Making the Case for a Firm-Branded Twitter Presence

A recent analysis (by me) of the largest 100 law firms in the Boston area (as compiled by the Boston Business Journal) revealed that merely 15% of law firms have taken steps to set up a firm-branded Twitter account, and fewer than 15% are actively tweeting. Why would a law firm have a Twitter account? Why not? You are already spending lots of time creating and approving content for public consumption. Twitter is just another (quick and easy and highly effective) way to disseminate that information.

While Twitter is designed for use by individuals (it really does work best when people use these tools to engage in real and meaningful markets of conversation) don’t overlook the value Twitter can bring to your overall marketing effort in the form of a firm-branded account.

Here are 5 quick, off-the-top-of-my-head reasons why your organization (law firm or not) should tweet.

1. Protect your brand. The most important reason to start a Twitter account is to claim your name — so that you own it, not someone else. Remember the domain name gold rush of the 1990s? Twitter name prospecting hasn’t taken off to the same extent as domain name squatting, but wouldn’t it be a drag if someone else had your preferred Twitter handle? If for no other reason than protecting your brand or domain name, it’s a good idea to sign up now. Your Twitter user name can be 15 characters long. For many corporate or law firm names it’s not long enough, so claim a street version of your name. One version of your name might work better than another in the Twittersphere, so consider carefully before you commit. (See what others are doing by clicking on this Twitter list I created: Law Firms That Tweet.)

2. People are listening. At the beginning, Twitter feels like the sound of one hand clapping. It takes a while to build followers and to flock with your “friends of a feather.” And while it often seems that no one is listening to what you have to say, know that they are. Sure, many of your followers will never see or read your tweets. But know that some are paying attention. They don’t always answer back, but your messages are being received. And, among the Twitterati are journalists scouring Twitter for trends and story ideas for their next pitch meeting.

3. Search engines eat it up. Even if you doubt that people are listening to your Tweets, know that search engines are. Starting and using a Twitter account properly can be an effective distribution channel and a great way to get content quickly indexed by search engines and in front of relevant audiences. Google rapidly absorbs tweets into its index, so, what you tweet can quickly show up in searches. When set up properly, your firm’s Twitter account can be an important step in an “Own your name on Google campaign” — working to own all the page-one results on a Google search of your firm’s name. (But that’s a topic for another time.)

4. The best way to learn it is to do it. Starting a firm-branded Twitter presence is a safe and easy way to start. It is an excellent way for you and your marketing staff to lead by example and to become better able to help your professionals embark on their own Twitter branding parade. Once you and your firm understand Twitter a little better, you’ll begin to see how you might use it to reach and track moods and happenings in a specific industry niche or for a specific practice group. Share what your doing with others in the firm — individuals will learn by watching what you are doing.

5. Build your Twitter infrastructure and network now, for when you need it later. Twitter has some interesting widgets (and developer tools) that allow you to easily embed Twitter feeds or selected tweets into any web site or blog you publish. So, you can easily create a tweet-on-demand content management system to report by cellphone direct to your web site on a specific breaking news event with up-to-the-minute reporting. It could be a great tool to use in a crisis. Your firm-branded Twitter page can be a valuable extension of your web site, and a key component of your overall PR and web visibility effort. As you build your Twitter following, you build a valuable and relevant network you can listen to and count on to keep you in the know or to help get your message out.

Want to know more?
I’m happy to discuss your Twitter and social media presence over lunch to help you better understand how your firm can best take advantage of these new networking and web publishing tools. Contact me here, and follow me on Twitter.

Want help or training?
Let me know if you would like help getting set up and started right on Twitter. I can help you select a user name, and set up a robust password (important!), discuss the types of things your firm can and should be tweeting, show you how to do it, including how to use hash marks, when to direct message people, how to re-tweet, and other do’s, dont’s and best practices. And, I can show you some examples of the real benefits that can result from an active Twitter presence.

Related previous post: Twitter 101: Twitter Is for Listening

Also, just found this related post from Lawyer KM discussing the AmLaw 100 on Twitter trend (which isn’t much of a trend) from about a year ago…

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9 Comments

  1. SJ Petteruti

    April 8, 2010 @ 4:53 pm

    1

    Great post! Man I wish I had this to rattle off when I was pitching for our law firms to Tweet. Don’t get me wrong we closed the accounts and are now actively tweeting for them, but this is a great mindset to have. Bravo!

  2. Patrick DiDomenico

    April 9, 2010 @ 1:17 pm

    2

    Amy,

    Nice post – I totally agree. And thanks for the link to LawyerKM. FYI – I have upgraded LawyerKM to a self-hosted blog. The post that you cited is now at http://lawyerkm.com/2009/01/31/law-firms-on-twitter-an-update/

    I have written quite a bit about Twitter at LawyerKM. Here are the posts that have the twitter tag: http://lawyerkm.com/category/twitter/

    And here are my delicious tags for twitter: http://delicious.com/pvdnyc/twitter

    Finally, here is my firm’s (Gibbons P.C.) twitter page (we’re big proponents of law firms tweeting: http://twitter.com/gibbonspc

    Patrick

  3. Amy Campbell

    April 9, 2010 @ 4:01 pm

    3

    Thank you Patrick for adding links to your Twitter related posts here. I appreciate it. I have also added your firm to the “law firms that tweet” list.
    ~Amy

  4. Washington DC Marketing Firm

    July 31, 2010 @ 3:29 pm

    4

    I remember when we were telling our clients to get on Twitter before anyone knew about it and they looked at us like we were crazy. Now days first thing every client comes in wanting is help with their Twitter account :-)

  5. Atlanta Copywriter

    September 29, 2010 @ 3:15 am

    5

    Hey, I’m not a lawyer (I’m a copywriter who’s worked with laywers / someone who just like to scour the web for marketing info ;-) but I think the very first paragraph of this post is cool. I personally think Twitter is very overrated, and the fact that only 15% of the TOP 100 law firms use it, and not even very actively at that, shows me that I can wipe the worry-sweat off my forehead for not attacking twitter with all that I’ve got.

    With that said, you provide a solid case for why Twitter CAN be really useful if you’re willing to put some time into it.

    Have a great one,
    David

  6. Steven

    April 23, 2011 @ 4:26 am

    6

    Twitter is great for alerting people to new content on your website but I must admit apart from that I still fail to see much of a compelling reason to further utilize twitter at my firm

  7. Amy Campbell’s Web Log » Boston-area Law Firm Interest in Twitter Growing

    April 27, 2011 @ 11:25 am

    7

    [...] About a year ago I conducted a review of the Largest 100 law firms in Massachusetts (as compiled by the Boston Business Journal) to see how many firms had created (or at least claimed) a firm-branded Twitter account. One year ago, a scant 15% of firms had claimed or were actively tweeting under the firm brand. (See previous review here: Making the Case for a Firm-branded Twitter Presence.) [...]

  8. Law Firms

    August 21, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

    8

    Thanks Amy. I’m late to this post, but I love your blog. The only other point I would add to the above is that, best of all, Twitter is free. Of course, time is money in our business, but $0 down in a bad economy, plus your benefits above, and it really shouldn’t be a hard sell to most firms.

    P.S. If you are looking to add other firms who tweet, check us out at http://www.twitter.com/toplawfirms. We have about 2,800 followers, mostly law firms.

  9. Amy Campbell's Web Log » 9 Things To Do AFTER You Write that Law Firm Press Release

    November 5, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

    9

    [...] Tweet it on your firm-branded Twitter page, or via individual attorney Twitter [...]

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