Do you want to know the real keys to success on LinkedIn?

It’s about shifting to a client-centric mindset in all you do.

It’s about making your posts about your audience and helping them. It’s not about posting ME-centric content that touts your successes.

  1. Real success happens on LinkedIn when you start building relationships, telling stories allowing people to get to know you and are dedicated to providing value to your connections every single day. Here’s how:
  2. Post relevant and useful content consistently. Think about serving and helping others in each of your posts – NOT about promoting yourself.
  3. Storytelling really works. People connect with you more when you share stories. It makes your content personal and unique, and makes you stand out.
  4. Share career and business opportunities with your network. LinkedIn is a great place to find candidates and referrals. You never know who might be a potential employee or employer. Always have your profile in tiptop shape.
  5. Introduce your connections to people you know and offer to help others.
  6. Engage with your connections’ content. Your reactions, shares and comments can help them build their brand and audience.
  7. Give away helpful free stuff: free talks, free consultations, free CLEs, free tools, free ebooks, etc – think how can these freebies showcase what differentiates me and my organization? Also there’s no such thing as giving away too much free stuff.
  8. Be a mentor. There’s always someone who can learn from you. Paying it forward is just the right thing to do.
  9. Be YOU. You can add value by simply being you! (And don’t forget to add a little bit of whatever is that secret ingredient that makes you unique).

Learn more about how you can easily do this on my YouTube channel.

Law firm alumni are among the most important referral, new business and recruiting sources as well as brand ambassadors. Law firms of all sizes have alumni – yet many firms aren’t yet investing in creating an alumni relations program. Here’s why and how you should.

My very first law firm job was running the alumni relations program at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP 20 years ago. Overseeing this program showed me how alumni could be integrated into a firm’s community throughout the lifecycle of their careers. I went on to run alumni programs at Sullivan & Cromwell, MoFo and Proskauer, and as technology improved, so did alumni relations management.

A law firm alumni program is so much more than planning periodic events and creating an alumni database and web site. It’s about creating a long-term supportive community throughout the lifecycle of the alum’s career.

It’s about supporting their professional development. Most alumni who left your firm to go into another field or go in-house don’t have the luxury of having many pro bono opportunities from which to choose but law firms do. So, extend these opportunities to your alumni – they will greatly appreciate it.

It is also about creating opportunities for alumni to reconnect with each other. You can do this through an online alumni directory as well as events.

Offer alumni a combination of in-person and virtual events that are both social and educational (CLE credit is harder to get when you aren’t at a law firm, so offer your alumni access to your online CLE library or resources for CLEs that you have).

Promoting your alumni and their successes should be at the heart of your alumni relations program. Create an e-newsletter with a “class notes” section announcing alumni job moves, promotions and other professional achievements. Encourage them to send in information about themselves, which will help you capture updated contact information. Allowing them to share their successes will enhance your relationship with alumni.

Tracking alumni and their career progression should be at the heart of your alumni relations program. You can have the greatest content in the world but if you aren’t reaching your alumni, it’s worthless. If you don’t have internal resources to manage your alumni contact data, there are companies that do this. It’s well worth the investment to outsource it.

There will be some alumni that you will want to keep close to the fold – perhaps clients or prospective clients, judges and in-house counsel. Create opportunities for them to help steer the direction of the alumni program – at one firm we created an alumni board of directors that provided invaluable input on the direction of the program.

Investing in alumni is such a smart investment for everyone involved – so start today.

I have more tips for running a law firm alumni program in this longer article.

Happy first day of fall! Here are 10 things you should do this fall to build your business and brand – all of which can be done by any business professional at any level.

  1. Google yourself and set up Google Alerts for your top clients and prospects
  2. Reevaluate your business’ goals for the year and set achievable ones
  3. Become involved with alumni associations, pro bono and industry trade organizations and community service work
  4. Write a client alert, a blog post, an article or all of these
  5. Learn how to use hashtags
  6. Reconnect with former clients and referral sources
  7. Look at the analytics of past blog posts and client alerts to create a smarter content strategy
  8. Enhance and update your bio and LinkedIn profile
  9. Ensure that all practice area/industry descriptions on your web site are updated and reflect current market conditions
  10. Use LinkedIn more effectively. Make a connections plan for LinkedIn and strategically increase your network (come to my free master class on Friday to learn more about that – register here).

