogous to your resume, avoid the excessive exaggeration.  How are you going to explain it later when your potential client asks you about the $300 billion  deal you quarterbacked one year out of law school, or what Anthony Bourdain was like when you were his sous-chef  (actually, bus-boy at the restaurant next door)?  Keep it simple, keep it honest.

3.         Interaction – This isn’t Facebook. While Facebook is admittedly a good networking tool, LinkedIn is excellent for professional networking.  Not only is LinkedIn a convenient online Rolodex to keep track of your network, but it’s an outlet to acquire introductions to virtually anybody you’d like to meet, so long as you are within a few connections of them.  You want to meet someone at XYZ Inc.?  Go on LinkedIn and search for everyone at XYZ Inc..  You will find that your college roommate went to high school with him and played on the same varsity badminton team.  There’s your foot in the door.  Bring your badminton racquet.

And that’s all there is to it.  Use LinkedIn wisely and it can add major convenience and value to your practice.  Treat it like Facebook and you won’t be the only one posting a bikini picture while simultaneously attempting to convince other professionals that you’re qualified to handle their 300 billion dollar deal.  If posting that picture is your move though, fair enough.  At least your nose doesn’t look too big.

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Leveraging Your Reputation: Two ways to be an expert online

Tom Ciesielka is president of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has about 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and midsize law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Association CLE programs. Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

There are various ways to become an expert through speaking, media appearances, and writing. Here are other two ways that you can become an expert, which will enhance your reputation even more:

Use LinkedIn. Join a LinkedIn group in the area in which you specialize and get involved in discussions and answer group members’ questions. And here’s something that will make you really stand out: start a discussion where you offer some proprietary information to the members. For instance, if you’ve published an article about how a particular law will help your members in their profession, or you’ve published an analysis of legal trends, then share that with the group.

An even more effective way to connect with group members and to raise your LinkedIn profile is to make a Top 10 list of something that will help them. If the information that you’re offering is specific and beneficial, they will want it. After you’ve created your list, let the group know by starting a discussion thread, and tell them to email you if they want a copy.

I’ve seen it work effectively: Several months ago, someone posted a message in a group that I belong to, saying that she created a checklist for fundraising, and asked people to e-mail her to get it. So many people contacted her and made comments below her post, that she is one of the most influential people in the group, and her profile has been at the top of the page as a key influencer for several months.

Create Videos. Many people post videos on YouTube or Vimeo and gain a following if their content is helpful. Think of tips or insights that you think people need to hear. First look at other videos and see what people are searching for and watching, and come up with effective search terms and content that will make your video attractive. If you’re not sure about how to create quality videos, see my tips that I’ve shared here before.

Overall, think about how the information and experience that you have can help others, and find the best outlets to express your expertise so that people will see that you’re an attorney to whom they should turn.

Leveraging Your Reputation: How to promote yourself

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and midsize law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs. Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

I think it’s safe to say that many people can’t stand attorneys who are obnoxious about self-promotion. How many attorneys have you met who were only interested in talking about themselves, and once they were done rattling off their accomplishments and shoving a business card in your face, they moved on to someone else who might help them?

Self-promotion is important, but you don’t want to be arrogant or sound like a sales pitch, so here are some ways to avoid being perceived negatively:

1) Make sure you have something worthwhile to say. Some people think that it’s important to stay in front of people at any cost, so they will provide information that doesn’t have much substance. It’s much more important to make sure that what you’re sharing with others, whether it’s through Twitter, LinkedIn, or your website, is substantive, even when you talk with people offline. Original content, such as information about an important case you’re working on, an article you’ve written, or a slideshow from a presentation you’ve given, is valuable and will help other attorneys improve professionally. But if you feel that talking only about what you’ve done is too self-serving, then share interesting information and useful links that you’ve found elsewhere.

