Independent Thinking: Social Media for your Average Overworked Lawyer

August 8, 2012

Where am I going to find the time to do that?

This was the first thing I asked when a friend of mine involved in social media and search engine optimization suggested that I get my act together and take my marketing efforts out of the last century and into the new millennium.

For most practicing attorneys, finding even one extra minute in the day to devote to something new is a monumental task. We NEVER get all the items on the to-do list checked off because the practice of law is an ongoing process. We have hydra-like lists of tasks. Cut one head off and two pop up in its place.

So how can practicing attorneys find the time to engage in social media? It can be done, but multitasking skills are a must, moderation is the key to success and Twitter is the social network of choice.

In my experience, Twitter provides the best opportunity to capitalize on a small daily time investment. In less than 90 total minutes a day, attorneys can build a significant presence and network on Twitter that, with a little luck and a lot of patience, can potentially generate a few leads for new clients.

As a trial lawyer, it doesn’t take much to make the time worth investing. Even one or two cases a year can provide a very nice return on investment. To answer the most likely comments in advance, yes, I have gotten case inquiries and leads through Twitter.

There are a few essential components to Twitter success as an attorney:

First, you will need the right tools. There are many different social media dashboards available that greatly increase your ability to monitor and engage on Twitter, but for lawyers with little time, Hootsuite provides the best solution. Hootsuite is a dashboard that allows quick monitoring of Twitter accounts and, most importantly, the ability to schedule tweets throughout the day to maintain a consistent stream of content on Twitter.

Devote some time to selecting the content that is scheduled. If possible, original content is preferred; however, a consistent stream of original blog posts is a challenging task for a practicing lawyer. Nonetheless, some thought needs to go into selection of content for the stream. If followers wanted to simply read all the stories posted by the Wall Street Journal law blog, they would get the RSS feed.

Thoughtful selection of a variety of content from legal information to random “pure entertainment” posts always results in more engagement. Engagement is what gets case leads and clients.

Build trust and credibility by doing everything possible to respond to everyone that engages with you. If asked a question, give an answer. If you don’t know the answer, look it up. After all, that’s what we do every day in the practice of law, isn’t it? This all may sound simple, but take a look at what some of your colleagues are doing in social media and you will soon discover that, simple or not, the vast majority are consistently engaging.

Provide consistent content, interact and engage and you will definitely stand out in the crowd on Twitter.

Finally, I have to credit my good friend Robert Caruso @fondalo with graciously steering me down the path I just described and providing me the tools I needed to drag my law firm marketing out of the Yellow Pages…I mean Dark Ages and dive headfirst into social media.
 

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