Demystifying LinkedIn: Breaking Down the Roadblocks to Building an Authentic LinkedIn Presence

By Lindsey Collins

Risa McMahon, Business Development Director at Greensfelder and Gale, joined the WBADC for a webinar in May 2020 focused on tips and tricks to stand out among LinkedIn’s 575 million members.

McMahon described the professional social media platform as the “lowest of the low hanging fruit” because of its simplicity and effectiveness. “You can get so much out of LinkedIn just using it in a fairly basic manner, without even getting too tech crazy,” she said. “It requires so little time and packs such a big punch in terms of return on investment.”

LinkedIn has provided an important medium to stay in touch with professional connections—even more critical as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to limit in-person meetings. “It’s a fast way to figure out what everyone is doing, and an even faster way to stay connected with people in between those in-person opportunities,” she said. “I scroll to see what others I’ve worked with before and people I’d like to work with more are up to. It gives … a quick snapshot of what’s going on in the world.”

To McMahon, one of the most important steps is in creating a LinkedIn account is overcoming any initial hesitations about creating your profile. “You should mainly use it to connect with others, so don’t agonize too much about what’s on the profile,” she said. “Whether you’re an outside attorney trying to get inside counsel to know you, or whether you’re an in-house counsel wanting to raise your own visibility, it can be very helpful.”

She urged users not to worry about “clogging up” the newsfeed with their own likes and comments, explaining that the platform’s algorithms prevent that from occurring.

According to McMahon, LinkedIn profiles require some basic features to be successful, including a current (emphasis on current!) photo and a first-person “About” description of the user’s current position and/or overall career goals. “It’s a little bit of a faux pas to use your actual bio [from] your firm’s website, because it’s obvious you copied and pasted. It should be like you’re introducing yourself in person,” McMahon said. She suggested that the “About” description should be crafted to draw in the reader’s attention.

McMahon also recommends using the profile’s “Featured” section, which provides a highlighted space to show the user’s interests and promote the user’s working and publications.

Finally, McMahon urged users to actively engage in the newsfeed, which she referred to as LinkedIn’s “home-base.” For a basic user, McMahon recommends aiming for reasonable but attainable engagement, and suggests setting a goal to “like” at least two posts per week, leave at least one post comment per week, and share at least one post per month.

WBA members can watch “Demystifying LinkedIn: Breaking Down the Roadblocks to Building an Authentic LinkedIn Presence” in its entirely. Log in to your member profile and click on video library.