Lawyer Marketing with Twitter

Have you heard of Twitter yet? Perhaps not. And hopefully not, as this post is intended to explain one of the latest web-tools on our collective horizon.

What you should know is this: Politicians in the current US election are levering it, news outlets like CNN & Canada’s CBC are offering headlines that can be mixed into your reading stream, and companies like Southwest airlines are using it to interact with customers & take feedback.

It’s widely considered the fastest growing tool of web influence, and will at some point have a trickle down effect for the legal industry.

Giving you a finite definition of Twitter is tricky. It’s use varies greatly, and depends a lot on the individual user. Technically, Twitter is considered a micro-blogging tool. It’s just like regular blogging, but with one significant rule change. After logging in, you are faced with the question “What are you doing?”, and just like a blog you can share exactly what you’re doing, feeling, thinking, reading – but all in less than 140 characters of entry space.

In terms of the options available for legal web marketing, Twitter – or micro-blogging tools generally – is the shortest method of discourse we’ve seen to date. If e-books & web-distribution of publications are at the longer discourse level, and regular blogs are sitting somewhere in the middle, then Twitter obviously at the far end (short-end?) of our continuum.

So what can you do in such a short space? Actually, quite a bit. Think: chat & discussion, link exchanges, debate, endorsement, or public critique. It’s a big dinner table conversation with peers that you get to choose. The format is also mobile friendly, which in my view, has had a substantial impact on the site’s growth.

With Twitter, like most forms of web marketing, the value is found in the big picture & the cumulative effect of using it as but one piece of the web-lawyer’s marketing toolbox. The selling point I regularly harp on – exposing one’s practice & expertise online – continues to have a big part to play, even though I don’t see Twitter as a replacement for the personal blog. Rather, when used together, the personal blog & twitter become a very powerful tandem.

The other point to get is this: Micro-blogging is as much akin to the discussion at the bar after the conference, as it is to seeing the presentation earlier in the day. Blogging success is predicated on having a strong social network (and please, when you hear SN, don’t think Facebook – think relationships!), and in turn, Twitter drives both interest in the ideas you write about, and extends exposure with an after-post discussion.

Putting my web marketer’s hat on for a moment, the value can also be seen in those exchanges leading to further blog-to-blog discussions, ensuing links, and ultimately, better rankings in the search engines because of authentic exchanges, information seeking behaviour, and discussion.

If you’ve looked at Twitter and just don’t get it? You’re not alone. Looking at any one author’s contributions, it’s tough not to call it drivel. The turning point for many is to recognize Twitter for what it truly is – pure personal reaction. That reaction can run the gamut, from academic & insightful, to casual & silly, and at times drivel.

However, I don’t think I’m alone in seeing marketing value in this type of personal reaction. At the very least for understanding & gauging reaction, and at the most, partaking in the process. Reaction is one of the most human elements possible within the online experience. That it exists, and is being documented, continues to have a huge impact for all types of marketing. Twitter is simply the latest example.

Some Quick Tips for Testing Twitter:

Comments

  1. JKash said:

    Good post, Steve. I’m glad to see twitter mentioned by legal marketers. I’ve found one firm on Twitter — from Australia — as well as the ABA Journal (@abajournal).

    Anyone interested in the branding aspects and specific strategies to join the conversation should check out my blog.

    @ 5:32 pm
  2. Very nice description of Twitter. It takes some getting used to but once you get the rhythm it’s easy to see the multiple benefits.

    @ 5:47 pm
  3. Steve –

    Great pitch for Twitter for lawyers. As Susan pointed out, it takes some getting used to.

    It also much much more synchronous than a blog. Tweets can pass your by very quickly.

    The thing I really like about Twitter is its ability to interact with other programs and applications. I have Twitter update my Facebook profile and there is a Twitter widget on my blog (even on my internal blog).

    @ 6:03 pm
  4. […] is said to be a micro-blogging tool. The difference is that after entering your credentials at the site, you’re asked “What […]

    @ 8:56 pm
  5. Larry Bodine said:

    Steve,
    Fascinating post. I bet if more lawyers used Twitter they would all say “I’m working now.”
    Best,
    Larry Bodine

    @ 8:29 am
  6. Brett Trout said:

    Great post Steve. I have gotten a great response on Twitter from followers surprised to see that lawyers have personalities too.

    @BrettTrout

    @ 2:12 pm
  7. Great post on Twitter. Imagine a firmwide Twitter that alerts employees to important developments, a client Twitter to let people know about the release of a newsletter or decision of interest . . . the list goes on and on.

