If I were a solicitor…

If I were a solicitor…

A week or two ago I tweeted the following, “If you were a solicitor, what would you use Twitter for”. I did this because I was visiting a solicitors that day and wanted to show both the power of crowd sourcing but also what other people’s ideas were. I was pretty overwhelmed by the response to be honest, receiving over 25 replies before I’d even got to my meeting.

So this got me thinking, why not start a new blog series called “If I were a…” The idea is that every month or so I’ll crowd source a blog post on a different industry and credit everyone that takes the time to write back and participate. :)

So any solicitors out there listening, here are a few of the tips from the twitter community for you:

0neLife – Trust, authenticity and finding a voice

lukus1984 – To gain social insight & perspective on particularly tough moral issues, especially surrounding current affairs. The peoples voice!

jaimesteele – Use LinkedIn to build relationships – Complete profile 100%, add applications esp slideshare, add as many connections as possible

in_house_lawyer - I’m a solicitor and use twitter! Here’s why: http://bit.ly/azuFPa

Partridgewilson – No hard sell. Be interesting & informal but professional. Try to engage with followers as you would in any other social setting.

sarknight – To update re changes in legislation and to connect with local businesses in a different way to other firms

Nick_Edin – Networking, giving advice, sharing information, mentoring stars of tomorrow, business development and reputation.

RalliSolicitors – Good Morning. Where would you like us to start? (I was impressed with these guys listening out :))

Joel_Hughes – Help project credibility in target services, build relationships with key prospects

Innovateip – Not a solicitor but a Trade Mark Attorney, use twitter for 50% social/50% business with hints and tips about protecting IP

MattYoungMedia – I think Twitter would give a solicitor the chance to show their human side…

steelcitym – A solicitor should be an “informer”. They have to read daily to keep up to speed. Blog, write & post before others do it first!

So there you have it, a selection of the best tweets I had back from the community and some good solid advice.

So if I were a solicitor what would I do (and I do have the benefit of more than 140 characters of course) :)

  • Create an account under my name – using a full name
  • Create a detailed bio
  • Link back to my firms website or my personal blog if I had one
  • Setup tools allowing me to monitor for terms surrounding my area of law and location
  • Engage with the people those tools find
  • Pay special attention to the ‘Influencers’ in my game – It didn’t take me long to find that one of the most active solicitors in the UK on SM is @brianinkster – I’d watch and learn from people like Brian
  • I’d engage where possible – always looking to build credibility and authority
  • I’d add value by linking to articles of interest that I find about my area of law
  • I’d look for local news and help push that out to my network
  • I’d find my clients and current contacts that use the networks and make sure we are connected and engaging online
  • I’d follow useful resource sites like http://twitter.com/legal_week
  • I’d Retweet articles and sites of interest to my followers

Most importantly I’d try and give value where possible and project my personality in order that when someone needs my services I’ll be in with a shout of that contact or having my name passed on.

If you were a solicitor what would you do? Maybe you are a solicitor and want to let us into your strategy for social media?

p.s You can now add your email address to my 'newsletter' signup. I'll be adding value to this group of people as often as possible - they will receive things from me that others don't have access to, so please signup today.



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Comments

  1. Interesting comments Alastair. As a solicitor I have thought about this a great deal. I think what a solicitor will use Twitter for will depend on their practice and firm. ie a Technology lawyer like me will use it differently to a personal injury lawyer.

    For example I work at a large firm with about 20 different areas of law practice. Each of these practice areas engage different cross sections of the business, public and private individual communities. Each has different needs and has seperate business development requirements.

    Some additional thoughts from my blog about solicitors using SM to co-ordinate class legal actions here if it helps you http://www.matthewgingell.com/2010/01/social-media-to-co-ordinate-class-legal.html

    • Thanks for dropping by Matthew and great that you took the time to comment. I totally agree with you. I work on social strategy for a number of different businesses and within larger companies there are always different needs/influencers/strategies between departments. In a large firm such as yours I would look at both a company strategy and then a mixture of personal ‘mini-strategies’ especially within niche areas of law – the key thing is that they pulled together with an ‘over-arching’ document which shows consistency across the firm. Thanks again for taking the time to comment :)

  2. Alastair

    I think this is an excellent treasure trove of *top tips* for lawyers who are looking to engage on Twitter. I think what you are driving at is authenticity and to properly engage – a saying that I use a lot in Social Media is you need to be the Real Deal, meaning don’t try to be something you are not on to adopt a persona that isn’t yours.

    I would also add a few more pointers if that is OK (speaking from a lawyer’s perspective):

    1. Check your contract of employment to see what it says about IT/internet/email policies. The bottom line is that you MUST not do anything that is going to bring the firm’s brand into disrepute.

    2. Check to see if there is a separate social media policy (unlikely at the moment) for appropriate guidelines. If there isn’t one then it may be better to make sure one is in place before everyone jumps in. You don’t want to be making it up on the hoof.

    3. Ask someone about using Twitter during working hours. There may be a bar set up. If you are going to have that removed are your tweets going to monitored or moderated?

    4. Assuming that you have passed through these pathways, think very very carefully about the messaging:

    a) how often are you going to tweet?
    b) are you going to automate the tweets?
    c) what will you say that connects you with your firm?
    d) how you will you handle the conversation? Will you need another pair of eyes to look at things?
    e) who and for what reasons will you follow?
    f) how deep with the conversations do you intend to go? There are some bear traps waiting here.
    g) how will you identify your buyer personas?
    h) at what stage, assuming people follow you back, you will you DM and then go off line for a meet up?

    This is not an exhaustive list but lots to think about in the process of engagement.

    Finally measurement will be important as otherwise there is a real risk that if you are taking up valuable fee earning time (assuming that you are allowed to tweet during normal working hours) without a return (new instructions etc.) that you will be told to stop!!

    … and on and on.

    Sorry that this is so long but it gives you a flavour of some of the issues.

    Best wishes
    Julian

    • Julian, this is awesome – thank you so much for putting so much time and effort into your comment. The advice you’ve given here is invaluable and shows your depth of expertise in this area :)

      Thanks again – Al

  3. Thanks for mentioning me in your blog post. I do all the things you have listed and, in addition, operate several corporate Twitter accounts for my law firm (@inksters) and the niche areas of law that we cover (@ScotsFamilyLaw @CroftingLaw @scotsproperty and @shetlandhomes). These accounts provide tailored information streams and attract people interested in each. They establish Inksters as experts in these areas.

    However, engagement is the key to building business through social media and only individuals can really do this by building up friendships and trust over time. I encourage all solicitors and trainee solicitors at Inksters to tweet. Some have only started recently and perhaps still need to find their wings. However, with four of us: @BrianInkster @GusMacaulay @kdsimmonds @louisefk and the 5 corporate accounts we are building a strong presence on Twitter. We are, as Jon Bloor @beej777 calls it, Tweeting in convoy: http://www.peninsulawyer.com/blog/2009/9/30/tweeting-in-convoy.html

    I think this is important because if someone refers a tweep to @inksters or @BrianInkster for say a family law matter I want to be able to refer them to the person who deals with family law (that is not me) via Twitter. I can do so by referring them on to @GusMacaulay or @louisefk and the discussion can continue via Twitter (perhaps by DM).

    I would also highlight the importance of following other solicitors on Twitter: Great for keeping up to date with the law and legal practice, collaborating and cross referrals.

    For a discussion on UK Lawyers and Social Media see: http://www.inksters.com/uklawyersandsocialmedia.aspx

  4. To all on this thread:

    I’ve been asked to provide help for solicitors through Like Minds. What do they need to hear?

    Scott

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