Sharing, clothes and looking the part of a lawyer by @Lihsa

I love social media. It’s a fascinating look into the minds of 2 billion people.

Admittedly, it can, at times, get pretty ugly in there. But then there are places of transcendence and valor; beauty and joy.

Social media is like wearing clothes: you can choose to wear a dirty t-shirt bearing a foul logo. Or you can choose to wear a Chanel evening gown. Your choice.

Being a lawyer and sharing on social media

Social media is the perfect democracy. Love it or hate it, it takes a lot of very, very bad behavior before you get banned.

I wouldn’t want to ever be in the position of @jack or @kevin and have to make a decision as to who gets kicked off of a social media site. What an ethical dilemma: do I have the right to shut somebody up on a forum that was built around the concept of free speech? Criminey; it’s all too darned close to playing god.

But I digress.

What not to post on social media

First, let’s talk about what not to post. I follow 3 rules:

  1. Is it kind?
  2. Is it necessary?
  3. Is it true?

Every time I talk about social media to lawyers, I remind them that as a lawyer, you are an officer of the court. Whether you like it or not, you are held to a higher standard. Even when you are off the clock. Where ever you go—to a party, to the grocery store, to the barbershop—you represent your client, your firm and the reputation of all lawyers. It can be a bit of a burden.

Of course, you have to bear in mind ethical rules. I would recommend reading the ABA (@ABAesq) article, 10 Tips for Avoiding Ethical Lapses when Using Social Media. Basically, don’t post anything that:

  1. breaches client (or would-be client) confidentiality
  2. breaks or creates attorney-client privilege 
  3. is false or misleading

So we’ve all learned to think before we share. Generally, I’d also advise that you stay away from any online controversy. It is too fraught with misinterpretation, misfires and can quickly turn ugly. Political statements are never going to add to any online conversation and run the risk of alienating friends and colleagues. I, personally, have never heard anyone say, “Yep, that incendiary post really got me to thinking. I’m going to change my entire position on the issue.” Never happens. So what’s the point?

I am not saying that you aren’t entitled to have an opinion and to speak your mind. But why put it on social media where it can come back to haunt you? It just isn’t worth it. I’ve found that sharing my opinions—especially online—isn’t that important. Opinions are like clothing; everybody wearing them.

What to post on social media

So what’s left? Rainbows and butterflies? Well, some days its seems that way. I remember there was a week where all I could post were pictures of Fiona the Hippo and the Gilmore Girls. Social media was not being very kind, necessary or true that week.

But that’s when I realized that it is my moral imperative to stand still in the social media storm and share. I never felt this more strongly than during Hurricane Harvey. I felt compelled to post and share on legal aid (@thehba), mayoral press conferences (@SylvesterTurner) and the flood district communique (@ReadyHarris). I certainly won’t sit here and say that I saved anyone’s life. But I do believe that I could do my part to quell the raucous rumors, distribute good information and push down the negativity.

Sometimes that’s all we can do: drown out the noise. And sometimes that takes the form of a cat post.

Sure, it is silly and may seem a bit goody-two-shoes. But that post did its job: it shoved someone else’s nasty comment down.

So pick a few things that you like: horses, cars, boat racing, history, art. And talk it up. Sprinkle in a few posts about a colleague’s speaking engagement. Talk about an organization’s good work. Genuinely fan-girl (or fan-boy) on one of your heroes. And every once in a while, talk about your own events and articles.

You may think sharing is too personal and that it can expose you to criticism or make you look less professional. Meh. We are all living in this world. All of us have run into neighbors and colleagues at the grocery store. They’ve seen us with the pizza and ice cream in our carts. 

All we can do is own it and be sure that we’re wearing a clean shirt.
Image [cc] Clive Darra

I started a very robust conversation with some colleagues the other day, including Dan and Jane of this site, who I am certain you will hear from soon, about a decision my team made to opt out of business cards. 

The initial conversation came up because I often get asked for cards.  I don’t carry them.  I haven’t for years.  I prefer not to carry paper around.  See, I have kids, and kids get into handbags.  Consequently, I don’t want to carry anything that is not essential, especially things that can be taken and squirreled away as “treasure”, making me spend hours searching for them to the chorus of “I don’t know where it is,” or items that can be can be used as a Chinese Stars or Mini-Frisbees.

