Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, Jul. 26, 2012
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Law Practice Management Tip

Use Twitter to learn about prospective clients, employers and contacts

Twitter is your soap box. Now make it your microscope. Use Twitter to learn about potential clients, employers and professional contacts. We'll discuss researching a potential client, but the advice below is equally applicable to prospective employers and networking contacts.  

Twitter is excellent for researching potential clients because information posted on Twitter is focused and timely. A potential client's tweets tell you exactly what is on his or her mind at this moment. Compare that to a Google search. Even the most carefully-crafted Google search may return irrelevant or dated information.

The first step of your Twitter research is to determine if the potential client uses Twitter. You can search for the potential client on Twitter's website, see our prior post on searching Twitter, or look for their Twitter username (their "handle" in Twitterspeak) on their website or LinkedIn profile. Once you find the user's handle you follow him or her. As he or she tweets, read the tweets and linked materials. You can also search Twitter for "mentions" (references to a user by others). You can save any useful searches and run them daily.

If you meet a potential client you can use Twitter to get to know them better. Ask him or her if they are active on Twitter and mention that you will follow them. Following your potential client is a great way to express interest and, if you interact with the potential client, stay top of mind. Also follow entities related to the potential client, such as their company or associations they are actively involved in, such as the Massachusetts Bar Association (@Massbar).  

You can expand your search beyond one potential client. If you are interested in serving a particular industry you can find and follow users in that industry to glean what's important to the industry. You can also follow people retweeted by the users you initially followed.

As you follow more users, Twitter suggests additional people for you to follow in the "Who to Follow" box found in the left column of your home page. If you are targeting your own industry, you can find users like yourself in the "Similar to Me" box on your profile page. Before you follow someone check their status. If his or her last tweet was long ago or he or she has very few followers, they may not be a good person to follow.

Subscribing to a "list" is another great way to find and follow groups of users. A list is a group of Twitter users selected ("curated" in Twitter parlance) for a common characteristic, such as interest in a particular topic. Viewing a list's timeline only shows Tweets from users on that list. A LOMAP blog post on creating and using lists can be found here. You can search for users and lists on Listorious, a curated, Twitter lists directory and people search engine. For tips on using Twitter to learn about a new area or specialty see this superb post by Rocket Matter's Tim Baran (@Tim_Baran).  

You want to know your potential clients, employers and professional contacts? Do it 140 characters at a time, via Twitter.

Thanks to Jean Terranova (@JeanTerranova) of the Law Office of Jean Terranova and Betsy Munnell (@BetsyMunnell) of Munnell Associates for their invaluable advice and suggestions.

Tip courtesy of Scott L. Malouf (@ScottMalouf), Law Office Management Assistance Program (@MassLOMAP).

Published July 26, 2012

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To learn more about the Law Practice Management Section, which is complimentary for all MBA members, contact LPM Section Chair Thomas J. Barbar or Vice Chair Stephen Seckler.
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