    @ 8:03 am
  8. Phil Hodgen said:

    Add one: @philiphodgen — international tax lawyer. Me. :-)

    @ 5:16 pm
  9. If a lawyer’s clients and other professional contacts are on Twitter, then he or she should definitely be there participating in the conversation.

    Things that would appeal to a lawyer:
    – a lot less investment in time than with blogging
    – messages can be easily sent and monitored via blackberry or cell phone once one is set up
    – one message is sent to all contacts at once, yet can be very personal; contrast this to group email messages that are considered impersonal
    – brevity and wit are valued

    When you look at it this way, Twitter should be the lawyer’s best network! Thank you for highlighting this, Steve.

    @ 10:09 pm
  10. Craig said:

    Well Steve, I took your advice and jumped on Twitter. Not really sure what or how to use it just yet, but I do pick up pretty quickly. Been blogging for about 2 months, so sounds like a great thing to do. Question is, how do you find people who have interests that you may like or want to follow. Anyway, thanks for the great tips.

    @ 1:21 pm
  11. Twitter for Lawyers 101…

    One of our aims on this blog is to provide brief reviews of the major social networking sites (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) in terms of their value to lawyers as marketing and business development tools. But we don’t need to…

    @ 9:44 am
  12. […] Law Firm Strategy Blog opines: Have you heard of Twitter yet? Perhaps not. And hopefully not, as this post is intended to explain […]

    @ 2:52 pm
  13. […] Law Firm Web Strategy’s Steve Matthews writes about how lawyers (and others) can use Twitter t…. Have you heard of Twitter yet? Perhaps not. And hopefully not, as this post is intended to explain one of the latest web-tools on our collective horizon. […]

    @ 5:15 am
  14. […] you’re looking for the lawyer’s angle on Twitter, I strongly recommend this article by Steve Matthews at Stem Legal, (and check out Steve’s ingenious legal tweet site, Legal Voices), but there’s great […]

    @ 6:11 pm
  15. […] lawyers can best take advantage of it, you can do no better than read Steve Matthews’ post on Lawyer Marketing With Twitter (”It’s a big dinner table conversation with peers that you get to […]

    @ 4:07 am
  16. […] above. Lawyers are now using Twitter as a way to find prospective clients. The key, according to Law Firm Web Strategy blogger Steve Matthews, is to remember that Twitter is based upon “pure, personal reactions.” By staying […]

    @ 10:06 am
  17. […] discusses Twitter’s value to lawyers as a marketing tool here. The value Matthews identifies is not so concrete; it seems more a by-product of the pure catharsis […]

    @ 6:57 pm
  18. […] you’re still not getting this Twitter stuff, please check out my introductory post on the lawyer marketing value of twitter; and if you’re simply on the fence on whether to join? Preview some of the legal […]

    @ 9:06 am
  19. […] But the question remains: can those twittering lawyers turn 140-character tweets into cash?  Steve suggests that “[w]ith Twitter, like most forms of web marketing, the value is found in the big picture […]

    @ 12:20 pm
  20. […] this may seem strange coming from the guy who penned Lawyer Marketing with Twitter, the issue is not about twitter, facebook, linkedIn or friendfeed. The issue is our ability to […]

    @ 4:42 pm
  21. […] Lawyer Marketing with Twitter de Steve Matthews […]

    @ 2:09 pm
  22. Well put Steve! Being in the legal marketing biz, we can attest that it is best to utilize every avenue of available technology to meet your business goals. The amount of people twittering will continue to grow, which means more mouths to spread the word you have to spread, which logically can only result in furthered success.

    @ 12:13 pm
  23. […] Matthews wrote a great post on an intro to Lawyer Marketing with Twitter. Kevin O’Keefe followed that up with his own perspective and success stories in Lawyer […]

    @ 7:47 am
  24. […] Matthews wrote a great post on an intro to Lawyer Marketing with Twitter. Kevin O’Keefe followed that up with his own perspective and success stories in Lawyer […]

    @ 2:07 pm
  25. […] Lawyer Marketing with Twitter, Steve Mathews (@stevematthews) […]

    @ 9:25 am
  26. […] Firm Web Strategy had a very interesting post today called, Lawyer Marketing with Twitter? You really need to read this […]

    @ 8:38 am
  27. […] Lawyer Marketing with Twitter, Steve Mathews (@stevematthews) […]

    @ 2:28 pm

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