Happy fall and don’t forget to enjoy changing out the way and lots of pumpkin everything!

 

I recently had the opportunity to be a guest on Reputation Ink’s Spill the Ink podcast. I had a great time talking to host Michelle King about all things LinkedIn – my favorite topic!

As we discussed, a strong social media presence can not only make your firm more approachable, but it can open new demographics that were once inaccessible. It’s a Swiss Army knife of a marketing tool that is too often ignored. If done right, your LinkedIn output can transform your law firm.

We spoke about:

  • How I built my personal brand on LinkedIn
  • Why lawyers should care about their social media presence
  • The important steps to building a successful LinkedIn page
  • Creating and organizing content for social media
  • How to get better engagement on your company page
  • Sharing personal stories and being vulnerable on LinkedIn
  • Are LinkedIn groups effective?
  • Helping law firms to drive likes on their company page
  • The power of multimedia content on LinkedIn

Listen to the podcast.

Contact me if you need help with enhancing your LinkedIn presence.

Here’s a true story about why it’s so important to regularly Google yourself.

The other day I Googled myself, which I do monthly to manage my personal brand, and to my surprise, I saw my age, my current address, all of my past addresses, the names of my family members and my emails and phone number listed publicly on TruePeopleSearch.

True People Search aggregates personal information – name, age, past addresses, relatives and more – from public records and puts it all in one place, making it easily searchable. Too easily searchable and viewable for me.

I can’t think of one good reason why my home address and my relatives’ names need to be online.

I recommend that anyone looking to protect their personal information online is to go through the True People Search removal process.

There are a number of reasons for this.

  1. They share a vast amount of personal info that can be used for harmful purposes
  2. It’s totally free (this is a big one)

It can be disconcerting to see so much personal information on one page, but fortunately the site gives you the option to have your information removed. To do so, navigate to the removal page here.

After checking off a disclaimer and verifying that you’re not a robot, you’ll be able to pull up your record and flag it for removal.

TruePeopleSearch says records should be removed from the site “within a few hours” after the request is submitted.

  1. To remove your record, follow these instructions.
  2. Agree to the terms and check the “I’m not a robot button”
  3. Click the ‘begin’ button
  4. Search for your record, click on the details button to bring up your record detail
  5. At the bottom of the record detail page click the ‘remove this record’ button. If you don’t see that button you are either on the wrong page or your session expired (in which case start over)
  6. You will receive an email with a link, click on the link to confirm your removal request
  7. Your record will be removed on the site within 72 hours.

Make sure you Google yourself today and remove yourself if you find that you are listed on these nuisance websites that invade our personal privacy.

Here’s a video with more about it what happened to me.

It was recently discovered that job postings on LinkedIn aren’t as secure as you might expect.

Anyone with a LinkedIn profile can anonymously create a job posting for nearly any small or medium-sized organization.

The person creating the post does not have to prove whether or not they are associated with that organization. This means that a cybercriminal could post a job opening for a legitimate organization and then link applicants to a malicious website.

Cybercriminals can use LinkedIn’s “Easy Apply” option.

This option allows applicants to send a resume to the email address associated with the job posting without leaving the LinkedIn platform.

Since the email address is associated with the job posting and not necessarily the organization, cybercriminals can trick you into sending your resume directly to them.

Resumes typically include both personal and professional information that you do not want to share with a cybercriminal.

Follow the tips below to stay safe from this unique threat:

  • Watch out for grammatical errors, unusual language, and style inconsistencies in LinkedIn job postings. Be suspicious of job postings that look different compared to other job postings from the same organization.
  • Avoid applying for a job within the LinkedIn platform. Instead, go to the organization’s official website to find their careers page or contact information.
  • If you find a suspicious job posting on LinkedIn, report it. To report a job posting, go to the Job Details page, click the more icon, and then click Report this job.

My first law firm job 20 years ago was overseeing the alumni relations program at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. Back then we had a hard copy alumni contact directory and held a fancy alumni networking event once per year.

We also built one of the first law firm alumni microsites – it was exciting to work on such a forward-thinking initiative long before many firms did the same.

I went on to run alumni programs at several other firms, including Sullivan & Cromwell, Morrison & Foerster and Proskauer, and I learned so much on how to create a successful alumni experience from these roles.