 I tried the chic card holder, the antique card clip, stuffing cards in my wallet or pocket–none of them worked for me (the card-in-pocket idea caused a lot of laundry issues BTW).  My team and I discussed adopting QR codes on the cards and apps that scan cards, among other things, and finally came to the conclusion; why not just use our business contact info on our smart phones?

Through my discussion with colleagues, I uncovered a dizzying amount of opinions and questions.  The Artists loved their cards and expressed that when you give a card, you symbolically give something of yourself to the recipient.  The Technologists used LinkedIn (I use this as well).  The Socially-Minded voiced concern that not everyone has a business phone, much less a smart phone—there was also a side conversation here about use of private phones for business purposes,  The Environmentalists expressed dismay about the waste surrounding business cards.  The Opportunists summed it up by questioning how they would get a free lunch if they didn’t have cards to put in the fishbowl.  All valid points and food for thought, readers.

Ultimately, our team decision is an optional one.  No one is required to use their contacts as a connection mechanism, But we are raising it as a consideration.  It saves money and trees and keeps my lint screen clean.  Every little bit counts.

One of my absolute favorite websites for learning about new products, or how to enhance my use of existing products is MakeUseOf. Unfortunately, they post dozens of updates each day and it can be a bit overwhelming to find updates that fall specifically into my wheelhouse. Yesterday, however, I did find a nice juicy nugget of information on LinkedIn that I wanted to point out to everyone. In the post 10 Little Known LinkedIn Features That Make It More Fun To Professionally Network, author Saikat Basu taught me a few new things about LinkedIn that I didn’t know. 

Just in case my word isn’t good enough to make you link over to the post, here are the 10 items that Basu highlights:

  1. Network with Cloak of Security (force LinkedIn to use https connections… good for public WiFi or shared computers.)
  2. Your Own LinkedIn News Daily (a very eloquent display of top LinkedIn headlines found under that “news” tab that I’ve never clicked on before.
  3. Go Text To Speech With LinkedIn News (not my cup of tea, but the SpeechIn might be something others would use.)
  4. Make Contact Without Making a Connection (initially connect with someone that may not be willing to click the old accept button from your request.)
  5. Browse In Stealth Mode (when you don’t want people to see you on their Who’s Viewed Your Profile screen.)
  6. Set Up A LinkedIn Search (Email) Alert (have your search results emailed to you periodically)
  7. Find The Right Group To Join (by using a Group Statistics feature, you could narrow down your choices of groups significantly.)
  8. Map Your LinkedIn Professional Network (very cool function from the LinkedInLabs apps.)
  9. Export Your Connections (nothing is better than an Excel spreadsheet full of contacts.)
  10. Waste Time With Tetris (AKA DropIn) (between this, Cubeduel and Snake & Ladders, you’ll waste a lot of your professional time.)
There a lots more interesting things coming out of the LinkedInLabs site, so you’ll want to go check it out right after you read the MakeUseOf post.

I’ve had a number of conversations over the past couple of years about the information that lawyers place on their LinkedIn pages versus there law firm attorney profile pages. As someone that prides themselves on the ability to uncover good information on people, I’ve come to appreciate the information found on LinkedIn. Many times there is more detailed information there than is on the firm bio page, most likely because the attorneys are not filtered (as much) by the Marketing team when it comes to their LinkedIn information.

It is quite easy to search law firm websites and find the attorneys, along with their sanitized biographies. Usually chalked full of such interesting tid-bits like “represented a major technology company in complex litigation matters.” (yawn) Or, “won a $20 million settlement for a major pharmaceutical company against another major pharmaceutical company.” (any way to make this more generic, or more boring??) The whole process of a public biography page for attorneys seems to be fixated on how the firm can make the attorney sound wonderful, without actually giving any specific details to why that is.

