Are you one of those lawyers still sitting on the sidelines telling yourself that social media/networking is still a fad? If so – and you are not taking advantage of the many online professional networking opportunities available to you – you may want to rethink your marketing strategy.
According to a tweet released today by LinkedIn, the largest online professional/social networking service, the service has reached 60 million members. What is, perhaps, more remarkable than this overall figure is the fact that the company was at 55 million members as of December 2009. That means the company added 5 million members in less than 2 months.
For those of you who don’t have (or anticipate) a large international clientele, all that glimmers with LinkedIn may not necessarily be gold, as the saying goes. According to the company, nearly half of its membership comes from international members. Still, I find LinkedIn to be a invaluable service to me as a sole practitioner with no international clients. As a general rule, I don’t like what I will call “cocktail party marketing.” I don’t play golf, and I don’t care to make a lot of meaningless small talk. I have found more resources through LinkedIn – and have felt more comfortable networking with them on a deeper level – than I ever did trying “cocktail party marketing.”
Furthermore, LinkedIn is not just a place to generate new clients; one can also look for a job through the service and join various groups to hone in on areas of interest. You can even start your own interest group to network with others.
If you are looking for a job, however, it might interest you to know that, according to at least one social media company, Socialcreeper.com, approximately 80% of companies use LinkedIn to find employees. That’s a remarkably high number, so I would consider my options carefully before eliminating LinkedIn from marketing yourself or your business. If you are interested in statistics such as these, Socialcreeper.com has an excellent video on their website which drives home just how remarkable the social media revolution is.
Other than having a profile with the service, I am in no way affiliated with LinkedIn, so if you have looked at the service and just don’t feel comfortable with it, there are alternatives. Many of these alternatives are worth pursuing. A few alternatives you might check out are:
Plaxo – general
Ryze – general
Ecademy – general
Avvo – attorneys networking specifically; also has excellent opportunities to get clients and to write articles to show your expertise in a given area, which I personally believe is essential to effective lawyer branding.
MyLegal.com – this is a new group, but it is worth mentioning that I learned of its existence through LinkedIn