Should You Care That I’m Back on Twitter?
I made the decision to start using Twitter again.
This should not impact your life in any way.
I’ll explain why in a minute but first some background…
I was an active participant on Twitter for the better part of 18 months in 2008/2009. I spent a great deal of time using this form of media. I had thousands of followers, some of whom were actual people. I had a few meaningful conversations but never developed any business as a result of my involvement.
So I cast it aside.
And now I’m back.
But this time things are different.
I’m not using Twitter as a broadcast media to develop business. I’m going to use it to keep abreast of things that are important to me. I’ll follow the beat writers from my favorite sports teams. I’ll follow the liberal media. I’ll have Twitter conversations with friends and family (people with whom I would have a real life conversation) and I’ll broadcast an occasional promotional message.
But I’m not going to go crazy following 20,000 people just to get half of them to follow me back. And I’m not going to repeat the same posts over and over again to get you to read something I wrote.
Twitter is a good way to aggregate news and information. It may have some value in developing relationships. I think I’m a more mature Twitter user now so I’m going to give it another try.
Connect with me on Twitter: @TheDaveLorenzo
Questioning the Value of Social Media in Marketing for Lawyers
If you only had one hour each day to spend on marketing, how would you spend it?
Would you be better off reaching out to clients, past clients and referral sources and scheduling lunch with them or would you be better off interacting with them on Facebook and Twitter?
During the past two years I have been active on Facebook. About a year ago I relegated my Twitter activity to posting updates on my other media properties after regularly interacting with people on my follower list for 10 months. My experience with these two social media platforms has been enlightening (to say the least).
I have developed several true (real life) friendships as a result of these two forms of social media. I have re-developed relationships with people I had lost touch with. And I have had more than a few good laughs in browsing though the status updates and posts in my news feed.
I was frustrated when my profiles on both Facebook and Twitter were shut down as a result of an advertising mistake. I was shocked when I my posts angered some of my relatives. I received hate mail and nasty comments from people when I posted things about my favorite sports teams. I have also been thoroughly aggravated, on numerous occasions, by some of the ridiculously ignorant political statements I have seen from people who I consider friends.
When I started using Facebook and Twitter I knew there was likely no immediate payoff in new business. I viewed these sites as an opportunity to develop and deepen relationships. The theory being that deep relationships would result in new business. After two years I can honestly say that deep relationships result in just that, deep relationships. Facebook and Twitter have not helped develop better referral sources. They have helped introduce me to lawyers who did not know me, which is good. But, to date, this has not resulted in any significant business.
There are arguments in favor of using these social media sites and there are arguments against using them. But the question remains: Are they a good use of my time? Actually, a better question is: Are they the best possible use of my marketing time?
I know lawyers who spend hours each week on Facebook and Twitter but claim they have no time for marketing. I estimate that I have spent about 700 hours on Facebook and Twitter during the past two years. That’s almost seven hours each week. Would my time have been better spent if I:
- Had lunch with one more lawyer each week? – 2 hours
- Written an article for a trade magazine? – 2 hours
- Pitched that article to several magazines? – 1 hour
- Written several thank you notes to people I met and made follow-up phone calls to people on my mailing list? – 2 hours
I can tell you from past experience that the activities I listed above will bring me new clients. Investing in these tactics would be an additional investment in proven marketing activities.
Facebook and Twitter help deepen relationships but there are other marketing vehicles that are far more effective at relationship development. I will continue to use Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch with friends and colleagues but I am going to dramatically reduce the amount of time I spend on them. Right now, the return on the time invested is not significant enough to warrant spending additional time on it.
How much time do you invest in social media? Is it paying off? Is social media the best possible use of your time?
What You Think About Twitter Doesn’t Matter
In 3500BC when the Mesopotamians first started using the wheel to move heavy objects there was probably some resistance to making it a commonplace tool.
And when Henry Ford was motoring around Dearborn, Michigan in his car people probably thought it would never catch on.
The same is probably true of the television, and it was definitely true of the Internet.
Marketing for lawyers is no different. Something new comes along and people are naturally resistant. People are resistant to things they don’t understand.
That’s the reason why I smile when I hear people say that Twitter is useless.
Here is a newsflash:
Twitter is here to stay.
You may not be using Twitter, you may not see a need for it, but many attorneys are using it as a marketing tool and it works.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a service that allows you to communicate directly with a group of people who have an interest in your thoughts and ideas. This communication is in sound bites – specifically 140 character sentences – like text messaging.
People must “subscribe” to your Twitter updates (called “tweets”) in order to receive them. Subscribing is called “following” in Twitter language. If you are following someone and they are following you, you can have a conversation via Twitter. If you want other people to “overhear” your conversation, you can direct your comment to one person specifically and let everyone see it. This is like being in a public chat room. Twitter also allows you to send private messages to another user who is following you.
Why is Twitter powerful?
Twitter is a powerful tool because it allows you to have an ongoing conversation with a specific group of people. Conversations are how relationships begin. This is the essence of good marketing.
Here is an example:
If you are a plaintiff attorney in a personal injury practice and you receive most of your matters through attorney referrals, you can easily identify other attorneys on Twitter and communicate with them regularly.
This communication will eventually lead to the development of a relationship and possibly some referred clients. If you want to develop the relationship quickly, you can send your Twitter friends links to articles you have published. You can point them to case records that are relevant to something that they are working on and you can update them on relevant news in a related filed. All of this can be done from your personal computer or from your mobile phone. It takes a few seconds.
Isn’t Twitter a Waste of Time?
I have heard this question from many people. They usually say it as a statement and not as a question that they expect to be answered.
This comment comes mostly from people who do not understand how to use this tool.
You will consider Twitter a waste of time if:
- You think going to a charity dinner to meet influential people from your local area is a waste of time.
- If you think sending out a thank you letter to a prospective corporate client is a waste of time.
- If you think running writing a magazine or newspaper article is a waste of time.
- If you think being on a television show is a waste of time.
- Twitter is just as powerful and in many cases more powerful than all of these “traditional” aspects of attorney marketing.
In the end, it doesn’t matter what you think about Twitter. It is a technological application that allows you to build relationships. And relationships lead to more business for your law firm. If you are not using it, someone else is probably attracting clients that could be coming to your firm.