“A well-crafted LinkedIn network is like a finely tuned sports car,” said Nugent.  “It’s really a waste if you just let it sit in the garage.  You should take it out for a spin as often as possible.  The more you ‘drive’ LinkedIn, the more you’ll discover its usefulness — and the more you’ll realize what a powerful tool it can be on a daily basis.”

Your LinkedIn network is essential when conducting pre-interaction due diligence.  “You can search your network in order to find out useful information about prospects, their companies, clients, competitors, consultants, referral partners, media sources and employees,” said Nugent.  “The quality of your results will be determined by the quality of your contacts and the size of your network.

“LinkedIn can help provide answers to many important questions,” said Nugent.  “These include who is the right person to talk to in a particular organization?  What can I discover about this person prior to our meeting?  Who else is on their team?  Who might be able to provide me with background or an introduction?”

LinkedIn’s “advanced search” capability allows you to refine a search by relationship, location, current company, industry, past company, school and language.  Search can be further narrowed by groups, years of experience, function, seniority level, interests, company size, Fortune ranking and date joined.

Lawyers who want expanded search capabilities and additional functionality can try a premium membership on a monthly basis rather than sticking with the basic free membership.  However, the free membership provides plenty of power for most LinkedIn users.

“In just ten years, LinkedIn has gone from being a novelty embraced by techies to a must-have marketing tool for all professionals who hope to compete in today’s marketplace,” said Nugent.  “By creating a strong profile and a robust network, and by being an active user, any lawyer can vastly enhance his or her online visibility and reputation.”

This is part four of a four-part article.  For the entire article:

 

LinkedIn (or left out) for lawyers