On the other hand, a LinkedIn bio can tell us a few things that you may not find on the firm’s bio page. Even better, it could actually supplement the bio page by filling in some of the details. For example, if you notice that the person has a number of connections with XYZ Pharma Company, there may be a good chance that this is the Pharma Company that he or she won the $20 million settlement. This doesn’t always happen, but when it does (and you happen to be looking for lateral hires), this is good information to know.

Perhaps the best details found on LinkedIn pages that you don’t find on law firm bio pages is the work history of the person. You usually get a nice synopsis of the previous firms, dates and areas of expertise of the attorney’s work history. This may help in isolating people within your own firm that may have worked with them in the past. Combined with certain InterAction reports, this might connect dots within your organization that you wouldn’t find otherwise.

Outside the area of legal practice, many people leave interesting pieces of information about themselves that may come in handy if you have to go talk with them (or need an “in” with recruiting them to your firm.) Areas of interest, groups they belong to, or associations which they are members are all good pieces to know before approaching them. In some instances, it might be good information to know for NOT approaching them. It is all small pieces that help form a picture of what the attorney does, what they like or dislike, and where they’ve been.

Of course, not every attorney is a LinkedIn member, but I’ve had good success in finding many who are. So this got me thinking about what percentage of attorneys are on LinkedIn. Just for my own interest, I thought I’d take a small sample of three firms and look at their Silicon Valley offices to see just how many of their attorneys I could find on LinkedIn. The sample is completely unscientific, but I found it interesting in the fact that Partners (78%) were more likely to be on LinkedIn than their Associate (65%) counter-parts. Again, this is completely unscientific, but here are my results.

Firm A
Total Attorneys: 8 
          Partners:   5
          Associates: 3



























Firm B
Total Attorneys: 26
          Partners:   8
          Associates: 11
          Counsel:  5
          Others:  2



























Firm C
Total Attorneys: 119
          Partners:  69
          Associates: 32
          Counsel:  9
          Others:  9

























Totals:
         Attorneys: 153
         Partners:  82
         Associates: 48
         Counsel:  14
         Others:  11
  

This is a presentation that was given to the Minnesota Legal Career Professionals (MnLCP) on January 12, 2011.
I always enjoy talking about social media. It’s a huge passion of mine, right up there with movies. I once gave an entire speech comparing Social Media to the Wizard of Oz. But don’t worry, that’s not this speech!
Throughout this talk, I will be making a couple of other movie references—so keep your ears and eyes open.
First of all, how many of you have a LinkedIn account? 24
A Facebook account? 25
Good, I am speaking to the advanced class.
But for those of you who may not know or need to find good analogies to take back to your colleagues here is one straight from the horse’s mouth, LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner:
LinkedIn is a professional online networking site, as opposed to Facebook’s more social site. What does that mean?
While Facebook is in the business of helping you make connections in your personal life to facilitate social interaction, LinkedIn is focused on mapping connections between professionals, to help develop them within three degrees of connection.
By the way, anyone recognize these two folks? The one on the left is John Hodgman, he was the Father’s voice in animated movie Coraline. The other one is Justin Long, the voice for Alvin in Alvin and the Chipmunks.
And these are the real-life guys. The one on the left, for those of you who didn’t see the Facebook movie Social Network, is Facebook’s owner Mark Zuckerberg. The one on the right is LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner.
What do I mean by degrees of connection?
I’m sure everyone’s heard of six degrees of Kevin Bacon: a game created by four Albright students after watching the movie Footloose during 1994 blizzard. The four students wrote a letter to Jon Stewart, telling him that “Kevin Bacon was the center of the entertainment universe” and that every actor could be connected to him through 5 other actors or less.
Well, this idea of six degrees of separation has its origin from an Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy, who wrote a collection of short stories called “Everything is Different”. This idea influenced a great deal of early thought on social networks and LinkedIn is a spin-off of that idea.
I’ll give you some examples. Anyone that reads our blog, 3 Geeks and a Law Blog, know that I am a huge admirer of Ashton Kutcher.
Well, I will have you know that I know people that know people that know Ashton Kutcher. He is only three degrees away from me.
And the same with Barack Obama. I, in fact, have a better chance of meeting the president than I do of meeting Ashton. It’s so sad.
Mr. Obama and I have a second-degree relationship while Ashton and I have a third-degree relationship—or what they call a loose connection.
Those third-degree relationships is where LinkedIn comes in and helps you to explore, build out and strengthen these more nebulous relationships.
Right now, there are 153 million people in the U.S. workforce and 3.3 billion people in the global workforce. This  is LinkedIn’s target audience. And your potential audience.
Currently, LinkedIn has 135 million members in over 200 countries, with nearly 60% outside of the U.S.
And in the Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area there are over 1,700 LinkedIn profiles that show up in a “law practice” industry search.
So, now we’ve set the stage for why we have to active on LinkedIn, let’s talk about how do you market yourself in this digital landscape?
How many of you have heard of the Four Ps of marketing?
The four Ps are a basic principal of marketing that was introduced in 1953 by Harvard Advertising Professor Neil Borden in his American Marketing Association presidential address. The concept was later published in his article, “The Concept of the Marketing Mix.” And, actually, he borrowed the term “marketing mix” from an associate, James Cullton, who developed the idea in 1948 to describe the role of a marketing manager. So if you ever wondered just what exactly a marketing manager does; well, you are about to find out.
The four Ps are:
1.                Product
2.                Placement
3.                Promotion
4.                Price

