Last updated on April 12th, 2013 at 09:12 am
What is twitter?
Twitter is one of the fastest growing social networks on the web. It is a service for people to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of 140 character messages, including links to other websites. Like in the real world, the idea is to build relationships through conversation with the people you follow and those who follow you. The term “follow” is used similarly to “friend” on facebook, although people commonly use facebook to enhance their relationships with people they already know in the physical world, whereas twitter is more expansive in that it is used to communicate globally, irrespective of whether you already know people.
What can twitter do?
Twitter can reach media outlets locally, nationally and internationally. It can reach investors and prospective partners. Furthermore, it allows businesses to message and interact with thousands, if not millions, of potential customers and can be a fast free form of a press release. It can increase traffic to a business’s website through search engines and generally increases the viral exposure of a law firm/lawyer to the internet. Twitter connects to social media, bloggers and other leading influencers and opinion formers to help create further awareness of businesses.
How can twitter work for a law firm?
Law firms can use it to quickly share information with people interested in the firm, gather real-time market intelligence and also generate important feedback. It enables law firms to build relationships with clients, business partners, and to develop their brand recognition.
How can individual lawyers use twitter for business?
Lawyers need to determine if their target audiences, including clients, prospective clients, referral sources and the media, are using twitter. If they find that they are, then twitter will be a very useful tool to incorporate into a lawyer’s business development practices. It is an excellent way to expand your network, build your reputation, comment on legal issues and trends, and establish relationships with members of the media, relevant market sectors and other thought leaders. It is also an excellent tool for lawyers to research public opinion on many different topics and understand developing trends. For a more sophisticated look at how twitter is increasingly becoming the web’s primary information source, see the following blog post by a Californian venture capitalist I follow on twitter: http://bit.ly/eVXfHU
Can twitter work against law firms and lawyers?
As with any communication medium, lawyers need to engage wisely. Everything posted will be up for public scrutiny. Lawyers should be careful not to provide legal advice, must follow their professional conduct rules and need to ensure that client confidentiality is respected.
In addition, there is a significant element of ‘twitter etiquette’ being developed that users must observe in order not to damage their personal and firm reputations.
It is advisable that law firms develop social media policies or best practice points. These should to be followed so that the firm’s legal brand and reputation is better protected and developed.