2) Promote others. There are probably other attorneys you work with who’ve done interesting things lately that you can talk about. If you’ve read an interesting article that your colleagues have written, have found out about an important case that they have won, have attended a presentation they’ve done, or have even just seen them on TV, then share that with your audience. If you don’t have a blog, you can send out an email to some people who you think would be interested in what they’ve accomplished, or post it on Twitter or LinkedIn. People appreciate it when others celebrate their success, and it will mean that your promotional efforts aren’t just about you.

3) Know your audience. People hate spam, and if you keep blasting out information, whether it’s about you or others, to everyone on your list, some of those recipients will come to really resent you, and possibly even block you or automatically delete your messages. Take the time to consider your audience. If you know that some people aren’t interested in a project you’re doing, then omit them from the list. It’s much better to take the time to edit a list rather than risk making people angry and annoyed that you keep bothering them.

4) Ask questions. We don’t know everything, and instead of doing a lengthy online search to find answers, we can ask others. If you want to know about a good legal resource to use, a helpful conference to attend, some facts, or just a good place to have dinner with a client, then ask your network for advice. You might hear from people you haven’t interacted with in a while, so this will get your name in front of them again.

5) Pay attention to your environment. If you’re at a formal dinner of a legal association where an attorney is the guest speaker, then that’s not the time to run around the room, talk about yourself, and keep hitting up as many people as possible. Let opportunities unfold with the conversations you have. Someone might simply ask you what you do, and you can talk about yourself in such a way that is sophisticated enough for the occasion. Another type of event would require a different kind of behavior. It’s important to pay attention to where you are, and then act accordingly and present information about yourself that is appropriate.

6) Do what makes your comfortable. One of the reasons why people sound like they’re being boastful is because they’re doing things they think they should do, rather than what they feel comfortable with. Be who you are. Some attorneys can’t stand Facebook, and that’s OK. If you feel you should communicate with others through another outlet, then do it. Some attorneys prefer email because they don’t like to be exposed in social media. That’s fine, as long as you can work with it so you can promote yourself in a sincere way that reflects who you are.

7) Thank people. If someone has given you good information or insight about a case or development in the legal profession, then thank that person, and even do it publicly. For instance, the reason why I’m writing on this topic is because attorney Noel Sterett from Mauck & Baker suggested it…thanks!

Make a fool of yourself: I dare you

 Jill Rorem, Esq., is senior manager, legal staffing at Blackman Kallick (www.blackmanstaffing.com). Jill oversees the successful recruitment of attorneys, paralegals and contract legal professionals. Jill (and the Blackman team) staffs document reviews using qualified contract attorneys and thus, works with attorneys-in-transition daily. You can follow her at twitter.com/roremlegalstaff.

Bringing in business involves a willingness to humiliate yourself and fail – repeatedly. It’s like that dating cliché: you can’t meet your prince without kissing a bunch of frogs first. Some might say you need a thick skin to handle the rejection that comes with putting yourself “out there,” but as someone who takes everything personally, I say just get yourself some Tums or a Xanax and push forward.

Here is a prime example: I had been attempting to get in to a particular law firm for five years before they finally gave me some work. To this day, I am unsure which of my efforts finally persuaded them to call. Perhaps it was because I personally delivered gigantic orange cookies to their tent at Race Judicata every year. Was it because I regularly emailed them tidbits about the best practices in the document review industry? After repeated invitations, the hiring attorney finally agreed to a swanky lunch with us at Henri, was that it? I’ll always wonder. They politely rejected me so many times that I it became kind of like a running joke amongst my colleagues. I thought that I would never land a document review with them, but then they hired us– repeatedly.

You have to be willing to ask for what you want, offer something in return and be prepared to deliver. Recently, I connected with a lawyer who hired a few of our contractors on a tiny project. I nudged him until he finally agreed to have drinks with me. Over beers, I learned his dad was a powerful litigator at a firm with whom I was dying to work. He learned that I had relationships with GCs in a few corporations with whom he was seeking business. In return for recommending my firm to his father, I helped him arrange lunch meetings with a few of my GC contacts. As a result, his dad’s firm hired 20 of our contract attorneys within 3 weeks. Some people wouldn’t have asked the lawyer for the introduction. Some people would gripe I had a lot of nerve for even asking. This lawyer could have said no and I may have felt snubbed and embarrassed. But he said yes and if I didn’t ask, I would never have known.