Product

So let’s talk about the 4 Ps in relationship to you. What is the product? That’s right: you. You, as an attorney, are the ultimate product in any law firm—you are the intellectual property of your firm. Only you know and have the relationships, knowledge and skills to negotiate, procure, and win business. So we know we have a great product—there is no denying that. But unless you are known you will not be retained. So how do we get you noticed? Well, that brings us to a sub-set of  the first “P” –packaging.

Packaging

What is packaging?
Well, at its most basic—it is the manner in which you present yourself. It can be as basic as your personal style, your voice, your delivery of services. But in terms of LinkedIn, it is your profile. You have got to make sure that you are taking full advantage of all of the offerings available on your LinkedIn profile.
Many people overlook the additional plug-ins and sections that are available for your profile.
These plug-ins allow you to include certifications, if you are board certified, organizations, publications, legal updates, blogs and tweets.
I would encourage you to these over after the session ends and explore some of these options as well as many other third-party apps, including Martindale’s Lawyer Ratings, Amazon’s Reading List and the hottest social network, SlideShare Presentations.
Now, I am going to assume that most of you have already built out your profile. Let’s face it, LinkedIn has been around for 10 years—as a matter of fact, it was founded in Reid Hoffman’s living room in 2002. If you haven’t built a profile, then now is the time. According to Lisa’s Rule of Law Firm Technology, if the technology has been adopted in the general culture for 10 years or more, then Law Firms can safely bring it into the walls of their firm.
So let’s move on to the next “P”.

Placement

Now placement with regards to online activity is probably the most esoteric concept for people to understand since it is has no physical reality—it is all about virtual presence. So let’s look at it another way.
We know the basic marketing principle behind placement is which shelf in the grocery store that you want your box of cereal to be—optimally, at eye-level.
Well, the same holds true for LinkedIn. So LinkedIn’s goal is to be where the eyes are.
So what is LinkedIn doing to help you make this happen? LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner (3:10) explains that “when you meet someone in a professional context for the first time, one of the first things you do is exchange business cards—you exchange professional identities. We have learned that the more our professional identity is out there, the more potential opportunities accrue to us.”
“Whereas if you were to meet someone in a personal context or in a social exchange—say that you go to a party and meet someone for the first time—it’s very rare that you would say, “here’s my home address and my cell phone number.”
“So there is a difference with regards to the context.”
“So that the more that people can put their professional identity out there—in LinkedIn’s case—it’s your profile—you update your profile. The fresher and more relevant your profile information, the more likely it is to be search-engine optimized. So when someone does a search on a major search engine for your name or someone like you, your LinkedIn profile is going to show up at or near the top of the results.
That’s an incredibly valuable piece of digital real estate because you get a chance to represent your experience, your skills and, most importantly, your ambitions. And that’s how opportunities accrue to people and the more they see these opportunities, the more engaged they become. Not only with their profile, but with their network, sharing information and knowledge within a professional network.”
So that leads us to search-engine optimization. Simply put, you want to make sure that you are on the first page of any search engine result. So, say for example, you perform a search for Minneapolis trademark attorney, you make sure that you or your firm’s name shows up in the search result.
I’ll give you an example, we at Fulbright have worked really hard to make sure that all of our attorneys show up on Google’s first page if you do a search for them.
So for instance, Ronn Kreps’ firm bio is number one, followed by his LinkedIn profile. That’s the way we like it at Fulbright and we built our web site with this purpose in mind.
So how do you make  sure that your LinkedIn profile is search-engine optimized? Make sure that you are building your profile with your target audience in mind. One common mistake that I see, is that profiles are built to an internal audience. They write things like so-and-so is a “practice head” or so-and-so “leads a department”.  
If a GC or a business owner is looking for a lawyer, they are not necessarily looking for practice heads or department leaders; they are looking for law firms, attorneys or lawyers. So make sure and use these kinds of words liberally in your profile. There are a number of locations in your LinkedIn profile to plug these words in: your summary, your experience, your organizations.
Another way to search engine optimize your profile is to update it regularly. You might want to calendar a 15-minute task once a week to make sure and update your profile with fresh content. Which leads to the next “P”: Promotion.

