Previous Attorney at Work posts have discussed how to use Twitter for maximum effect while assuming you have an interest in it as a marketing tool. But some lawyers say they do not have Twitter accounts because it is irrelevant to their practice.
Here’s why they are wrong.
It’s About More than 140 Characters
Some Twitterers have conversations on Twitter, but businesses use it to broadcast. Twitter’s claim to fame is the 140-character limit, of course. But you can include a link to other information you or anyone else has posted on the Internet.
You can broadcast information of any size via links. When I look at my Twitter timeline (the tweets of the people I follow on Twitter), almost every tweet includes a link to more complete material. Twitter is a fast way to pass along news, no matter how complex. (Sites like www.tinyurl.com will reduce the number of characters in long link names to help you stay within 140 characters.)
You Can Use Twitter to Investigate
A lot of clients are using Twitter, and the “Twitterverse” is posting about your clients, too. You can search for information using just a word or name. You can also find what may be the most relevant information with a hashtag (#) search. Just because you have a Twitter account doesn’t obligate you to post. PC Magazine reports 44 percent of Twitter account holders have never tweeted.
Personal injury attorneys know that a plaintiff’s social media postings can provide ground for impeachment. And if you are courting a new corporate client, Twitter is one way to get information about their current initiatives.
It Helps You Stay Up to Date
Twitter is a darn good way to get news quickly. Follow news organizations or societies to get information most relevant to your practice — or your life. Here are some I follow:
- The Week @TheWeek
- Bloomberg Businessweek @BW
- SpeedReads @SpeedReads
- JDSupra Advisories @JDSupra
- Mediator Academy @The_Mediator
- Insurance Today @2dayInsurance
- ABA Law Practice Management Section @LawPracticeTips
Confession: I also follow @JokeBlogger.
Also, if there is a natural phenomenon or a disaster in your area, Twitter may be the fastest way to find about it. My husband and I got a big jolt while watching television recently. Earthquake! I searched Twitter for “earthquake” and immediately found the magnitude (“light”) and the epicenter’s exact location (about five miles away).
Your clients may have their own personal earthquakes as well. News about bus crashes, product liability and public rants may hit Twitter first.
Next to the “irrelevant to my practice” argument, the next most common objection to using Twitter is “I don’t have time.” Do you read to keep abreast of developments in your practice? Curating that information for those interested in your practice area is simple.
Attorneys have long sent clippings to their clients as a way to stay in touch and market. Twitter lets you broadcast that information easily. Social media management apps such as Buffer and HootSuite allow you to tweet a link to the URL on your screen with a click. Or you can highlight and tweet part of what you see on-screen. You can keep the title the app grabs or edit it. Sometimes only the URL link appears, and you will add your own text. Using hashtags when you tweet can improve visibility.
Perhaps the coolest function of these apps is the ability to delay. You can create tweets through a scheduling app like Tweetdeck and simply add them to your queue. Let’s say you are reading emails at the kitchen table before bedtime. There’s news from the bar association and the professional societies you subscribe to. As you catch up on developments, you can click to share that information according to a predefined schedule. So what you read at 11 p.m., you can share at 9:08 a.m., 10:15 a.m. and 11:22 a.m. the next day.
The estimated life of a tweet is about an hour. Tweeting throughout the day improves the likelihood yours will be noticed.
Once you begin using your Twitter account, you will probably enjoy it. Start by looking for tweeters posting on subjects you care about. Look for people you know, or search by subject. (Hint: Look for lists created by people you follow on Twitter.)
Most sites include a “Follow Us On Twitter” button. After you follow some users, Twitter will suggest similar ones to follow. Some of them will follow you in turn. Let people know you are on Twitter and sharing news they can use.
And a last note for those who may still be thinking, “But my clients don’t use Twitter.” Do they use Google? Posting regular information using keywords will improve your Internet visibility overall.
I’ll be looking for your posts.
Theda C. “Teddy” Snyder (@WCMediator) mediates workers’ compensation cases throughout California. An attorney since 1977, she has practiced in a variety of settings and is a frequent speaker and author on topics impacting settlement and the business of law. She is a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. A former Chicagoan, Teddy is based in Los Angeles and can be found at www.WCMediator.com.
More About Twitter on Attorney at Work:
- Conducting Your Social Media Orchestra by Gyi Tsakalakis
- Grow Your Twitter Presence: 10 Tips
- Engaging on Twitter: Be a Follower
- Five Ways to Use Twitter Lists by Andrea Cannavina
- Bag ‘Em and Tag ‘Em: A Hashtagger’s Guide to the Galaxy by Jared Correia