Twitter is an elusive thing for lawyers. Many have a hard time understanding why their notoriety in the respective legal communities does not easily translate into a large follower base with deserved recognition of their tweets. Yet, looking at all of this from a marketing point of view, the reasons become quite clear.
At the heart of it all, is a failure to recognize the purpose of Twitter, the branding required, and what makes a feed valuable to intended audiences. In addition, creating a successful Twitter feed take a tremendous amount of time, dedication, and effort. Or, a recognition that you need an expert to assist you with doing so.
However, failing is easy. So, here are 10 easy ways to do that:
All marketing must have a plan. How are you defining success for a Twitter feed? Is it the sheer number of followers? Is it the quality of followers? Is it engagement? Traffic to your website? Referrals from Twitter?
The list goes on.
If you don’t have a plan on achieving your marketing goals, it’s impossible to have clear perimeters of what is, or is not, appropriate for your feed. For example, if you goal is to “Engage and brand ourselves on the transnational market as it relates to start up tech companies” than perhaps you would think twice before tweeting something like “Hey @Dell, my computer I just bought sucks. Been on hold for 20 minutes!”
No plan = no discipline and no metrics for success.
Not in the mood for a plan? Then, as George Costanza would say, it’s “time to get in the mood” for one if you want to succeed.
There is a real marketing struggle for lawyers that comes from how integrated their brand is to their own values and beliefs. If done effectively, this integration can define and shape a legal brand very well; if done poorly, its a marketing disaster.
Take sandwiches for example.
If we go to @Subway sandwiches, we don’t’ expect to see tweets about the American election, the latest Toronto Maple Leafs trade, or a ranting series of tweets about how upset they are with missing their Air Canada flight to Montreal. We go to @Subway because we want to know about sandwiches, nothing more.
@Subway can go on for months about tuna melt deals, new recipes on bread, or pictures of cookies, but as soon as personal views, complaints, and preferences of the CEO or a franchise owner start to litter that feed, well…[unfollow].
Along the same lines, your audience is not interested in brazen self-promotion. Tweets along the lines of “Just made a tuna melt. Guy loved it.” or “Heading to work, looking forward to baking bread!” No. One. Cares. It’s great that you may have got your client’s charges withdrawn or that you are in a particular court today, but no one cares
unless it offers the audience something interesting, unknown, or engaging for discussion.
If you are stepping into the Supreme Court to argue a complex brief on a live issue in the news and want to link to your factum, an opinion, or a photo, great! Let’s hear about it. However, if you are posting that “We just settled for 1.2 M for a client on a car accident case” – no one is interested.
At a minimum, find a more subtle, more engaging way of promoting such as “High settlements of car accident cases in Ontario is possible despite new restrictive legislation on catastrophic injuries. Learn more…” (link to you blog).
If someone can’t clearly define what your Twitter feed is about in a sentence, then you need to rethink what you are doing from a marketing point of view.
What’s the @Subway feed about? Sandwiches.
What’s @ATT feed about? Phones.
What’s @KatyPerry about? Katy Perry. (She is her brand).
So what’s your feed about? Law, Vancouver, municipal politics, consumer advocacy, local garbage pick up schedules, good brunch spots in Thunder Bay, wine you enjoy, live tweeting non-playoff hockey games?
If your intention is to market your law brand and promote your practice, than something resembling “all of the above” will guarantee failure.
Retweets are nice, but they aren’t yours. They are a very neutral way of, at best, agreeing with something.
Retweets are valuable ways of adding content to your feed that is consistent to your brand, and engaging with influencers who post it, but they will rarely have the same value as original content.
If you want people to follow you because they are interested in you, and not just articles you think are interesting, then add any sort of commentary or opinion to it.
Not only does this generate unique content, but it can create very valuable engagement with influential people in that area who may reach out to you to discuss further. With the ability of Twitter to now “quote” while retweeting, this is more effective than ever. Notice in the tweet here, it is not just a retweet but also an engagement with the original poster and several other influencers, while at the same time adding personal opinion that might generate leads to your own practice’s activity.
Originality and engagement will reap huge benefits.
It’s been said many times before, but one of the biggest ways to fail in social media is to not tend to your account.
Not only will this not generate interest, but it speaks volumes about your practice.
Whether true or not, a neglected Twitter account gives the impression of a lawyer or firm that starts but does not complete matters, one that looks for benefits without effort, or one that has little regard for innovation and modernization.
As detrimental as it may be to not have any social media in your practice’s marketing plan, having a neglected one is far worse. Impressions matter. These are impressions you are making on other lawyers, clients, potential clients, judges, and many others. If your Twitter account is neglected, its incumbent to either get more engaged or hire a professional who can help you to do so.
If you still have the Twitter egg as your profile picture, that needs to change. Like, now.
Should you manage to gain the interest of intended audiences, they will look to your profile and see who you are, and what you are about before they follow you. To make that assessment, those audiences will look at your profile picture, your description, and a scroll or two of your content.
It needs to be said again, and further to the last point, impressions matter. Don’t be an egg.
As entertaining it may be to hear politicians, professional wrestlers, or Kanye West rant about something on Twitter, it is not very becoming of a lawyer or firm. These people (as brands) do it on purpose because their very product is entertainment, drama, and spectacle. It’s hard to imagine a lawyer that wishes to achieve the same goals. Leave the drama out of your professional feed.
This includes complaints about your recent experience with your telephone or cable company…
In a similar vein to the point above, people generally do not want to see people engaged in a “Twitter war” unless that is somehow expected of their brand. For lawyers and firms, it’s hard to imagine where this would ever be appropriate.
Always remember that under your professional account (which is intertwined with your name as a lawyer), you are responding to many of your followers as your business, not you as a person.
If someone is abusive, simply block them and walk away.
Unlike Field of Dreams, Twitter is not a “Build it and they will come…” sort of thing.
It’s not enough to leave it at engaging, original, and interesting content. Unless you are famous, people will not search you out; you need to trigger them to see your account and hopefully have them follow you.
There are many methods to draw attention to your account but some basic ones include:
- Interacting with others on Twitter (retweet, follow, like);
- Import your contacts and follow them on Twitter;
- Include a link to your Twitter account on all website platforms, other social media, and email signatures;
- Research unique and industry related hashtags to use in your content (#cdnlaw, #uslaw, #SCC, #SCOTUS, #legaltech);
- Use specific hashtags at industry related conferences and engage those that use them.
To name just a few.
There is considerable, and indisputable evidence that adding photographs and videos increase your engagement among followers and audiences.
Some key statistics taken from this research (linked above) include:
- “Coloured visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%”
- “When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.”
- “65% of senior marketing executives believe that visual assets (photos, video, illustrations and infographics) are core to how their brand story is communicated.”
…and the list goes on.
Bottom line: take a picture and add it to your original content and let the “RT”s and “likes” begin.
And the easiest way to fail, above all, is to not start.
Being cautious about your brand, your approach, and your content is all perfectly fine – if not encouraged.
However, this should never result in never starting it at all. Twitter, and other forms or social media, are an essential part of any proper business brand and marketing in 2016. Not having a Twitter account is as much of a statement of your brand, as having one.
For those that feel overwhelmed, confused, or simply overworked to bother with Twitter, there are many companies like ours who offer expertise in this area. Such services include management, curating, and creation of content to ensure that your brand is not left behind in information age. You may find that a small investment of this nature brings back valuable returns while at the same time clearly defining your brand and increasing your reputation among your peers and target audiences.
Contact our Director of Communication and Marketing at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more, or to learn how we can help boost your influence and brand on Twitter and other forms of social media. You can also see our rates and packages here.