Today alumni programs are much more multidimensional – or at least should be – and firms of all sizes should invest in creating an alumni program.

Maintaining regular contact with your alumni is so important today for all law firms – as well as other professional services organizations because alumni have unique and tremendous value to your law firm.

Your alumni are among your strongest, or weakest, brand advocates.

It doesn’t matter how big or small your organization is, if you have employees who have left the firm with whom you want to keep in touch, then you need an alumni relations program.

Alumni relations can help your law firm with:

  • Recruiting initiatives – Alumni are an excellent source for identifying and engaging potential recruits. Your alumni are more likely to be considered by prospective employees as a credible source of information about what it’s like to work at the organization.
  • Lateral pipeline activities
  • Business development
  • General positive brand building for your law firm
  • Brand advocates to drive business development, recruiting and thought leadership
  • Boomerang employees – many alumni return to your firm after going in-house, into public service or even discovering the grass isn’t greener somewhere else. It’s much easier to re-onboard a lawyer than to hire from scratch.

A law firm alumni program is so much more than planning periodic events and creating an alumni database and web site.

It’s about creating a long-term supportive community throughout the lifecycle of the alum’s career. It is also about creating opportunities for alumni to reconnect with each other. And finally promoting your alumni and their successes should be at the heart of your law firm alumni relations program.

With a large volume of work undertaken by partner firms or consultants, your alumni are a strategic talent pool.

And it doesn’t matter if a lawyer was at your law firm for one year, three years, 10 years or their entire career, they are still potential clients, referral sources and brand advocates.

A successful alumni relations program should include:

  • An alumni strategic plan with an alumni engagement strategy. This is not a multi-page document, it should have clear goals and objectives that are attainable. You can break it out by quarter to help you focus on the projects and tactics that you would like to do during a certain time period. I have samples of alumni strategic plans that I’ve created, feel free to contact me to obtain one.
  • Define your marketing strategy. Within your strategic plan outline your marketing strategy to recruit and engage participants. It is important to market your alumni network to keep your alumni engaged.
  • Know your audience. You likely have hundreds if not thousands of alumni across the globe. You won’t be able to focus on each of them equally so designate priority alumni segments. Consider who you want to create the most value for and who, in turn, could create value for your firm and others such as:
    • Rainmakers/industry leaders who are still shaping the industry
    • Future leaders who want to make a difference in the space
    • Retirees/elder states people who have been committed to the firm for a long time
  • Events – Your alumni are busy professionals so offer them a combination of in-person and virtual events that are both social and educational (offer your alumni CLE credit and they will be eternally grateful). Consider hosting a series of programs for alumni in in-house counsel roles – this is a great way to build relationships with potential clients. I recommend surveying alumni to see what time the majority of the prefer to attend events. At one firm we found that it was before work, at another firm it was lunchtime and yet another firm evening events were preferred. Offer events at different times and be sensitive to time zones if you have global alumni. Obviously right now safety is of the upmost importance because of Covid restrictions so online events are probably your best bet for now and their flexibility increases the likelihood that your alumni will attend.
  • Pro bono and community service opportunities – Most alumni who left your firm to go into another field or go in-house don’t have the luxury of having many pro bono opportunities from which to choose but law firms do. So, extend these opportunities to your alumni as well – they will greatly appreciate it.
  • By the same token, if you can offer alumni access to philanthropic programs with which your firm already has partnerships, do it.
  • Social media – maintaining an alumni community on various social media platforms is an easy way to stay in touch with them and helps them network with each other. Use LinkedIn and Facebook’s closed groups for this.
  • Web presence – create a password-protected alumni web site that includes alumni contact information in an online directory. Post jobs on this site and alumni profiles.
  • Online directory – Tracking alumni and their career progression should be at the heart of your alumni relations program. Tools such as Leopard Solutions’ alumni tracker can easily help you stay informed of your alumni’s job moves throughout the years. Remember that just because you have the contact information of an alum when they initially leave your firm, doesn’t mean they are still at that organization two, three or five years later. That’s why it’s so important to have a tracker tool, which is monitors job moves during the lifecycle of a lawyer’s career. Unless you have the internal resources to dedicate to searching for your alumni on a regular basis, you’ll need outside help.
  • Periodically review your alumni data. Your alumni are moving on to other roles every week. To keep track of this, regularly email your list (with content of value) and then go through your bounceback emails. This will only help you with professional emails though – if you have their personal emails in your system, you won’t know if they’ve moved jobs, so give them the opportunity to let you know of job moves by publicizing your class notes section as the impetus for their updates.
  • Email marketing – You should aim to email alumni once a month with an electronic newsletter/event invites to stay top of mind and build a strong community. Feature alumni profiles in this publication as well as class notes, as people really want to know where their colleagues are today, this will increase readership.
  • Special initiatives – There will be some alumni that you will want to keep close to the fold – perhaps clients or prospective clients, judges, in-house counsel and alumni who you invite back to speak at recruiting events. Create opportunities for them to help steer the direction of the alumni program – at one firm we created an alumni board of directors that provided invaluable input on the direction of the program.
  • An alumni newsletter – This should be all about your alumni – feature profiles of their career paths and include a “class notes” section featuring their job moves, promotions and any positive professional news that they want to highlight. This feature will be a huge draw for your emails and social media accounts as people want to hear about updates about their former colleagues.
  • Exclusives and incentives – Maybe it’s free CLE credit, discounts on certain services (legal, travel, etc.), job postings at clients, referral bonuses to help you build your lateral program – come up with unique things that will incentivize your alumni to participate in your program especially if thrive been out of the fold for awhile.
  • Mentoring – Connecting alumni to each other or to existing employees starting their careers to provide guidance, knowledge and assistance is one of the most meaningful things you can do as part of an alumni relations program. Some alumni may need mentors and some alumni may want to be mentors, so team up with your professional development group to start a mentorship program based upon what you are already doing internally. There’s no reason not to include alumni in this community.
  • Content marketing – With the help of your alumni strategic plan and a general email survey of your alumni that I recommend you conduct once per year in order to ascertain what kinds of content alumni want to read about.

