Twitter for Lawyers

Everyone these days is talking about Twitter. Every week, 1 billion Tweets are sent out. That’s equivalent to every man, woman, and child in the US sending a status update twice a week.

Twitter is incredibly simple, and yet so complicated to use correctly. It will take you no more than two minutes to sign up for an account and send your first 140 character Tweet. The complicated part is knowing what to say, how to join conversations with other people, who to follow and how to get other people to follow you.

Tweeting is not intuitive for most people. If you’re an extreme extrovert and believe the entire world’s interested in your every word, Tweeting may come naturally. For the rest of us, it requires some strategy. And for most business professionals, the best approach is mix of news feed, commentary on public events, and an interactive channel for public business-related discussions.

What does this mean? Let’s break it down.

The news feed aspect is talking about what’s new at your business. It may be an upcoming event, a press release, or an award.

Commentary on public events would mean talking about something in the press. For example, there may be a legislative issue going on that you have an opinion about. You can post a Tweet about that. It could also be an article in the New York Times. Always include links if you can.

The interactive channel means monitoring what other people are saying, and responding to them in a public forum. So if someone mentions your business, you should respond to it in an understanding or thoughtful manner. Even if it’s critical, it’s always best to respond, unless it’s completely beyond the line of decency.

Getting people to follow you on Twitter is always a challenge. Getting followers just for the sake of numbers isn’t especially useful, unless you’re mass marketing some product. You want followers who are genuinely interested in what you have to say.

The best thing is to interact with people as much as possible. Just posting a news feed isn’t enough for that. You’ll want to monitor the conversations of your colleagues and fellow association members and write something whenever you see them talking about something interesting. Even just writing a few words of encouragement helps you to join the conversation.

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