Promotion

Now, most attorneys don’t like to talk about promotion. They start getting nervous about advertising rules and ethics. Which they should.
But there is also this knee-jerk reaction to any form of marketing that go back to a time when lawyers could just hang out a shingle in their home town and wait for work to come in.
Well, those times are gone.
In 2011, the ABA reported that there are over 1.2M lawyers in the United States (ABA). In Minnesota, there are just over 23K—with a population of roughly 5.3M people, that’s 1 lawyer for every 227 people.
According to a 2011 New York Times article, 888 folks had passed the Minnesota bar. Legal services has become an increasingly competitive market place. I still remember when the first commercial by a lawyer came out in Texas. I was a freshman in college and was sitting in the dorm’s TV lounge when a whole room of college kids began booing at the screen.
Now, it is just a fact of life.
Plaintiff and criminal lawyers have seen the advantage of this and have plowed full steam ahead. Bigger defense firms have been much more reticent but as they get squeezed out of more and more market share by other law firms, they are beginning to take legal marketing more seriously.
So how can you use your LinkedIn profile to help promote you and your law firm without violating any ethical rules? In short—a disclaimer.
Make sure and study your ethical rules with regards to board certification and make sure that you put appropriate disclaimers to ensure that you are not creating any expectation of a attorney-client relationship. Those are the most basic of guidelines. – by the way, this particular disclaimer is pretty interesting. It is from a 2009 30-minute fan film called the Hunt for Gollum, which is based on the appendices of the Lord of the Rings.
But, in all seriousness, there is no need to fear posting on LinkedIn. My general rule of thumb—which I got, by the way, from the general counsel of the European Newspaper Financial Times—don’t put anything online that you wouldn’t put in a business email.
So let’s get back to promotion.
Do you know what the most under-rated tool is on LinkedIn?
The status update.
I bet you thought I was going to say groups. Well, as you will soon see, this will factor into this ubiquitous but under-utilized tool.
Let me give you a good example.
One of our lawyers just finished writing an article. He wants to get it published—every single lawyer that I know wants to get their article in a law review journal or a legal periodical. Fair enough; there is a merit to that desire. It legitimizes you, it gives you some street cred.
But I would argue that these publications do not get in front of your target audience. Remember, people that might retain your services may or may not be readers of these types of publications.
And in this day and age, who has time to read?
Everyone is increasingly relying upon Kindles, iPads, search engines, keyword results, scraped content, Law360 emails, other emailed newsletters and the like.
So how do you take advantage of that?
A few simple steps:

