What is Twitter?
Twitter, like Facebook, is a social media network. This network enables its users to post short 140-character messages called “tweets.” Users who are registered can read and post tweets, whereas unregistered users can only read tweets. Twitter can be accessed through the website, SMS messaging, or the mobile device application. Twitter has 255 million monthly active users with about 52.7 million being in the United States. These statistics show the potential that Twitter has for your business in terms of exposure and digital marketing. Twitter provides a place to follow breaking news and commentary on a myriad of topics. Journalists and bloggers are very active Twitter users and there are numerous PR opportunities that could be missed simply by not having a presence on this social network. Further, Twitter is an opportunity to connect with your firm’s target market and build brand awareness.
Why Should Lawyers Use Twitter?
Twitter can help you expand your network by quickly introducing you to many new contacts that have a lot of potential value. Beyond just contacts, Twitter can introduce you to new blogs and interesting websites. The platform is a great way to distribute news and press releases via links and to monitor what is being discussed among other lawyers in your field.
Twitter can also help to shape your public image and how others see you. It provides a way for you to remain engaged in your local community. This could mean getting noticed by news reporters who are looking at Twitter to find leads and sources or to keep up to date with your local court system. If used well, Twitter is a great way to boost your online reputation and visibility. There are some key pieces of information and techniques that are valuable in helping you build your law firm’s brand and presence on Twitter.
Hashtags and Lists
Hashtags – one-word keywords formatted as #keyword – are an excellent way to organize and group comments and posts together. This makes it easier to find posts on similar themes or topics. It is becoming a popular strategy of many brands across various industries to create their own hashtag. The same can be done with law firms. People will generally not interact with a hashtag that is just a company name, but making it something that people can get into and really interact with will get a lot more people using it; making it stand out is crucial, so make your hashtags catchy, interesting, or informative to attract attention.
Besides being shared in tweets, hashtags can also be clicked on and searched for. If you are, for example, a real estate attorney, when someone clicks on a hashtag that reads #foreclosurereview, he or she will be able to see a list of tweets and posts on that topic specifically. This is a great way to group similar information and tweets and is valuable in both getting yourself noticed and searching for information regarding your industry.
Beyond hashtags, create or subscribe to lists to follow and monitor specific groups of users, such as individuals within a specific industry or geographic location. This makes it much easier than searching through everyone you’re following. Going back to the previous example, you might have a list comprised only of real estate attorneys; if you’re looking for a specific piece of information or are interested in general trends or news, you’ll know that your real estate attorney list is the best place to start.
Interacting on Twitter
It is a very common mistake for law firm Twitter accounts to have posts only promoting content from their own blogs. Interacting with the legal community and doing such things as responding to people and posts, answering questions, replying to tweets, and starting discussions will bring more traffic and retweets to your account. Try to have conversations – they might lead to longer talks, real world meetups, and you might even convert someone to a client.
Sharing information is one of the most common practices on Twitter. This can happen in a few different ways. The first is posting links to interesting articles, news stories, or opinion pieces. Make sure you aren’t simply linking to your own content. Showing that you’re interested in and knowledgeable about various news sources goes a long way in positioning you as an expert in your field. It’s also a great way to build relationships; peers will be appreciative that you’re spreading their work, and this type of networking can be valuable. You can also share information by commenting on stories. If you have something to say about a topic, especially if you can build off of it and take the conversation in a different direction, you’ll go a long way in showing that you’re a thought leader.
Followers and Following
Something you don’t want to do is to simply go ahead and follow everyone or follow too many people who will not follow you back. Instead law firms should follow the people who are retweeting and favoriting other law firms’ tweets. It is already proven that these individuals are active on Twitter and engage in the conversations online, so it’s important for you to leverage their interactions. Try following them first to show that you also want to engage in dialogues with them.
Networking on Twitter
Twitter is a great place to network with people you meet – and even those you don’t meet in person. It is an opportunity to establish yourself as a leader or expert in your field. There are numerous opportunities to meet potential clients, other lawyers with whom you can build a referral network, and various journalists or bloggers.
Even more than that, networking over Twitter can happen when you or your attorneys attend major conferences. Generally, individuals tweeting about the event will use some sort of hashtag associated with the occasion. This is a great tool to connect with other attorneys and see what everybody is talking about. Interactions on Twitter could transform into in-person meetings where you can really make an impact with other lawyers in your field.
As another technique to find areas to post in, you can set up alerts for any posts that may come that contain your name, your firm’s name, your practice area, or anything along those lines. This can help you see if there are opportunities for you to engage in conversation with people who are talking about you or your firm.
Be aware that information and interactions on Twitter are public information. There are many examples of celebrities and businesses who have received public repercussions because of a misuse of Twitter. Due to this, it is important to make sure that only authorized personnel have access to your firm’s Twitter account and that these personnel have been trained and are aware of the type of messaging that is appropriate for your firm. It would also be wise not to follow accounts that may pose as a conflict of interest either now or in the future. This could mean the accounts of specific judges, for example. Further, do not accidentally form an attorney-client relationships on Twitter.
Using these techniques will help to send more traffic through to your Twitter account and hopefully bring in more clients as well. Twitter is a tool that should be used to engage your followers. This social network is an opportunity to delve deeper into issues that your firm focuses on, engage readers on pressing topics, and show your firm’s mastery and handle on your respective subject area.