Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and mid-sized law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With millions of unique visitors each month, Twitter is still at the top of the social media game. Some people still use Twitter to catalog boring details of the day. However, savvy and smart users realize Twitter’s usefulness as a concise way of marketing and reaching out to consumers and media. Read the following do’s & don’ts to continue being one of the savvy and smart users.
- Do make quality friends. Capturing an audience on Twitter is important, but don’t start following 857 people in one day. Start with a few friends, some movers and shakers of your industry, some legal reporters—listen to their tweets, and offer relevant replies. Then continue to follow a few new people week by week. Don’t just follow to follow, but actually think about why you want to connect with a certain person – think “strategic following.” Then contribute meaningful posts each day that others might find interesting as a way to build your own following.
- Do protect your reputation. Twitter can be used to solidify your brand image, and it is an indispensable medium when crisis hits. Maintaining a Twitter account can help your firm when a damaging story hits cyberspace because a response on Twitter is often the fastest way to acknowledge the problem or issue. Failing to address any breaking news that involves your company makes you look at best, incompetent and at worst, guilty. Confidentiality laws may render tweeting a bad idea, but you should always pay attention to what’s happening and be prepared to do damage control when necessary.
- Do be efficient. Building relationships on Twitter can facilitate communication about your legal specialties and expertise. However, using Twitter effectively and appropriately can be a time-consuming job, so try and implement applications that will help you be more efficient like TwitterFeed, TweetDeck and ÜberTwitter. It is also more efficient to partake in niche topic conversations about your practice areas instead of tweeting about the world of law in general. Specificity trumps generality.
- Don’t be boring or narcissistic. Stick to tweeting about pertinent topics and find ways to express your personality through the links you post, rather than tweeting about how many briefs you’ve written that day or what color tie you’re wearing. Share links to legal headlines or comment on stories related to your expertise. Participate in discussion, reply to other users’ tweets, re-tweet their tweets—Twitter is not a one-person game, so don’t try to be the center of the universe.
- Don’t turn off your censor. In cyberspace, a record of your most inappropriate tweet will live on in infamy long after you’ve cooled down. Never forget that what you say on Twitter can come back to haunt you, so rude or tasteless comments can come back to haunt you. Play it cool and don’t tweet anything you wouldn’t say in public; after all, Twitter is incredibly public.