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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Brown

Why you should be building your network and brand on Twitter

Updated: May 7, 2020

In the day-to-day running of your law practice, it may seem like you don’t have time to stop and take in what’s happening on social media. Do you view Twitter and LinkedIn as a rabbit hole you’d rather avoid?

Try flipping that question and ask whether you can afford not to be active on social media right now. Think about what you may be missing in the way of free business development opportunities and in gaining competitive intelligence.

If there was ever a time to establish or re-boot your social platforms, it is now. With seminars, meetings and other group activities on hold for the foreseeable future, virtual networking is on the rise. And even though some provinces are beginning a gradual return to business, there is still a sizeable captive audience working from home or on reduced hours, and many are monitoring their Twitter feeds looking for news, updates or announcements from governing bodies.

During this time, when many are scrolling and seeking ways to interact with others, it’s a great time to embrace the opportunity presented by social media. While the majority of lawyers have a presence on LinkedIn, Twitter remains an untapped source for many legal professionals. Think of it as social media’s slightly cheekier sibling that is often quicker on the mark when it comes to the latest information.

According to the 2019 American Bar Association Profile of the Legal Profession, just 25 per cent of lawyers personally use or maintain a presence on Twitter for professional reasons, and only 14 per cent of law firms use Twitter, down from a high of 21 per cent in 2016. But according to the ABA’s 2018 Legal Technology Survey Report, three-quarters of lawyers said their firms are on social networks, and roughly one -third said they got or retained clients because of social media.

In his article last fall For Law Technology Today, Dennis Garcia, assistant general counsel for Microsoft Corporation, outlined how Twitter, “. . . provides a highly powerful — and free — opportunity to learn, build your organization’s brand, your personal brand and develop relationships.”

Twitter also gives you direct insight into what some of your peers, and ultimately, your competitors, are doing to establish themselves as subject matter experts and share content of interest to the legal world. It also provides a great view into the day-to-day discourse taking place around professional standards issues and emerging trends. During COVID-19, much of the “breaking news” in the legal community has been around what the governing bodies were allowing to ensure client matters could be addressed in what had suddenly become a very virtual world.

Lawyers in the real estate, estates, family law, criminal and employment law professions often share interesting decisions that may be of interest to your practice or client base.

Corporate clients frequently say the most significant challenge they have with their external legal counsel at firms is getting the lawyers who work on their files to better understand the business they are in. This problem seems to be a significant failure to recognize a simple way to do business development. A legislative change or market fluctuation could mean a substantial challenge to a client. Following a corporate client on Twitter could give you insight into their day-to-day challenges or new projects they are working on.

Start by setting up your account and in doing so be sure to choose a handle that identifies who you are. Use the bio portion to clearly state the areas of law you work in as well as your firm name and interests. This kind of information can be helpful too when the media are looking for spokespeople or subject-matter experts to interview.

Follow other lawyers you know and those you attended law school with as well as any professional associations and organizations such as the Advocates’ Society, the Law Society in your province, the Canadian Bar Association and provincial bar associations. The courts in Canada are also active on Twitter including the Supreme Court, the Federal Court of Appeal and provincial courts (Yes, they are on Twitter, so why aren’t you?). Next, seek out those who practice in the same area as you and see what they are posting about.

You can also search hashtags to find those who are tweeting about the area of law you practice in, and you will start to find other like-minded lawyers and those tweeting about trending areas of the law.

By investing a little time on establishing yourself on social media you will find your scope of influence, knowledge and business development opportunities will expand and take you outside your current sphere of work in a positive way.

If you need help with your social media strategy, reach out to us today. We have proven experience helping lawyers and law firms achieve measurable success through social media.

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