I recently made a fool of myself in an elevator on the way to deliver cupcakes to some contract attorneys we have working at a law firm client. I overheard a lawyer talking to someone about Wilco, a band I love, and I chimed in. I even boasted my knowledge of their former band, Uncle Tupelo – trying to wow him. I inquired briefly and learned he was a lawyer at another corporation in the building. Admittedly, he looked at me like I was from a different planet. I could live with that. At worst, I ruined his elevator ride and humiliated myself. At best, I could have connected with someone interested in using our contractors. It was a no lose situation. I located him on LinkedIn and sent him a message – maybe his corporation needed contractors too. If he didn’t think I was too rude for interrupting him in the elevator or thought I had some moxie, he may just hire us. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

New business opportunities usually don’t just happen to you. They involve experimentation and a willingness to put yourself in a vulnerable situation and accept the outcome. So go ahead – make a fool of yourself. I dare you.

Leveraging Your Reputation: Stay connected on vacation

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and midsize law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs. Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

You’re going on vacation: time to relax! And time to promote! You can still enjoy your vacation and do simple things to stay connected with other people while maintaining your personal publicity plan. It won’t feel like work and won’t take much effort either. Here are some easy ways to keep yourself in front of others when you’re off the clock:

Restaurant reviews. If you haven’t created an account at Yelp, then now is the time to do it, before you go on vacation. People all over the country and beyond, such as in Canada and some European countries, post their opinions about restaurants and rate them, and the site is easy to use. When you go to a restaurant that you like, write a review at Yelp, and let other people know about it through a link that you can email, send by phone, or post anywhere online.

Recommendations. In addition to restaurants, tell other people about a good hotel that you’re staying at, a must-see tourist attraction, or a unique store that you’ve encountered. Sometimes you don’t even need any words; you can simply post a picture of your location to recommend a place. For instance, if you’re staying at a tropical resort, you can just post a picture and say, “Here’s where I am now,” instead of trying to describe it with text.

Photos. An obvious way to talk about your vacation is through photos of your trip. You can post them many places online, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Posterous, Picplz, and Flickr, and some of those sites can be linked to each other, so you only have to post the pictures at one place, and they will be dispersed among the network that you choose. But remember to post pictures sparingly because people will feel overwhelmed with too many photos. Choose the best ones and add an entertaining caption to keep people interested.

Observations. When you are on your trip and see anything fascinating, or if you’ve had a memorable experience that you want to share, write something at your LinkedIn or Twitter account (or both, if you have linked them up). But write something compelling and personal, so that your personality comes through. For instance, instead of writing “I just had some great ice cream,” write “Handmade banana chocolate ice cream: worth the calories. Now time to burn it off in the clear blue sea.” It tells a story, shows your beautiful location, and reveals something about you.

Do whatever makes you feel comfortable and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to post as much as possible. After all, it’s time to relax and enjoy a break from work. But it doesn’t hurt to maintain your communication with others, at least once a day.

Testimonials and recommendations – 7 tips

J. Nick Augustine J.D., “The Law Publicist,” is the principal of Law Publicist Communications, an ALR/PRA, Incorporated agency. Nick advises and assists attorneys in transition in public relations, marketing and practice management. Nick shares recruiting and staffing experience and tips for legal job seekers.

Attorneys in transition often have impressive resumes. Anyone can write or pay someone to put together a nice resume. Consider the greater weight of testimonials and recommendations from others in the community. What do people say about you? If they offer to back you in writing, take them up on it and see if they will go further and chat with a potential client or employer. Here are 7 tips on testimonials and recommendations:

Who do you ask?

