Pretty much everyone in the conference hall heard me yelp as Larry DePalma, a purported marketing expert, told 900 consumer bankruptcy lawyers that they should stay away from Twitter. “Not yet,” he said.
My response was purely involuntary, and I was glad that my friend Kurt O’Keefe was quick enough on his feet to cover by saying, “bless you,” as if I’d sneezed. Those in attendance who know me realized the ruse immediately.
My agony, however, was not at the fact that we were told to avoid Twitter.
Why I Use Twitter
Twitter recently celebrated it’s sixth birthday while also announcing that it has 140 million users and sees 340 million tweets per day. I’ve been on Twitter since March 2007, and have had the great fortune of making connections with a number of wonderful people.
I met my web developer, Cynthia LaLuna, through Twitter when I was looking for someone to set their hand to this site. Over the past few years, Cynthia has become a trusted friend as well as a steady business associate. My websites and those of my colleagues have been made all the better because of her. In fact, Cynthia is going to be one of the speakers at the Bankruptcy Practice Workshop in St. Louis on June 9, 2012.
Though I knew her prior to Twitter, I became friendly with Stefanie Devery after I joined. When it came time for me to look for an associate for my law firm, Stefanie offered up her services. I’m glad to say that she’s been a terrific addition to the firm.
Why You May Want To Use Twitter
A significant number of local and regional (not to mention national) reporters use Twitter actively, seeking out sources of information and using the platform as a means of determining the most qualified experts in a given field.
Lawyers like me who actively use Twitter have been quoted in national offline news media outlets (NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Crain’s New York Business).
Many people – consumers as well as professionals – use Twitter as a substitute for news gathering. They don’t talk much, but they’re scanning their stream for things that interest them.
Or Maybe Not
At least once a week a lawyer will come to me and ask that I help get him or her set up with Twitter. When pressed, most have no idea why they should be there. They know only that some talking head or gooroo at a conference told them that Twitter was somehow mandatory for their continued viability as a business.
This, to my mind, is just as misinformed as those who tell us to stay away from any platform in particular. Those self-proclaimed experts see only tactics, not strategies.
To figure out if a particular platform is right for you, look at your clients and those you want to inform about your area of expertise. Figure out who they are, and where they hang out. Then go there. Simple as that.
My clients don’t hang around on Twitter, but people who influence them do. Other lawyers in different fields, journalists, freelance writers who contribute to personal finance sites, and the like. Those are the people with whom I want to interact, so I need to be there as well.
Know Where To Go
Maybe you’re different. Perhaps you like a good tax delinquency case. Maybe student loan law is your thing. For each type of matter you’ve got different potential clients. Go where they are.
Your clients may be on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Pinterest. Maybe they are on one of the forum sites. For you to be absent is a shame, isn’t it?
And if someone calling themselves an expert sells any particular platform short without knowing about your practice, you should send them packing.
Image credit: _Fidelio_