Twitter in 2016

Clear & Convincing Feature Article

Everyone has a Story

Twitter, a social media platform begun as a way for friends to stay in touch, has grown to be both a networking tool and news source. Adding Twitter to your marketing plans gives you a way to connect with your peers, state and local bar associations, and potential clients. It is an easy to use, inexpensive way to promote your firm.

Twitter is social. To get the most out of Twitter, remember its social relationship aspect. It is a conversation, which means you should respond to your follower's tweets with a comment, re-tweet (forward a tweet to your followers), or indicating a tweet as a favorite.

Twitter is a news source. Spend a little time to find and post interesting news items that relate to your clients. Rather than simply tweeting copies of your followers, find something humorous, unique, or insightful to share. If another has posted a bit of breaking news, add a comment to help readers understand it.

Twitter can boost your reputation. Tweeting interesting content for the general public can bring visitors to your website and build relationships. Adopting a friendly tone can ease consumer's angst at contacting an attorney. Consumers are more likely to call someone who seems approachable.

Twitter promotes your firm. When you write a new blog post of interest to your clients, tweet about it. If you are featured in your local paper or going to speak at an event, let your followers know with a tweet.

Twitter tips:

  • Limit your tweets to interesting information relevant to your practice.
  • Set up a realistic schedule for posting—one you can live with—once a day, once every two days—don't be an absentee tweeter.
  • Read before you post. Sending out tweets full of errors does nothing for your reputation. Read tweets carefully to be sure they say what you want them to say.
  • Should "trolls" or critics appear, don't reply. Let it go.

The experts recommend that of ten tweets, five should post links to news articles, blogs, newsletters, three are interactions with other twitter users, one for your promotional materials, and one for personal interests. It's very possible someone in Twitter land enjoys sailing or knitting or the opera and would like to set up a conversation.

Remember that everything you say is public and can't be erased. And you know to never give legal advice or answer complicated legal questions—stick with news and posts in your area of practice. Before you tweet, if you have an ethics question, call the SBM Ethics Helpline at (877) 558-4760 to receive an informal, advisory opinion from a staff attorney.

Twitter can be a great resource of information, a place for you to network with other lawyers in your area of expertise or your city, a way to keep in touch with clients, and develop your personal brand. Use it wisely and, over time, you will add followers, build relationships with potential clients, and your practice will grow.

Roberta GubbinsRoberta Gubbins has served as the editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides services as a ghostwriter editing articles, blogs, and e-blasts for lawyers and law firms. She is the editor of Briefs, the Ingham County Bar Association e-newsletter, and The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.

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