Leveraging Your Reputation: A few Twitter tips

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 midsize 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 tc@tcpr.net.

Even though social media applications have been around for years, and Twitter is an established tool, I’ve noticed that people still do things that cause others to unfollow them, or simply not respect them. Here are a few tips that will help you avoid a negative reputation on Twitter:

Build a quality list. Some people think that it’s all about numbers, and they will follow anyone hoping that they’ll be followed back, even if the person isn’t in the legal or related profession. Chances are that if you follow people who are not a good fit for you, they will not follow you back, and your follower list will remain small. Also, you don’t have to follow everyone who follows you. Just add who fits your practice area or people you simply think are interesting. It’s best to interact with people who really appreciate what you’re doing, with whom you can build meaningful connections.

Don’t Sell. Attorneys aren’t expected to be salesmen, but some behave like them because they use sales-type language in their online communication. Even though Twitter is a good place to promote what you’re doing, it’s important to not make it all about you. It can be very annoying to post the same links again and again, which can make you look too pushy and self-centered. What you can do is alternate what you post between links to articles that you’ve written and helpful tips or interesting observations that you can share with your followers. Also remember to have conversations with people, rather than just making Twitter a one-way communicative street.

Spread it out. You might have a lot of things to share on Twitter, especially if a case you’ve worked on has concluded, or if you have several court filings that you want to share. I would suggest putting space between those tweets because your followers probably don’t want to be inundated with too much information. They also might not read all of them if they feel that they’re being spammed, or worse yet, they might drop you from their list. There are a few applications that you can use to schedule your tweets: Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Buffer. Check out each one to see which is best for you.

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