For example, do they want industry news, mentoring opportunities, news about their former colleagues and/or job or networking opportunities? Content that converges your business goals with alumni needs will be most effective. Here are a few ideas:

    • Create an employee referral program
    • Run an “ask the expert” series of events that invite current or former employees to share their expertise on specific topics
    • Share job opportunities on an online jobs board in your community and enable members to set up job notifications
    • Share firm news and spotlight alumni and their successes
    • Offer free CLEs and other educational programs
  • Ensure firm leaders are involved with your alumni program. Have them attend events, provide content and promote the program to current and past employees. This will increase the visibility of your alumni program.

How to Create and Run an Alumni Program

I recommend designating a primary project manager for alumni initiatives – this person can be your point person to help you carry out the objectives of the program and to interact with alumni on a regular basis (it’s important that alumni have a real human contact at the firm — don’t send all requests to a general alumni email box). Your alumni point person doesn’t have to be a full-time person if you are a small- or mid-size firm.

When it comes to the employee exit process, make sure it is handled as amicably as possible no matter the circumstances.

The main message to convey should be that although the employee has left the firm, they are still part of the family. Send soon to be former employees an email before they leave with a link to the online alumni network to update their information and remind them of the benefits of joining.

  • It’s important to focus on the long term and start the process of building awareness for your alumni network while individuals are still a part of your organization. By educating current employees on the value of the alumni program, it will give you a better chance of bringing them into your network if they choose to leave.
  • Market your alumni network to current employees and to new hires during the onboarding process. You will find that employees see the program as a benefit and shows that your organization values staying connected even after they have moved on.

Treat your alumni as if they are just as important as your clients because they are.

They can help you with so many initiatives and irrespective of whether someone left the firm voluntarily or not, you have an opportunity to bring them back into your law firm’s community and mend hurt feelings.

And please don’t exclude alumni at other law firms from your alumni events and other programs – everyone can be a potential referral source or a future client – I see so many firms opt to not invite “competitors,” which is a very narrow way to think about your former employees.

In closing, firms of all sizes should have an alumni relations program of some sort – whether your firm has been in existence for 150 years, 50 years, 25 years or 10 years. If you have former employees, you need an alumni program.

I would also encourage you to think beyond just including lawyers in your alumni program.

There are many summer associates, paralegals and law firm administrative professionals who went on to do some terrific things not only in the law.

You are limiting your pipeline and opportunities if you just think of alumni relations is strictly for lawyers.

If you need help setting up an alumni relations program, please reach out to me.