  1. If the magazine has agreed to publish the article, immediately list it on your LinkedIn profile with a link to the online publication. If the publication does not have it published online, then make sure and it get it online somewhere. Fulbright regularly post our lawyers’ reprints to our firm’s web site.
  2. Once the article is on the web, post a status update on your LinkedIn profile. This automatically sends a notice to all of your contacts that you have just written an article. This is reaching your first degree relationships.
  3. Next, post a status update on any group that you belong to. This will send a notice to all of the group members that you’ve just written an article—this is reaching your second and third degree relationships, or people you don’t know but who have similar interests and who you’d like to get to know.
  4. Next, advise the site administrator of your firm’s LinkedIn profile so that they can post it as a status update on the firm’s LinkedIn page. Faegre & Benson is doing a good job of this.
  5. Lastly, If you have access to any other social media pages like Twitter, Facebook, etc., make sure that this same information is sent out to these sites.
So, theoretically, an article written by the attorney that I mentioned to you in my earlier example has now has gotten in front of: 43,000 hard copy readers + 100 LinkedIn contacts + 250 members of LinkedIn Group 1 + 100 members of LinkedIn Group 2 + 4,000 LinkedIn Company followers + 2,000 Twitter followers.
And the biggest difference between those hard copy readers and the LinkedIn connections?
What is the likelihood that someone will tear out your print article and mail it to a colleague versus someone pushing the Forward/Retweet button? It is so much easier to do it electronically—it makes the person forwarding the article look smart and, ultimately, it makes you look smart.
There is just not enough good content out there. The web is starved, hungry for fresh content. That’s what keeps the beast going. So if you are speaking, writing, meeting, talking, going to meetings, why not get all the mileage you can get out of your activity by providing status updates?
By putting your select, well-positioned and strategic updates online, you are positioning yourself as an expert in your field.
I call it the “Cocktail Party” strategy.
We have all been at those cocktail parties where someone walks in and just seems to take over the room. They know everyone, everyone knows them and now they know that the party just got good and now, we are all in for a good time.
Well, you can be that person. But you can’t do it if you aren’t at the cocktail party. Heck, if you aren’t on LinkedIn and participating, you don’t even realize that there is a party going on.
I know of entire reputations that are made simply by being online. I have watched, first hand, entire reputations built on the web. Take 3 Geeks, for example. My friends Toby and Greg have turned themselves into Legal Technology rock stars by simply churning out their blog, tweeting good content and developing online relationships.
And the do think that the movie Julie & Julia was about cooking? No. It was about blogging. A girl decided to blog about her daily attempt to cook one Julia Child recipe a day. It was about blogging, not cooking.
And I have seen this happen over and over again in other industries: cooking, make-up, music, entertainment. And young lawyers are making their names known by simply connecting to one another online.
What don’t see are the behind the scenes interactions that aren’t on display online. Toby, Greg and I are constantly getting phone calls, emails, and lunches about going to conferences, doing product reviews and writing CLE programs.
Which leads to the final “P”—price.

