Twitter is the ultimate in worlds colliding for attorneys. Our job is to keep things confidential, maintain the attorney-client privilege, and make sure we don’t accidentally disclose something that shouldn’t be disclosed. But Twitter is all about constant, persistent sharing of thoughts, impressions, news items, current affairs, opinions, and politics. The list goes on and on. In a 24-hour world, lawyers using twitter have to keep a very sensitive balance in mind between being a part of the social media revolution that has changed the way the world interacts, but also maintaining ethical boundaries and professional duties. Few professions have the same types of concerns as lawyers do using twitter.
For those lawyers looking to get started with Twitter, I’m going to give you a series of blogs with tips to think about as you begin your entry into the Twitterverse.
Setting Content and Usage Goals
The most important thing to do, either as a complete newcomer or even as a veteran Twitter user, is to decide what to tweet, based on your stated and/or chosen goals. Most people are using twitter as a news aggregator but take a moment and think about what this Twitter account is for. Is this your law firm’s account? Your personal account? Your blog’s account?
As a corollary, decide ahead of time what you want to use this twitter account for. Do you want to use twitter for client development? To become an expert in your niche? To simply push out your content? To make new referral connections?
Do you want to do all of the above? Even if you think you want to do all of these things, it’s still important to think for a few minutes about what your twitter account is about, what information you’re comfortable sharing on it, and how you want your twitter feed to look. Remember that your presence on social media reflects onto your business.
Based on your goals and the intention of your Twitter account, you can turn to deciding what to tweet. Which news items to share, what professional accomplishments to cheer, and what personal commentary is appropriate. Many professionals are now turning to tweet management applications to help them schedule their tweets.
Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and Bufferapp are the most popular options. These tools will allow you to schedule tweets ahead of time, thereby freeing you up to go back to your legal work, but these tools do not replace one-on-one interactions and they should not be the basis of your twitter presence.
Timing of Tweets
Twitter is fast. Constant updates, constant opinions, constant sharing. “Live tweeting” is a thing. People live tweet other people’s arguments on airplanes. People live tweet hearings that are open to the media. And with this fast-paced world comes pressure to constantly be updating and pushing out content and tweets. This deluge of information has created systems in which people can constantly be tweeting, but can also be run over by the capabilities this megastream has created.
These capabilities include scheduled tweets. Do not get run over by scheduled tweets. Scheduled tweets can become the biggest snafu/faux pas in a company’s or law firm’s history. So, while using Hootsuite, or other Twitter management apps, can be an excellent way to increase engagement and release your mind to other more pressing and more important matters, the timing of your tweets can also backfire horribly. You never know when the next crisis or tragedy or particularly interesting political scandal will happen. Do not schedule your tweets and then ignore them. Be generally aware of what’s going on in the news on any particular day. Tweets can come off as offensive or insensitive if sent at the wrong time and/or on the wrong day.
In the next blog, I’ll cover content development more in-depth and also discuss developing your online identity and following.