When it comes to marketing, what Web 2.0 tools are part of your plan? Jon Gordon asked me how I would describe Twitter’s usefulness to a group of communications lawyers, and I told him I would recommend it as a way to help create an “ecosystem” around a law practice (or, sans buzzwords, to help build one’s online relationships and reputation).
Twitter is a sort of reductio ad absurdum of the blog and the social network. But the end result is not absurd, it is potentially very useful to the attorney-marketer.
Twitter is the essense of personal blogging: it provides a simple space to answer the question “what are you doing now?” and see what others are doing (or thinking, or saying), as well. While blogging and online social networking take a lot of time, Twitter does not. And since many lawyers are tempted to wax poetic, Twitter posts are nicely limited to 140 characters.
In other words, Twitter is one way to build one’s reputation 140 characters and a few seconds at a time. And keep up with colleagues, as well.
People want to know what you are doing, both personally and professionally. Not just that you “do criminal law,” but that you won an implied consent petition and a misdemeanor assault trial this week. That you handled three custody issues on family court. That you wiped out $30,000 in consumer debt last month. And that your kid just made the honor roll.
As lawyers, we attract clients and referrals primarily through our relationships, and especially by our reputations. Offline, we build relationships (and reputation) primarily by person-to-person networking and word of mouth. This works pretty well. And if we are lucky, at some point our reputation is strong enough that we begin to earn media exposure, as well.
Online relationship- and reputation-building works similarly, but it becomes even more important. Offline, researching ethos takes time. Few potential clients have the time or tolerance to solicit multiple references and testimonials, visit the library and search through catalogs of archived media, call the BBB, and research an attorney’s case history.
Online, this kind of research takes only a few clicks. (It also take only a few clicks for a news reporter to find an attorney to interview for her article in your area of law!) There is already plenty of information out there about you and your practice. What are you doing to highlight the positive and cast yourself in the best light possible (besides being a great attorney, obviously) so that potential clients, referral sources, and media persons find you and decide to contact you?
More importantly, with all that information out there, what are you doing to give potential clients and referral sources a chance to meet you before they meet you? Social networks and blogs have their place, and so does Twitter.
With Twitter, you can simply post “won a $50,000 jury verdict for the buyer in a sales contract dispute,” and readers will know that you not only advertise yourself as a commercial lawyer, you are out there winning commercial law cases. Let your followers know when you get contacted by media, when you win a case, secure a new client, volunteer your time, etc., and they will begin to see you as someone worth hiring.
See the potential?