Why should a law firm use Twitter? Some firms adopt a kind of laying-the-table approach to social media: you have Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in the same way as a table setting has a knife, fork and spoon. Regardless of what the firm is trying to achieve, a Twitter account seems to be a necessary platform.
Failure to engage
However, as a recent article on Econsultancy points out, law firms can be pretty terrible at using Twitter. This is usually because the person managing the Twitter account is insufficiently trained, experienced or authorised to make the account work.
For example, a tweet to a major law firm asking for information about opening times over a bank holiday received a response providing a phone number to call, not the opening times requested. Other attempts showed firms dumping traditional content, such as press releases or annual reviews, with a simple link and no attempt to engage followers.
Being prepared to chat
Twitter is a platform designed for engagement and interaction, but legal companies can be too risk averse to attempt real engagement. We’ve all heard of occasions when corporate social media has gone wrong with embarrassing consequences, but these are really few and far between. Nonetheless, firms sometimes retain a signing off structure which prevents tweets from being spontaneous or even particularly genuine.
Law firms need to maintain their independence and credibility, but this doesn’t mean output has to be cold and dry. With sufficient resource in place, a Twitter account can be friendly, warm and quick to respond without undermining company prestige. Most people understand that you speak a little differently on social media than you do in more formal contexts.
Digital Marketing underspend
Econsultancy’s 2015 Digital Marketing in the Legal Sector report found that 67% of legal marketers were investing only 1-20% of their budget in digital marketing. With spend this low, it’s hard to imagine social content is going to shine; most likely, the function is included in a marketing officer’s job description, way below other responsibilities. This is a sure-fire way to ensure the format is neglected.
Alternatively, low spend can mean social media is left to someone junior and inexperienced. Without the training and understanding of the sector, a junior employee is unlikely to be able to engage with your target audience effectively.
Getting ROI on Twitter
Ultimately, a half-hearted approach to Twitter is a waste of a firm’s money. It takes some resource to run an account, and if the output is not engaging, attracting or informing anyone then really, what is the point?
To access the benefits offered by Twitter, firms need to be prepared to use a lighter tone than they would adopt for more formal communications, and to devote resource to making sure the account is responsive, relevant and effective at networking with the right people and organisations. Used correctly, Twitter can be a powerful tool for building corporate brand, recognition and authority – but it takes time and investment.
Is your firm using Twitter effectively? Why not ask M2 Bespoke to help?