One of the biggest mistakes that I see companies and individuals make on social media is posting a piece of original content just once.

I call this “one and done.”

This is a mistake because people often miss your posts – they’re busy and may not be on social media or reading the email newsletter you sent them.

This is why it’s so important to reuse and repurpose your content.

First thing first, let’s go over the differences between reusing and repurposing content.

Repurposing content means turning your content into a different format and/or optimizing existing content for a new target audience.

Reusing content, on the other hand, is simply a way to take existing content and republish it as new – with minimal changes or no changes at all.

Think of one of your best performing blog posts – the one that consistently gets the most traffic and the most shares and comments. If you wanted to reach a new audience with a piece of content that you know gets results, you could repurpose it post by turning it into a video and publishing it on different channels, such as YouTube – and that’s what content repurposing is: turning a piece of content into something completely different.

Repurposing and reusing content enables you to cast a wider net with it and increase the odds that it will be seen by others.

It also saves you time so you don’t have to keep creating new content.

Also, not everyone who is following you now on LinkedIn or currently reading your blog was reading it months or years ago, And even if they were, it also doesn’t mean they saw every piece of content you published.

Updating old content also helps with search engine optimization. And the more successful one of your pieces of content is, the more shares and backlinks you get, which boosts your organic SEO.

Too often we make the mistake of publishing content, promoting it and moving on from it forever.

You don’t actually need to constantly create new content to be successful at social media marketing.

So what should you repurpose/reuse? The best content to repurpose is the content that has already proven itself to be successful: your most popular content. To find these, go through your analytics on email marketing, web site, blog posts and social media.

Also make a list of your evergreen posts or content that is timeless. Pieces like “what to do when you get a subpoena” or “why you need a will” are gifts that keep giving and should be regularly reposted. Updating a few lines in these pieces or adding links will increase their visibility and SEO.

Together with your most popular content from your website/blog, social media, and evergreen pieces you should have a good starting point to begin strategically repurposing your content.

In this video I explore ideas on how to more effectively reuse and repurpose your content using the images you already have such as headshots, past event photos, and practice area and blog images.

This is called owned media – creating news of your own with the assets you already have.

Reusing and repurposing your content helps you make the most out of your content.

Keeping a simple editorial calendar will help you manage repurposing and reusing posts.

Letting your content work harder and smarter for you is just smart marketing, so why wouldn’t you?

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, October 5 at 12:30pm ET for Rich Bracken’s Women Who Wow virtual program on how we can leverage emotional intelligence for daily success.

In this webinar, Rich will dive into the core elements of emotional intelligence and how you can leverage them for personal and professional happiness. Through this discovery, he will arm you with the awareness of your EQ to help you succeed and grow every single day.

Rich will cover:

  • The fundamental elements of emotional intelligence
  • How to identify your EQ strengths & weaknesses
  • Strategies for managing your triggers
  • Professional & personal benefits of EQ
  • Daily changes to improve your EQ

Rich Bracken is a global keynote speaker, media personality and award-winning marketing executive.

He routinely works with associations, companies and individuals across the country looking to establish sustainable change and improvement in their approach to achieving their goals. Rich is a frequent speaker and writer on topics such as emotional intelligence, leadership, goal setting and achievement, sales/client service and presentation skills.

If you’ve never heard Rich speak (or you’ve heard him often), trust me you don’t want to miss this!

Register here. (Note, this is a free program.)

Here are three things you should do on LinkedIn today to build your brand, network and business – focus on these fundamentals today to strengthen your profile and presence in no time.

They include:

  1. Update your personal headline – use descriptive, searchable terms to highlight your strengths. Your headline comes up prominently in Google searches and LinkedIn searches so make sure it reflects what you do, for whom you do it and why you do it (your key differentiators). If you don’t update your headline, LinkedIn will pull and your current job title and company name as your headline and that is just not optimizing your headline. You were so much more than your current position . This is one of the most important sections of your profile. 
  2. Upload a cover image that relates to your business and brand.
  3. Get to 501 connections. When you get to 500+ connections your profile no longer will display the actual amount of connections but rather say 500+. This shows that you have a wide and varied network and this enables your posts to reach more people. It’s of course about the quality of your connections not the quantity but with 750,000,000+ people on LinkedIn today, you should be able to get to 500+ easily.

Reach out to me for help with your LinkedIn presence.