By Hannah Kurtz
There are countless statistics and blogs that advocate the creation and utilization of corporate Twitter accounts. This seems like a no brainer for most industries; whether you’re a local business trying to reach vegans in Philadelphia or a multinational fashion retailer trying to get the word out about your end-of-summer sale, Twitter can help you identify consumers, give coupons, show pictures, and even suggest potential customers based on your existing followers.
Other industries, however, are slow on the Twitter uptake. Some see it as a new media that is simply a waste of time, while others don’t see the business appeal in using the platform. Law firms in particular have some of the weakest Twitter presence. The challenge firms’ face in trying to reach their possible client base is a tough one, but those who have made efforts on Twitter have seen positive results.
The 2013 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report shows that 19 percent of respondents said that their firms maintain a presence on Twitter, which is up from 13 percent from 2012. Another survey by Greentarget predicts that this trend will only continue, especially considering the next generation of lawyers and in-house counsel are already on Twitter.
Currently, most law firms are in what Good2bSocial’s survey calls the “pre-adolescent” stage of social business, meaning that they see its prevalence and value, but still aren’t using it to its potential. Most firms have been quicker to jump on LinkedIn, while many lawyers have personal Facebook pages to keep up with old classmates and post pictures. However, neither of these provide an outlet for firms and attorneys to truly interact and share up-to-the minute news, media, and campaigns with an extremely wide audience.
LinkedIn and Facebook both require accounts for others to view the profiles, and are engineered predominantly for networking, not posting. Twitter is the perfect resource for the 24-hour news cycle we live in; it empowers businesses and individuals alike to take control of the conversation and share news timely and accurately, keeping your network informed. In addition, having many active social media pages helps with the firms SEO as well as shows that the firm is up to date on current trends.
How can law firms successfully use Twitter? Here are six tips to help any Twitter account get to the next level.
- Use a Tweeting platform – Services like Hootsuite and TweetDeck can help with everything from scheduling tweets to shortening links and suggesting followers. Plus they save time!
- Utilize lists – This is something that should be done before a firm really starts tweeting. Start by following local and national legal publications and reporters, and then see who they follow and interact with. Following pre-existing lists is a simple and quick way to do this.
- Tweet diverse and updated content – Content should be varied; nothing makes users want to click “unfollow” more than a constant stream of dull firm press releases. Imagine yourself as a referral source or potential client and think of what you would want to know. Keep in mind that Twitter can be an important tool to humanize the firm since it can be used to share pictures and videos as well as promote pro-bono work and individual causes that might not be appropriate for the firm’s website. Visuals almost always do better on social media, because users like to see that there are people behind the brand.
- Don’t fear hashtags: For non-Twitter users this may be the hardest one to grasp. You may be thinking “do people even search for #law?” The answer is “probably not,” but by utilizing pre-existing hashtags or creating your own, you can easily control and organize your message, as well as follow and be a part of a conversation. Speaking at a legal event in a few weeks? See if the conference is promoting any hashtags and begin to tweet using it about two weeks prior. Perhaps you are involved in pro-bono work with the ACLU; chances are they have a campaign you can contribute to. Recently, the ACLU of New York used #humanityisthenewblack to promote their case with Shearman & Sterling about the poor conditions in a local prison. This hashtag was effective not just because it was relevant to the case, but it encouraged many to tweet their own anecdotes about their experiences as well as give those browsing the tag an idea of what’s going on with the case and who it has been impacting. Another reason this works is that it plays on pop culture, and is therefore easy to understand for non-lawyers.
- Promote pro-bono/charity work – many of the causes your firm already supports are more than likely already using Twitter. By interacting with these organizations you not only show that you publically support the cause but you’re getting your firm’s name out to users who otherwise might not have known you exist.
- Promote your attorneys – whether it’s sharing their blogs, retweeting their content, or simply calling them out in a post, make sure they’re included. They’ll not only appreciate it, but be more likely to use their account as well as engage with the firm on social media.
Of course an active Twitter page is only a piece of a firms overall digital marketing plan. “The currency of a law firm is intellectual capital,” says Andrew Meranus, regional vice president at PR Newswire. By spreading the firm’s messages through a variety of old and new media channels, you can maximize your potential engagement and get heard by influencers, legal media, clients and potential clients.
Tags: communication, law, Law Firm Marketing, Social Media, tips, twitter
This post was written by Hannah Kurtz