  1. Employers who really know what you can do. Remember that recommendations are for the people considering you for a position, or when making another hiring or referral decision. Most professionals can spot a canned recommendation, and if the person you ask doesn’t know you well enough, that is what you are going to receive. Try asking am employer who worked with you closely, who knows the quality of your work best. Before you ask for a testimonial or recommendation, ask yourself first if this person can easily recall and tell a story about you.
  2. Clients who think you did a great job. If you are hanging your shingle and looking for content to place on the testimonial section of your website, consider using the clients who say the best things, often about the simplest of projects. Think about the client’s experience before you remember the result of the underlying matter. A happy client who lost a battle, but respected and trusted their lawyer is likely to give you a glowing review.

Where should you publish them?

  1. There are several places to share testimonials and recommendations online. A common practice today is to seek recommendations on LinkedIn and repurpose them on a website. If you do this, contact the author first, and ask permission to repost their statement about you. Most people will thank you for having the respect to ask for consent, which can elicit a positive thought about you and they might update their statement. Broad permission to publish testimonials on a variety of social networking and listing sites is a good thing.
  2. Printed references can include a section for testimonials. Smart marketers and promoters know that printed material is a valuable resource. Don’t forget to include your earned testimonial statements and letters of recommendation in printed materials. I would rather receive your content peppered with nice things people say about you and your services.

How do you use them professionally?

  1. If someone recommends you, recommend them. Social networking websites like LinkedIn already prompt us to reciprocate a recommendation. Just like referrals, recommendations and testimonials are earned. If you are asked or are the one asking, first consider whether the recommendation is appropriate. Don’t give another person a bogus testimonial just because you earned one from them. Rather, earn the opportunity to give an honest statement.
  2. With consent, offer a potential employer or client the opportunity to talk to those who recommend you. A wise salesman once taught me, when trying to close new business, offer the phone number of a client who agrees to verify your credibility and reputation upon request. Try setting up a few of these relations and make sure you humbly thank others who support you.
  3. Keep the love alive and stay in touch with your supporters. Lawyers and business professionals are not inherently altruistic; make sure you keep in touch and continue earning supportive comments and testimonials. Even if you think you do not have clients to send along, maintain and communicate your effort to spot and make referrals when appropriate.

Leveraging Your Reputation: 3 things you can do to boost your publicity

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and midsize law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs. Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

How busy are you right now? Hopefully you’re not too busy to still think about your own publicity, and to actually do something about it. Here are a few things you can do right now, without even leaving your computer:

1 – Share a helpful article online. Every day we find interesting articles and websites that would be helpful to other people, but sometimes it doesn’t occur to us to share them, or we think that we don’t have the time. But it really doesn’t take much time, and by sharing with others, it helps keep your name at the top of people’s minds. Post a link to the story or website on your Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook account, or e-mail it to someone who might benefit from it. If the link is too long, you can shorten it at Ow.ly, (http://ow.ly), Bit.ly (http://bit.ly), or Tinyurl.com (http://tinyurl.com).

2 – Post photos. If you’ve spoken at an event, gone to an interesting place, or even if you’ve seen interesting things around town, choose a couple of photos that you think people would be interested in. Then post them on your Flickr, Facebook, blog, or other online account where you share photos. Even busy people will take the time to look at a photo. Just make sure it’s not too big so that the photo will easily load on people’s computers or phones. You can use Picnik.com (http://www.picnik.com) to edit your photo for free.

3 – Congratulate someone. A lot of people do incredible things, but not everyone bothers to recognize what they do. You can stand out from the crows by letting others know that you’ve noticed their accomplishments. If you’ve heard about a promotion, or have read someone’s article, write a congratulatory email. It’s a simple way to connect with other people in a positive way and to keep your name out there.

Try at least one of these tips—after all, they cost nothing and don’t take much time. The more you do to communicate with others in these ways, you’ll feel like your publicity plan is easier to manage.