Thursday, June 21, 2012
About a year and a half ago, we created a Twitter account for Zola Creative. Like most businesses starting up on the social media network, we hoped that the account would bring us new business, allowing us to engage with attorneys who might be in need of a new website. We created a branded Twitter profile, studied all of the Twitter terminology and devised a long-term social media engagement plan.
A year and half and 1500 Tweets later, we’ve learned a lot about Twitter from a B2B perspective. Our clients often ask if it’s worth their while to be active on the social media platform so we thought we’d share the 5 main lessons we’ve learned on Twitter. Since we do not offer any type of social media marketing service to firms, we really have no horses in this race so our view is objective and one based purely on our experiences and those of select clients who have shared their thoughts with us.
Lesson #1: You probably won’t get much direct business from Twitter.
Twitter apostles will undoubtedly disagree with us but for most businesses, largely those without mass market appeal, it’s not very likely that prospective clients will find you on Twitter. Why’s that? Well, if you were looking for an attorney or professional advisor, would you instinctively turn to Twitter to find one? You’re not alone. Truth be told, most people won’t.
Lesson #2: While you may not get direct business from Twitter, if you do it right, you will likely connect with peers in the legal industry.
Our time on Twitter has allowed us to connect with a diverse group of attorneys and legal marketing professionals several of whom, we have built partnerships with. These Tweeps (Twitter term meaning friend), who later become partners, have referred firms who have become clients so while Twitter hasn’t led to any direct business—it opens doors and forges connections. Without this social networking tool, we would likely have not encountered many of these professionals.
Lesson #3: You can’t hire an outside consultant to do it for you.
Our clients are often approached by consultants who will manage their social media campaigns for a monthly charge. They set up a Facebook page, establish the company page on LinkedIn and they keep the Twitter account up-to-date. Generally, the fees are astronomical (ranging from $400 – $800 per month) and include regular Facebook updates and if you’re lucky—2 or 3 tweets daily. The consultants assure the firm that they will get them followers. Sounds great, right?
Here’s the issue with those types of services: the point of social media is to engage and connect. What can a person who isn’t even a member of your team have to offer the legal industry? The answer is not much. Often, these consultants tweet about local news stories pertaining to your area of practice or promote your blog posts but they don’t connect. They may get your firm 1500 followers but the followers are for the most part junk—largely spam accounts that follow all those that follow them first. These accounts add nothing to your marketing strategies and if anything, they make your firm look bad.
Lesson #4: You have to offer value.
What can you add to the conversation that your colleagues in the legal world are having? If the answer is that you’re not sure or you don’t have the time—you shouldn’t be so fast to jump on the Twitter bandwagon. Only Tweet if you can offer value because that after all is what will have people following you and connecting with you in a meaningful way.
Lesson #5: It will never (and should never) replace good old fashion networking.
Twitter can be a great way to receive real-time updates, converse with attorneys nationwide and provide some entertainment on those slow days in the office but it will never replace good old fashioned networking. It’s still important to go to those bar association events and business networking group breakfasts because face to face interaction still fosters relationships and a sense of trust much more efficiently than Twitter can.
Twitter isn’t for everyone but for those looking to expand their network of legal professionals, it is a good resource. If you’re considering getting “social” on Twitter it’s important to understand that you probably won’t yield results in numbers but if you invest the time, you’ll likely make some great friends and find some tangible resources along the way.