Why #Law Firms #Fail on #Twitter

I’ve just been reading a report on Law Firms on Twitter by a company called intendance (PDF report which makes for interesting reading and highlights how ALL of the big firms get social media, and Twitter in particular, so completely wrong.

First turn to page 10 which has the top ten law firms on twitter. Looks a familiar list. I follow them all. Shoosmiths even tweeted that they were proud to be #7 out of the top 50.

To be honest it’s no real achievement.

All of the firms listed in the report simply us Twitter as an RSS feed, posting content (most likely automatically) from their website as and when it’s updated. Sure, it’s useful information at times, as are emails that th same firms send out occasionally.

I don’t think I’ve seen any of those firms be bloody social. I can just imagine going to a function with their nominated tweeter.

Me: “hi, how are you today?”
Law Firm: “JoeBloggs LLP acts on big deal link”
Me: “Well done you! So how was your Christmas?”
LF: “Bribary Act implications for corporate days act link”
Me: “yes I saw that on twitter, but in reality most businesses will ignore it anyway don’t you think?”
LF: [3 days later] “Why wills are important link”

The fact is you’d have walked off after round one. On twitter we lawyers all follow the big firms but that doesn’t mean they are good at twitter.

Just because @allenovery has branded their profile makes not one bit of difference. Most tweeters never see that (most us mobile devices and apps, like hootsuite or tweetdeck) and see simply a photo.

It’s great that firms are feeding info to twitter, saves me having an rss reader app, but it really misses the point of twitter not just by a small margin but in a huge way.

The best tweeters in the legal world are, as the report mentions in passing, individual lawyers interested in twitter. Those tweeters tend to have their own voice and their own blog, and so are much freer to engage in debate, conversation and fun.

The reports’ dos and don’ts are bare bones advice. My advice would be:

Do Follow people who have the same interests as you
Don’t just post self promotional tweets (thanks to @charonqc)
Do say hi. Engage. Ask how people are.
Don’t be corporate. Boring as! Have you seen the partners at a function? They don’t just sit there not smiling and not talking do they?!
Do post the occasional link but only if it might create some interesting debate.
Do retweet interesting links and comments
Don’t sit on the fence and be “professional”. Have some balls. If you disagree say so, if you’re scared to comment because it might look bad then think of it the other way. People don’t want pansy lawyers too afraid to give their own considered opinion.
Don’t hashtag. There’s no need, twitter and google index the whole tweet, it just takes away from content. Hashtags are best used sarcastically.

I’m pretty new to Twitter but I’m certainly going to be embracing it and utilising it fully (in conjunction with other social media, and web media) in the future.

Your comments and yours dos and don’ts would be great!


5 thoughts on “Why #Law Firms #Fail on #Twitter

  1. Great post. There is a huge amount of “me too” carry on, with large firms obviously being advised they need to get on Twitter.

    For the most part, there is no benefit to large firms being on Twitter and they would be better off accepting that fact rather than creating one-way personas. Instead, those firms should encourage individual lawyers to join Twitter, but only those who are likely to engage and not those who find it alien or a chore.

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