Social media is obviously huge and significant. Certainly a lot of people use social media very successfully for marketing. Using social media can be fun, which means it holds the potential to be a huge time sink. By now most family law practitioners have had a case involving damaging statements or inappropriate photos posted to Facebook. But many lawyers feel they are too busy to use social media for marketing and some feel that it is a bit unseemly for a legal professional.
Let me be clear that I am now reviewing a book that I have not read. But I know the subject matter and I know the author. I have long believed that Twitter is very important for lawyers, particularly solos and smaller firms. So I would encourage all of you to preorder Twitter in One Hour for Lawyers by Jared Correia. Jared is a very entertaining and knowledgeable writer.
The nice thing about Twitter is that if you skip a week (or two) posting tweets, it is not as obvious as when you do not post to your blog for a month and every visitor can scroll down and see that. For solos and small firms, Twitter is like a free public relations agency. You set up an account for your law firm. Solo lawyers will want to use their real name, if available. If it is not, maybe you can add Esq or Atty to your name. You then put your Twitter name with a hyperlink in your email signature block. Do a few inital tweets about your law practice or the subject areas of law that you primarly handle. Then e-mail all of your buddies telling them you are on Twitter with a link to your Twitter account. That's less than an hour of work. You may be surprised that people quickly start following you.
The next time you have an hour or so to invest, do a few searches for lawyers in your area and follow them on Twitter. Then do another tweet or two, pehaps linking to a really interesting online article or two about law. Follow lawyers in other states who tweet about your practice area and retweet (RT) them occasionally. Then (and this is the really important step) follow all of the media outlets in your area, along with their writers and broadcasters who have Twitter accounts. And you may be surprised that several follow you back. Today's journalists get many story ideas from Twitter.
Try to tweet every week. But don't worry about doing many tweets each week unless you come up with really good material. At least twice a month check the Direct messages and Connect areas to see if anyone you do not follow sent you a message. If someone posts about you, using your Twitter name, you should get an email notification.
You may get a call from a reporter sometime as a result of this, but the real payoff is when you publish a story in a publication for lawyers and can tweet out the link to the article in seconds. You should send out tweets when you teach CLE programs, when you are mentioned in the media in any way or when you publish an update to your law firm web page. My view is that you will probably want to keep your tweets mainly about you or the law, but others disagree. There are tools to help you manage and automate this. I'm sure Jared will inform you all about those in the book. When you have big news to share, do not worry that you only have 200 (or 50) followers. Many of them will RT interesting items.
OK, it won't be just an hour. It will be more like 3 or 4 hours to get started and an hour or half hour per month. But Twitter is free and having your own press release distribution service can be pretty amazing. Many tweet from their smart phones using the Twitter app. Do not "hard sell" your legal services. Twitter users really do not like that and may unfollow you or block you. But unlike many other ways of increasing your visibility online, this is something that a lawyer who is inexperienced in marketing can do effectively in a small amount of time each month.
The final point is do no harm. Do not post tweets when you are angry at someone and want to tweet back at them. Do not drink and tweet. :-) Watch your language. I recently heard from someone who followed a lawyer on Twitter and the first several tweets from the lawyer all contained obscenities. She unfollowed him immediately. Have fun. Be light hearted–at least part of the time. Don't expect huge results, but pay attention when you get them.
So preorder this book right now. Don't wait for any "real" reviews. The book is inexpensive at $39.95 and you can get a 15% discount for preordering. (In addition, some state bar memberships provide an additional discount. The discount code for Oklahoma Bar members discount code is PAB9EOKB.)