By now you probably have a LinkedIn profile, which may or may not be getting a little dusty. If so, it's time to refresh your profile as LinkedIn can be a valuable tool for networking, promoting yourself, and hiring staff.
So, with a renewed commitment to LinkedIn, you may want to take it one step further and start a LinkedIn Group. You will get all the benefits of having a LinkedIn profile page -- but you will also interact more with colleagues in the same industry, establish your reputation as an expert in the field, and open yourself up to gaining more connections.
This is a win-win situation, so here's what you need to know to get started.
1. Find a Niche
Before you dive in and start your group, do some research and see what kinds of groups already exist, and see what makes them successful. If you're going to start a group, you'll want to make it specific enough to be worthwhile to members, but not so specific that you limit membership before you've even started. Just like choosing your law practice, take some time to decide your niche on LinkedIn.
2. Develop Your Brand
Your LinkedIn Group in some ways is an extension of your brand -- it's not the same brand, but affiliated. You'll want the LinkedIn group's brand to be cohesive and related, but if it's too close to your firm's brand, there won't be any reason for other attorneys to get involved. It's a fine line to walk, but keep that in mind when you choose a name for the group, logo, and color scheme.
Also, be sure to choose a name that other prospective members will recognize as being something that may be a good fit for them -- perhaps a straight-forward name with the practice area in it, or a name that has a legal term of art that is used in your niche practice.
3. Build a Community
Once your group is set, invite members to join your group. You can start by letting your own profile contacts know about the group, and you can also promote the existence of the group on your firm website, blog, and social media.
4. Stay Engaged
If you're going to start a group, you must be an active member of the group. Decide at the outset how engaged you'll be, create a schedule for yourself, and stick to it. Whether it's once a week, or once a day, engagement is the name of the game when it comes to all social media.
5. Take it Offline
Once your group is established, don't be afraid to take it offline. You can do this in two ways: first, you can encourage in-person meet-ups based on different locales (I know, that's so 1999). Second, you can talk up your LinkedIn Group at bar association meetings, and the like, to encourage other attorneys in the field to join.
If you've decided that a LinkedIn Group is right for you, you can click here to learn how to create a group on LinkedIn. All of the steps of creating a group are outlined for you on the LinkedIn website. You may even want to invite us ... or join the FindLaw LinkedIn Group.
If the thought of another social media channel is too much for you to handle, you may also consider FindLaw's Lawyer Marketing Services -- you can focus on your practice, and FindLaw can focus on your online presence.
Have you started a LinkedIn Group? Tell us how it has worked out for you by tweeting us @FindLawLP.