A legal marketer recently told me about advice she heard from a business consultant: If you aren’t going to use your LinkedIn account, you should delete it.

Makes sense, right? You don’t want to make a bad impression online, and you certainly don’t want to seem like you are ignoring people who send you a direct message on the platform. After all, you have a billable hour requirement and other more important things to do.

While this may seem like decent advice on the surface, I adamantly disagree and hope to convince you that closing your LinkedIn account is not a good idea. What follows are a few of the primary reasons why you should choose to keep your LinkedIn account active.

LinkedIn Profiles Appear High in Search Engine Results

LinkedIn shows up very high in search engine results pages (SERPs) when someone searches for your name. Why wouldn’t you want more real estate dedicated to you instead of some stranger, who just might be a competitor? Here are the results I see when I search “Chris Moyer Jaffe” on Google. Where did my LinkedIn profile show up? Position #2 in search results, along with the strong social proof that I have more than 750 followers on the platform. My LinkedIn profile is the #1 position if I Google “Chris Moyer Raleigh.”

Social Proof Networking Strategy

LinkedIn offers fantastic social proof for someone who has either met you in person or was recommended to you by a colleague. How so, you ask? One of the greatest features of the platform is its “common connections.”

For instance, in the screenshot below, I don’t know Jack Smith (not a real person), but I see that he and I have two mutual connections. If I were interested in learning more about Jack, I could easily send a LinkedIn Direct Message, or an email/phone call/text, to my mutual connections to ask them how they know Jack. I could then follow that up with additional questions to determine whether working with Jack is the right choice for me.

LinkedIn is a Modern Rolodex

In the days before the internet, a Rolodex was the best way we had to keep up with people. But LinkedIn is far superior to the Rolodex. It is a fantastic way to keep up with law school classmates, former co-workers and clients, and it is always updated; long gone are the days of having dated information in your Rolodex because you didn’t realize someone changed jobs. There is no way to predict where your law school classmate will be 20 years post-graduation, but there is always a chance that they will be in a position where they could potentially hire you or refer work your way, and LinkedIn will help you find them. 

Staying in Touch with Contacts

LinkedIn offers fantastic opportunities to stay in touch with people. You will be notified when your LinkedIn connections change jobs or are promoted, providing a great opportunity to reach out, say congratulations and keep the relationship alive. You would never have known about the update if you were not on LinkedIn, and ongoing relationship-building is crucial for business development.

Company Research

Let’s say you want to start doing work with a specific company, but you don’t have any connections there. Or at least, you don’t think you do. LinkedIn to the rescue! In just a few minutes of searching on LinkedIn, you can easily see who is in a position at your target company to possibly hire you, what second-degree connections you have, and even which alumni from your school work there and could offer you an introduction. As a quick reminder, a second-degree connection is a friend of a friend: someone you are connected to on LinkedIn knows the person whose profile you are viewing. In theory, you can ask your connection to make an introduction. Try doing all that in 10 minutes or less without LinkedIn.

Employee Screening

Making the right choice in hiring is critical and the more data points available, the better. LinkedIn provides a wealth of information beyond what fits in a resumé. Say you have three final candidates and are struggling to determine which one will be the best hire. LinkedIn can help. As previously mentioned, one great data point is the ability to see your mutual connections. Perhaps one of your prospective hires is connected to someone you went to law school with. You could reach out to your law school classmate and see how well they know the person you are considering hiring. If your potential hire is active on LinkedIn, you will also be able to see any thought leadership they have published. But all this requires that you have a LinkedIn account yourself.

Finding Your Next Job Opportunity

My last two jobs came to me on LinkedIn (both at times when I was not actively looking for a new role). Maybe you are like me and are not looking for a new job, but, as my experience shows, opportunity can’t come knocking if you don’t have a door, or in this case, a LinkedIn profile. 

So, Should You Really Cancel Your LinkedIn Account?

The advice to cancel your LinkedIn profile was based on the risk of showing up poorly on LinkedIn. While that is a valid concern, not showing up is arguably even worse. After you exchange business cards with someone, the first thing many professionals will do is look you up on LinkedIn to either connect with you or see what mutual connections you have. Imagine if someone looked you up and you weren’t there. This would be a wasted opportunity. LinkedIn is free marketing; why not take advantage of it?

What if you don’t want to make LinkedIn a major part of your business development?

That is okay, but you should keep your account and make a few edits to your profile so it represents you well. Check out my recent article where I offer some quick tips to strengthen your LinkedIn profile. If you have additional questions about LinkedIn, read our article, which answers 10 of the top questions lawyers ask about LinkedIn.

It should be obvious at this point, but I am passionate about LinkedIn. If you need help improving your LinkedIn profile, contact me, Chris Moyer, at cmoyer@jaffepr.com.