Price

Now, traditionally, price is the value that customers assign to the product. Both offline and online, this is a tricky proposition.
In pricing, there is perceived value, the reference value and the differential value.
What does this have to do with LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is free, so why do you have to worry about this?
Well, I think that the better measurement for LinkedIn’s spend is not money but time.
In today’s online economy, I measure not how much money I am spending online but how much time I am spending online.
Everyone hates the onslaught of emails.
My prediction is that everyone is going to get a clue and start pulling the plug on their lives. We will see more unplugged vacations, more unplugged retreats, more unplugged spaces.
We are seeing it in movie theaters and business retreats. Vacations that are off the grid are becoming more and more desirable.
And consumers are becoming savvier about Groupon’s daily deals and walking away from these fire sales.
We are learning, one by one, how to be more thoughtful about how we spend our time online. So it is about striking that balance between how much time we want to spend online and how much of our contact’s time do we want to take? We don’t want to exhaust our contacts and wear out our welcome.
So let us consider the contact’s perceived value of your status update. Everyone is always quick to say, “I am not getting on X, Y or Z social network, why should I care what so-and-so had for lunch?”
Agreed. We don’t want to read about that sort of drivel nor do we want to contribute to it.
Our updates, then, should be meaningful and pertinent to our audience.
That means that we should be carefully selecting and culling our contacts list and providing them with meaningful content that could make a difference to their business.
So don’t think about your contact list in terms of sheer volume.  Instead, look at them as providing you with potential revenue. Now this does not mean only having relationships with GCs. It also means developing relationships with people who influence or come in contact with GCs. Do not be so single-minded to think that only lawyers know lawyers.
One of the best stories that I have about this is about one of our IT guys. Back in 2005 we were chatting when I found out that his daughter was an assistant GC at CountryWide. You know I beat a path to our subprime practice group! And don’t forget the summer interns—sure they may not have taken the job with you and may be working at a competitor. But that won’t stop them from moving to other jobs and possibly going in-house at some point in their career.
This just goes to show how your status updates can become valuable to your contacts because, they in turn, can use that information and Pay It Forward to their contacts.
The reference value is about how your status updates stack up against your competitors. If you aren’t making any updates, your competitors are winning that particular race. If you are making updates and no one else is, as Charlie Sheen would say, that’s WINNING! If you are in a competitive market, then you need to be hitting it hard and matching your competitors update for update.
The differential value is about how your updates differ from the competition. Are your updates short, forward-friendly and links easily accessible? Is the content inviting other to forward?
By the way, did you know that if you say “please forward” or in Twitterese, “please RT”, you stand an 80% chance of being retweeted than if you don’t? It just goes to show you: It never hurts to ask.
And include a link, be it a photo, an article, a video. And the link should be shortened so that it will maximize your space. There are all kinds of shortners out there: Tiny URL, Bit.ly are just two.
So in the in end, the price that your contacts pay is the time that they spend reading your updates. Make it worth their while.

Conclusion

So LinkedIn is just one tool in your online arsenal. I hope this whets your appetite and encourages to try other online tools—Twitter is another great online tool that integrates very well with LinkedIn.
In fact, you can now use #IN at the end of a tweet and it will automatically repost your tweet as a LinkedIn status update, but only if you if have your Twitter profile tied to your LinkedIn profile.
Finally, as it’s explained in the famous “ignore the blond” scene from 2001 movie, A Beautiful Mind, (2:02) real life economist John Nash says, “Adam Smith said that the best result comes from everyone doing what’s best for himself. Incomplete. Incomplete, ok? Because the best result would come from everyone in the group doing what’s best for himself and the group. Governing Dynamics, gentlemen, Governing Dynamics. Adam Smith was wrong.”
This movie was based upon a 1998 Pulitzer prize-nominated book of the same name. In 1994, Nash ended up winning the Nobel prize for his revolutionary work on game theory. This game theory was the mathematical method for analyzing calculated circumstances that would end up playing an instrumental role in online algorithms for  games, markets, auctions and peer-to-peer systems.
All of which led to the development of sites like LinkedIn.
“The best result will come from everyone in the group doing what’s best for himself and the group.”

LinkedIn has announced the release of its CardMunch iPhone app.

While it is once step closer to implementing my LinkedIn  idea, it still has some snags.

This is what it does:

  1. You take a photo of your buddy’s business card.
  2. The business card image is then emailed and crowdsourced by their around-the-world staff. 
  3. Then the app create a profile in CardMunch with a link to person’s LinkedIn profile. 
So, effectively, you have one more database to mind until that new business contact agrees to be added to your LinkedIn contact list.
Right now I am trying to get my Christmas list ready. I am working in my Gmail, LinkedIn, Twitter and Outlook to compile all my folks. Then I still have to research my peeps to get accurate physical mailing addresses.
As a side note: why doesn’t everyone put their business address, email address and/or phone numbers into their profile?

How do you expect me to send you my hand-made, especially customized Christmas card and brag sheet?? Seriously, I like you; I want to send you Christmas cards; that’s why you are my LinkedIn connection!

I’ts enough to turn me into Ms. Scrooge.

LinkedIn just added a new feature to their ad system: “New” Business Accounts.

Well, it’s not really new. The whole business/premium account idea has been around LinkedIn for while. Previously, it meant that you could pay a monthly subscription fee to get access to a wider net of profiles and get to see who actually peeked at your profile. Unless you were a recruiter, it really didn’t make much sense.

But LI finally figured out a way to make a few more bucks off of the feature.

