Twitter represents a potentially explosive marketing opportunity for lawyers and law firms; but, even in small bursts of 140 characters each, you must be careful to appropriately tag your tweets, in order to get the maximum effect for what you publish.
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The Scenario: Back in 2009, when Coca-Cola decided to change the formula for Powerade so that it would taste awful, I engaged in a (very) small campaign to make Powerade Ion 4 the new Coke of sugar-loaded sports drinks. Given Ricky Bobby’s proclivity for the beverage (and my wife’s, which was my real motivation for the project), I decided to try to enlist the help of Will Ferrell; so, I sent a reply message to Will Ferrell’s Twitter account (at least I thought it was Will Ferrell’s Twitter account) saying something more clever than, ‘Help Destroy New Powerade!’. Well, Will Ferrell didn’t help; but, I got a ton of new followers, who seemed to think that I knew Will Ferrell, which I did not.
The Lesson, as always: It’s good to get more followers; but, at what cost? You want people following you who are going to use, purchase or promote your products or services, not, as in my case, celebrity hounds. Not that it’s the worst thing in the world to show up in the ‘Mentions’ field of a popular account (people do search those); and, the way that Twitter works, you are in complete control of your insertions into that dialogue.
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The Scenario: This summer, we had our intern draft this post on Microsoft Office resources. The post was well-done; but, short, and intentionally generic. I always construct a series of variously-worded tweets to promote our blog posts; and, in this case, I included the @Microsoft tag, so that we would, at least, appear in Microsoft’s ‘Mentions’ feed (the potentially effective strategy alluded to above). Better still, Microsoft retweeted our post, and we got a rash of hits, in short order. That publication is our #3 most popular blog post of all-time; and, it is the latest-dated post included in our all-time top ten.
The Lesson: You link out of your blogs, so why wouldn’t you link out of your Twitter posts publicizing your blogs? @ references serve as relevant links to people, companies, products and services that you’ve covered. Plus, Twitter’s mentions feed serves as a built-in alert to those profile owners/administrators. The more retweets you can get, the better, because that’s how you get your ‘stuff’ into other people’s channels–and, from there, who knows how far your voice will carry. (Despite my numerous mentions of @BradPaisley, I have not yet been retweeted by his feed; but, One Day! Not that that guy needs any help selling records, though.) So, when you’re crafting your tweets, you should always keep in mind potential profile references you can make. If you don’t know whether a person or a company has a Twitter account, it takes very little time to look them up, and to relate the post to them; if they retweet you, because they’ve noticed your mentioning them, it was all well worth the effort.
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Dicta: (1) To a lesser extent, hashtags work the same way that mentions do; but, they’re not so obvious a reference, because tweets including hashtags do not automatically show up in an account feed–instead, someone has to know about the hashtag, or be looking for it, such that there is some publication work to be done respecting popularizing the hashtag; or, you can piggyback off of an already popular hashtag. But, generally, the value of the hashtag is that it places your tweet into an aggregate collection of other tweets on the same subject; in other words: you’re getting yourself and your message into more channels. (2) Twitter, and social media marketing generally, being relatively new phenomena, means that not everyone is leveraging these tools effectively, or that persons and companies with established offline, or elsewhere online, brands don’t have the same kind of reach that they do on-social media that they do off-social media. You may have more followers than your favorite food truck, let’s say. This being the case, a reference to a burgeoning Twitter brand can get you a retweet into a separate channel of influence, or maybe some free stuff, food preferably. (3) The cc: function, overutilized in email communications, is underutilized in Twitter. If I tweet something that I think may be of interest or relevance to another person/account (read: I’d like you to retweet this, even though I am not going to come right out and say it), I cc: them. There is probably some shorterhand method for indicating cc: on Twitter; but, I’m not one of those people who’s going to look that up, so I wouldn’t know.
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Of course, these sorts of curiosities are not limited to the use of Twitter; and thus, this piece begs a further instruction, an example beyond–if not mostly (merely) for purposes of keeping close to its titled objective.
An Other Scenario: I write this law practice management blog that doubles as my personal soapbox for the promotion of music that I like (more and more often country music) through a segment at the end of most of my posts tabbed as “Liner Notes”. For a recent example, see here . . . oh, and below. Now, don’t get me wrong . . . I love law practice management–really I do; it’s just that writing about music gives me a chance to talk about something that I like just as well.
An Other Lesson: Of the three top search hits for this blog, one is not like the others; see if you can pick out the one: “lomap”; “lomap blog”; “julia roberts ex husband”. For those of you who are unaware, Lyle Lovett is the answer (and you know that, for sure). In addition to being J
ulia Roberts’ ex-husband, Lyle L
ovett was also generously referenced in a post of mine, in which I created what I thought Lyle Lovett’s elevator speech would sound like, including links out to some of my favorite songs of his. This was enough, it seems, to draw a goodly number of those seekers of information about the estimable Ms. Roberts’ ex. (Suitors?) Silly? Perhaps. But, if I had a boat for every time a unique mention of mine drew an unexpected hit to this blog, well . . . I’d have at least a couple of boats. The lesson here is that: the more unique your voice, the more attention you can expect to bring yourself (good or bad, so be good); and, it’s not a terrible idea to allow your outside interests to pervade your legal content, since it’s more likely that you’ll be able to infiltrate interest channels you had no idea you could effect–and, from there, and again, there’s no telling how far your voice will travel.
Postscript: (1) @jaredcorreia Top search keywords @MassLOMAP‘s Blog today: “beatles with beards“, “how to organize a legal file” + “eating chips“. Perhaps I lack focus 🙂 (2) Another fun thing to do is to perform a Google Images search for “LOMAP Blog”, to see all of the wack pictures I’ve linked to over the years here; but, that’s probably another blog post unto itself.
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Guest Liner Notes
Speaking of linking in order to increase one’s popularity, here’s my Linkedin profile–or whatever Jared agrees isn’t too offensive to link out from his blog. (LinkedIn profile is fine.–ed.) Hello, to those of you who don’t know me, which is most of you. I’m Jared’s younger, handsomer, and talenteder brother. Me amo Patrick, and I will do my best to uphold Liner Notes’ tradition of excellence.
Jared and I developed different musical tastes as he entered into his autumn years. (Autumn years? Screw you!–ed.) I’m more of the punk rock persuasion. I listen to the Stiff Little Fingers, The Clash (I listen to The Clash, too, dude.–ed.), and the Have Nots.
I don’t think many of my Boston punk songs are safe for work. (I maintain a large collection of Boston-related songs, because I mostly hang in and around Allston. I am not much of a traveler; I want my own reality show called “Culture Shock”, where I would travel the world and be surprised by the things I see: “By Zeus’ beard! Is that two different cheeses in the same sandwich! Who can handle that? Get me a potato to eat raw!”) So, let’s go with something fun. Get out your flannel and lace up your beat-up Chucks. Are you limber enough to skank? We’re going with some SKA!:
-It’s moderately obscure; but, it’s got some really good orchestration.
-Try not to mumble “take warning” while you walk down the street. People look at you with crippled terror.
-Umm, this song is amazing?
I hope I’ve brightened up your day a bit . . . and mine: see, I haven’t really been all that excited about anything since I found out my favorite burrito place was replaced by a bubble tea shop. I don’t even understand the concept of bubble tea.
I miss you El Pollo Loco.
Patrick (Actual photo, ladies.–ed.)