Marty Dolan, principal at Dolan Law and his associate Karen Munoz represent victims of wrongful death and personal injury. His column “Law and Wellness,” appears in the Chicago Lawyer and her column appears regularly in the Law Bulletin. This week’s column is written by Karen Munoz.
I recently posted about marketing your firm and why it’s important to be aware of the image your firm projects at all times. Some people believe that absolutely everything an attorney does is marketing. While I would not necessarily subscribe to this view, “firm marketing” does cover a very diverse array of activities.
One way of marketing your practice that has received a lot of attention recently is marketing via social media, in particular, Twitter. There seems to be a big divide between younger lawyers who vaunt firm promotion via social media as an essential component of modern lawyering and older practitioners who view such practices with extreme skepticism.
I would lean more towards the skeptical viewpoint but there are still some advantages to using Twitter. So this post tries to find a middle ground by looking at some of the DOs and DON’Ts of law firms’ usage of social media.
DON’T Just Use Twitter to Boast
Nobody likes a bragger. Constantly tweeting about the verdicts you got, big deals you closed or articles you’ve written is probably not going to impress potential clients or other lawyers. Posting a tweet is an announcement to all your followers and announcements that simply promote your own achievements only serve to impart the impression of an attention-seeker.
DON’T Use Twitter to Solicit Clients
We all know the ethical rules on solicitation of clients but Twitter is an example of a new forum in which this can easily happen. So be on your guard. Other types of business are focusing their marketing strategies more and more around social media so we should always remember the ethical constraints of our profession.
DO Connect With People You Know Offline
Apart from avoiding the potential pitfalls of client solicitation online, this has other advantages. Firstly, you’ll get more worth out of Twitter through connecting with people and discussing things with them rather than promoting yourself. So engage in conversations with others and respond to their tweets. Secondly, if you’re new to the world of Twitter and make a few mistakes along the road, it’s better to be in the company of friends rather than looking incompetent to outsiders.
DO Use It to Learn From Others
It is true that social media are changing the way we all communicate but it is also true that high-quality tweeting is probably never going to be one of the cornerstones of a successful legal practice.
Twitter is not just about you. I already looked at how perceived bragging can result in a bad rep. But the people who brag on Twitter are not getting the most out of it. You can learn so much from following others. Follow other lawyers in your practice area. Follow other professionals you are interested in. Follow people who share the same interests as you.