Now, instead of tying up your personal profile to create a business ad on your business page, you can now set use the business account to set up a business ad. Now, you no longer have to use your own personal stuff to get things done. Looks like they took a feature from the Facebook Pages playbook.

Some nice touches are that you can set yourself as an administrator then assign rights to other folks to be a standard user, a viewer, admin, billing contact or campaign contact. Nice. You can set up multiple business accounts that don’t get indexed. Super nice. 
But you better make sure and set up your Company page correctly because it all hinges from there.

The only down side? A $5 activation fee. So unless you have an ad and are ready to rock’n’roll, don’t bother. You just lost your lunch money. Okay, well half of it.  

My grandmother always taught me that beauty is only skin deep. She’d always say, “pretty is as pretty does.”

Sadly, LinkedIn’s grandmother isn’t nearly as wise.

Although LinkedIn has substantially improved the looks of its iPhone app–the previous iteration was clunky and uncooperative–it is no easier to connect to new people.


One day, I hope to be able to sync my LinkedIn app with a new friend’s app so we don’t have to go through the ordeal of swapping business cards and then, at a later date, uploading them into a contact management system. Like Linked In.
Blackberry has this functionality with its BBM feature. You can scan a new friend by scanning a Blackberry generated PIN barcode. Voila! The friend is added to the BBM system.

I can foresee LI developing this kind of feature.

For right now, LI’s iphone app looks great–the updates, inbox, my profile, groups and more all load up well and are easy to use.

But with this one additional feature–which is, isn’t it, the whole point of LI?–the new LI app would be perfect.

I knew this morning that I felt a blog post coming on… (it’s a little like a cold with less sneezing)

Does everybody know this trick? Maybe I’m the last one to figure it out…either way, it’s a good one! I didn’t want to pick on anyone so I’ve redacted this, hope it still makes sense.

How to find LinkedIn names where you see only the person’s title.

 1. Search LinkedIn by title and company.

  2. Oops, not everyone’s name shows up in search results. Hm, what to do…?

 
3. Google it! Search the person’s title from LinkedIn (quotated works best) and more often than not Google will return the name that LinkedIn disguised.

 
Happy searching!

Tell me if you’ve heard this (true) story before… A Partner calls up the Marketing team and says that he is going to be attending a conference this weekend and wants to get some background information on a small group of General Counsels (GC’s) that will be attending. Immediately, Marketing calls the library and asks to have a basic competitive intelligence report drafted up on those ten GC’s — using one of those magical database that we must have.

In the not-so-distant past, we would have gone to the basics of looking up the person’s profile on “magical databases/print resources” like  Martindale-Hubbell or Chambers, and then researched their company websites for profiles, and then conducted a news/information search (sometimes referred to as “I Googled Them”.) However, one of the best resources that we have at our disposal today is the information that the GC’s put out themselves on LinkedIn.

The LinkedIn research works really well if the person you’re looking for is “within your network” (no further than 3 connections away.) If the person is more than 3 connections away, then you usually don’t get to see the full profile, or take advantage of some of the searching features that are available for those within your network. So, the key is to work your connections in such a way that expands your network to include as many GC’s as possible. The best way to do this? Get your firm’s Partners connect with you on LinkedIn. Make it clear to each and every partner that doing so is in their best interest and makes it easier for you to track down information on the potential clients.

Also, don’t forget to connect with your Marketing team. If they rely upon you for competitive intelligence research and analysis, then they too would benefit by connecting with you on LinkedIn and sharing their network with you. Hopefully, your Marketing team is already connected with all the firm’s Partners (if not, then suggest that they start doing so!) Adding a few more connections expands your CI capabilities exponentially, and that can make you the hero when it comes to getting relevant information back to the Partner so he can better prepare to talk with the GC and bring in some more business to the firm.

Back to the story I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Out of the ten GC’s, nine of them had LinkedIn profiles. Out of those nine, eight of them were in my network. The end result was that I was able to pull relevant information on these GC’s and get it into the hands of a partner in just a few minutes. Now I have to go out and start tracking down those other Partners at the firm so that I don’t miss out on that ninth GC the next time around.