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Tweet Your Firm to the Top: Why Every Lawyer Needs a Twitter Account

Twitter and law firms don’t seem to be the first combination that comes to mind when thinking of the ideal marketing pair. Legal briefs are often multiple pages long, and Twitter restricts users to 140 characters. But, on an increasing basis, lawyers are finding tremendous success by making Twitter a significant component of their marketing plan.

Why Twitter?

Twitter started in 2006 with a small base of individuals creating 140-character tweets, and now sees more than 320 million active users, with more than 1.3 billion registered users. What was launched as an SMS service that would allow small groups to communicate as a type of microblog has become one of the leading social and information network sites on the Internet.

From celebrities to corporate leaders, students to seniors, Twitter has broadened its demographic base over the last decade, making it a fantastic tool for everyone, lawyers included, to expand their market, reach prospects, and connect with current clients. In addition to growing its user base, the network has also announced an increase to the 140-character limit, possibly allowing up to 10,000 characters per tweet in 2016. Users who want to read any of the content beyond the initial 140 characters will have to click for more.

By the Numbers

Twitter’s user base is expanding on a daily basis, with about 135,000 individuals creating accounts each day and 83 percent of world leaders and 67 percent heads of state actively using accounts. Twitter has:

  • 120 million unique visitors each month
  • 100 million active daily users
  • 500 million unique monthly visitors see Twitter content without registering for an account
  • 400 million project users by 2018
  • The average CEO has 3,900 followers
  • 140 characters: the average – and maximum – tweet length

News to…You?

On average, the Twitter users are more news conscious than other social media users, with 86 percent of people polled saying they use Twitter for news. Seventy-four percent of those people are logging on daily.

Legal news is no different. Law professionals are finding a wealth of news each day about their industries and specializations. For example:

@ABAesq – The American Bar Association’s account, which provides more than 59,000 followers with resources and news affecting lawyers, law schools, judges and more.

@ABAJournal – The Twitter account for the American Bar Association’s legal affairs magazine has more than 76,000 followers and more than 36,000 tweets.

@ABALitigation – The American Bar Association litigation section, with more than 20,000 followers.

@AP_Courtside – Sharing The Associated Press coverage of the Supreme Court with more than 21,000 followers.

@BigLawBiz – More than 3,700+ followers are following their breaking law news.

@Bloomberg Law – Their business tips to help firms grow their revenue, give world-class counsel and increase their profitability are followed by more than 74,000 users.

@InsideCounsel – The 13,000+ followers find business insights for legal professionals, tweeting and retweeting networking tips, data ideas, and background information to help firms succeed.

@Lawyerist – The law practice survival guide, with more than 47,000 followers, more than 15,000 tweets and ideas for marketing, customer service, and business ideas.

@natlawreview – Followers of the National Law Review have seen more than 109,000 tweets about news and analysis, added hourly.

@WSJLawBlog – More than 101,000 followers are reading about hot cases, emerging trends and big personalities in law from The Wall Street Journal Law Blog.

A Little Less Talk – Twitter for Marketing

Tweets may be short, but they are highly effective ways to communicate. Lawyers looking to increase their reach can find a broad range of uses for Twitter to promote their firms.

Tweeting and Re-tweeting – These 140-character snippets of information can include shared content, thoughts, status updates, graphics, images and more, are designed to draw in followers. When people like your content, they can reply and respond to you, and share your content in a re-tweet (and you should be doing the same). Effective tweets tend to take a trending theme or news item and put a new spin, opinion or perspective on the situation. Twitter offers a column on the left side of the browser that shows the keywords that are trending, making it easy to find the news Twitter followers are looking to read.

Event Hashtags – Pound signs got a makeover with Twitter, becoming hashtags that allow for easy topic searches, and becoming popular on other social networking sites. Twitter took off in 2007 at the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) conference, as event attendees live-tweeted segments from the conference, increasing Twitter usage from 20,000 to 60,000 per day. Lawyers attending or holding conferences can begin sharing information from their events with a clever hashtag at the end, and encourage event-goers to do the same. Attendees can then re-tweet others’ original content, find new users to follow, and increase their networking efforts.

Real-time Responses – Twitter offers followers and users a chance to have real-time conversations. At any hour of the day, you can send out a snippet, teaser, link or statement, and receive and respond to feedback from your followers. This is one reason many lawyers and other marketers are including Twitter feeds on their Web site home pages. Those who visit your Web site will be exposed to your content, and may be more inclined to follow you on Twitter. Additionally, prompt responses show your followers that you are receptive to working with them, engaging them and caring about their opinions. To reach a specific follower, start your tweet to them with @; if you want more people to read the response, place any other character, typically a period, before the @.

Share Your Web site and Blog – As SEO changes and expands, it’s crucial for companies to add value for the customers. Good content marketing includes fresh topics in blogs and on your Web site. Increasing your blog content to help educate and inform your audience is great – sharing it on Twitter so they can find it is even better. You’ll find more people are reading your blog and taking action when they can easily access your content.

Follow and Be Followed – Finding followers is the most important component of a successful Twitter account. These are people who like and appreciate your content and want to follow you to be the first to know when you tweet. As they re-tweet your content, they are giving you a free plug, validating their support of your tweet, or bringing your name to someone’s attention. As your account grows, it’s important to follow others in your industry, like colleagues, partners and content providers, who bring you relevant topics to improve and enhance your business.

Advertise With Promoted TweetsTwitter allows for advertising. Promoted Tweets are advertisements placed on the feeds of users similar to your followers. These are ordinary tweets that users pay for to reach a broader audience. These tweets are labeled as Promoted Tweets so followers know they have been paid for but are treated as an ordinary tweet in every other aspect.

Tweet When They’re Reading – Regularly check your analytics data to see when your followers are on Twitter – and tweet high-interest content at that time.

Getting Started on Twitter

Lawyers should be following specific steps to maximize their Twitter account:

Creating an account – Creating a Twitter account only takes a few minutes. Once you go to Twitter’s homepage, follow the steps to sign up. You’ll enter your name, password and select your unique handle. Make your account public to increase your network opportunities.

Optimizing your profile – There are a few steps lawyers can do to improve the odds of their profile being found. Use a graphics-creating site to find Twitter’s cover photo specifications, and create a banner that effectively represents you or your firm. Upload a profile picture – your logo or headshot is a great option. And fill in your bio information as well.

Your first tweet – What do you want people to know about you or your firm? Pinning a genuine, emotion-driven tweet that grabs your followers’ attention and draws them in is a great way to kick off your account. You can also opt to pin this tweet to the top of your profile.

Maintaining your account – As a rule of thumb, Twitter feeds move much faster than other social media sites. Put yourself in your average user’s shoes. What information would you want to read? What would clients be interested in learning? Share content that informs and engages, and think of Twitter as another sales tool, with no more than 20 percent of tweets being sales-related. Consider your content, as well. As in most other social network platforms, graphics tend to get more clicks and re-tweets than text-only tweets. Contemplate working with a marketing firm that specializes in Twitter to get your account going and keep it growing.