For lawyers in particular, LinkedIn can be a powerful networking tool. The success of your law firm depends on your ability to make personal connections with people, and ultimately, to get them to trust you. According to Mashable, LinkedIn is a great way to make those connections, as long as you’re using it the right way.
Write a Personalized Note
Remember to start with one-on-one communication. If you’re like most people, you’d never approach someone with a request at an in-person networking event without first introducing yourself. The same basic rule should apply to LinkedIn. Before you begin asking people on LinkedIn to help you, write them a personal note instead of the standard “I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn” message. Then you’re on your way to building a rapport with them that has the potential to lead to a strong business relationship.
To make that personal connection, start with a specific subject line. If you meet someone at a networking event, for example, mention specifics, such as “Following up from Yesterday’s Lunch.” That way, the person will be sure to pay attention to your introduction. Many users on LinkedIn send spam messages, so you want to be sure your new contact can separate out your message from the clutter.
Keep Your Communication Brief
Make sure that you introduce yourself in a way that helps the person identify you. Be specific, and keep in mind that the person you’re connecting with may not take the time to check out your LinkedIn profile. For this reason, you should briefly explain what you do and how it relates to them. It’s also a good idea to tell the person how the two of you met.
After you’ve written a brief introduction, get to the purpose of your interaction. Do you want to ask the person about his or her career path? Do you want to invite her to attend a meeting? Whatever your request, make sure the recipient knows what it is as quickly as possible. Most likely, you’re interested in connecting with this person on LinkedIn because you admire the fact that they do their jobs well without wasting time.
Just as you would with an email, make sure that the weight of your request matches the rapport that you have with that person. In other words, don’t ask someone you hardly know to get you a promotion.
Don’t Forget a Simple “Thank You”
Just as in the real world, thank you’s are important on social networks, too, especially when you’re asking a favor. Make sure you wrap up your note and thank the person for his or her time.
Although LinkedIn’s news feed enables people, companies, and even law firms to broadcast their messages, local marketing experts tend to think that LinkedIn is best suited for personal, one-on-one interactions.