Ciara Sarkar of mmadigital looks at top tips for Twitter for lawyers looking to gain a competitive advantage through digital marketing.
Twitter, the micro blogging social network site, was created in 2006 by Jack Dorset andnow has over 500 million users with over 1.6 billion search queries occurring each day. Some staggering statistics for a social networking site that still leaves so many wondering what ‘tweeting’ is all about. For those of you who are thinking about utilising Twitter for your firm, or have only just scratched the surface, here are a few top tips to make sure you get the most out of it.
A picture tells a thousand words
When creating your Twitter profile it is worth spending time getting it right. Have a look at your competitors and other profiles that you like for inspiration. Make sure you upload a profile and header image that is representative of your firm, using a profile pic of a person if possible. You can also add an image in the background of your page which can either be a photo, a graphical representation of you (avatar) or even your company’s logo and contact details. A great example of this is the MetOffice https://twitter.com/metoffice
In your profile you also have the space to write a brief biography of 160 characters. Make sure you use key words associated with your firm and explain what it is you do. Add a link to your website and also include your location, this will help when people search for you.
Short but sweet
Twitter, unlike social networking sites such as Facebook, only allows you the use of 140 characters. So, if you can’t say what you need to in 140 characters then you need to find another way of saying it. This allows you to keep your tweets punchy and straight to the point.
What are you saying?
What is it you are trying to say? Be careful not to use Twitter as a pure and unadulterated sales tool, it will turn people away. By all means tell your followers what is going on in your business, but you will also want to tweet about current topics and related news in the press. Start conversations by sharing your opinions on sector developments and ask followers to give you theirs too.
Share and share alike
Further to the point above, if you find things that are of interest then your followers might too, so share them. This could be news articles, your own blog posts or even other people’s tweets. You can retweet via Twitter at the click of a button. Having a comprehensive news feed will make you interesting to a wider circle of people and this will help to boost your followers.
Don’t forget the hashtag
Firstly, for those who are still perplexed by this, a hashtag for Twitter purposes is a word or phrase that has the # symbol before it. This means that if people search for your #hashtag word then your tweet will appear in their search, alongside all the other messages that contain it too. Hashtags don’t work with punctuation so don’t use spaces or apostrophes.
A time and a place
Try not to send your tweets out at the same time every day. Mix it up, show that you are human and that you are not just using an automated system. Twitter is all about real life and real time. React to the media, the things in the news. If a royal baby is born, then send out a message, if something is happening in your industry then make a comment, but don’t forget to add a hashtag.
Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that Twitter is simply about numbers. 52,000 followers must mean you are popular, doing well and saying something of value, right? Well, although this is true to a point it doesn’t mean that business is coming in droves. Twitter, although a great business tool, won’t transform your revenue overnight. But it will put you on the map. It will get your name out there and, if you are doing it well and often enough, it will certainly let people know who and what you are about. Don’t ever be tempted to buy followers. This will give genuine clients the impression you’re dishonest.
If someone responds to you please be kind enough to respond back. Again, Twitter is in real time, waiting days or weeks to respond to someone is not good practice. Even if you are simply thanking them for their response.
The same goes for negative feedback. Look at businesses like Sky and BT. They have their customer services on Twitter constantly responding and turning negative posts into positive responses, creating real brand ambassadors along the way.
Follow the leader
Make sure that you are following people of interest to you. Companies, competitors, leaders in your industry, experts and news sites. That way you will hear about things quicker, know more about what is happening in the world and be able to share it with your followers showing that you have your finger on the pulse of your sector.
You can also share pictures via Twitter. So, if you are at a conference, an event, awards dinner or you simply see something worth photographing, then share it. The same with videos. Pictures can explain things sometimes that words can’t. Especially in the legal industry where it can prove tough to get your point across in 140 characters or less. Maybe some humour at the end of the day on Friday also helps people see your human side and if that picture is interesting enough you’re followers will pass it on, helping you attract more clients.
The key is to get stuck in, give some time and energy into creating your profile and get tweeting. It does not need to take up all your time but the rewards can be truly worthwhile, so what are you waiting for? There is no time like the present.
Ciara Sarkar is social media manager with mmadigital