Having an online presence is quickly becoming a must for all law firms. Without it, you’re relying on traditional forms of advertising that you either can’t fully control, like word-of-mouth advertising, or that only target the audience you want by coincidence, like a TV commercial or roadside billboard.
In addition to legal blogging, social media is one of the main components for building your firm’s online character. It allows you to interact with potential clients, show off your legal knowledge and abilities, and also build a healthy portfolio of backlinks. However, breaking into the field of relevance on social media can be a Herculean task.
Here’s how to get started on Twitter.
Optimizing Your Profile
To even get started on Twitter, you need a profile and a handle. Choosing a handle that sounds like your firm or that describes your practice area is absolutely essential if you want to sound professional or even legitimate. Using a professional headshot or logo for your profile picture and a high resolution photo for your backdrop are also a part of the entry barrier.
When it comes to your 160-character profile bio, though, things get more complex. While you want to use as many characters as possible and hit all of your keywords while still describing your firm, filling your bio up with hashtags can make you look tacky. While these hashtags do increase your exposure on Twitter, they only help to attract potential clients who first interact with you there, which is rare when compared to the number of potential clients who find your Twitter account through other sources like your website.
Building Your Twitter Presence
Once you’re ready to hit the gas on Twitter, your options for what you can do next are overwhelming. Everyone is on the site, and there’s too much activity to keep up with.
The wisest thing to do is to step back. Don’t post anything for your first week on the site. Instead, find where your law school classmates are working and follow those firms on Twitter. If you have attorney friends in your region, follow them and the profiles of their firms. Follow other firms who do similar work in neighboring states and sister jurisdictions. Most importantly, though, follow relevant bar associations, legal publications, news outlets, and experts in your field or those who influence it, such as politicians. All of their posts will populate your feed and you can get a better understanding of what others are saying and how they interact with each other.
Even after you start posting, the rule of thumb is that you should be reading Twitter content three quarters of the time you spend on the site.
Once you do post you own material, you’ll be surprised to find how little traction it gets. It’s important to remember that no one listens to you, at first. You need to establish yourself as a reputable source and as an expert on your field all over again on Twitter, and that there will always be doubters. It is social media, after all.
While you should always be posting your own content, the best way to start getting traction is to respond to others. People will be wrong on Twitter all the time, and calmly, succinctly, and professionally showing your expertise and their error is a great way to start getting the likes and the retweets that will spread word of you and your law firm. It’s also a great way to spread word of your legal blog, which you can link to in your reply.
Use Analytics to Show How Well You’re Doing
Twitter offers its own set of analytics, but you have to turn it on before it will work on your account. Once you do, though, you’ll see which of your tweets have done well, which haven’t, and plenty of other information to make a note of, like when your followers are online most often (post when they’re online so it’ll get seen more). When you first get started, a lot of this data won’t make much of a difference. However, once you start getting a solid Twitter following, they’ll all be numbers that you should be paying attention to, in order to spread word of your firm online.