One of the newest weapons in our legal marketing arsenal is social networking and media. What began as a tool for keeping in touch with friends has become a new opportunity for businesses and professional services to connect with their customers on a more personal level.

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all creating new opportunities for the legal marketing world
by allowing lawyers to have a more personal face on the Internet rather than just their straight-laced websites. The "social" in social networking is helping clients become familiar with their new lawyer before they even step into an office.

How Social is Social Networking?

The term "social networking" brings to mind horrible stories of how social media profiles have served as the basis for everything from trial evidence to becoming the basis of firing decisions. Many users have found their presence on social networking sites to become a danger zone for inappropriate content.

There's a fine line you have to walk when deciding what to put on your social networking profiles and how you use them to interact with your clients. While you do want to embrace the social aspect of social networking and loosen your tie a little, you still need to remember that you're a professional.

Twitter: Quick Social Networking

How creative can you be in 140 characters or less? Many businesses have found success in running marketing campaigns with Twitter, a short message broadcasting service that I'm sure you've at least read about, if not yet experienced personally. Now with smartphones becoming the norm for handheld media, Twitter is finding usefulness everywhere from technology companies to pizza parlors.

For lawyers, Twitter may seem like a waste. The way other businesses use Twitter just doesn't seem to work for lawyers; you can't answer most legal questions in less than 140 characters and you're not going to offer 10% discounts for your 200th follower. My answer to that is: we all have to start somewhere.

Twitter is a largely untapped source of potential legal marketing, you can reach out to thousands of people with a single click of a mouse. The ability to share a post with the "retweet" feature is also a goldmine when you post a link to your latest blog. Take some time to explore Twitter, see how others are using it, and see how you can make it work for your practice.

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Ben Glass
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Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.