Moving On Up – Moving Past Your First Tweet on Twitter

Moving On Up – Moving Past Your First Tweet on Twitter

You may have once asked yourself – “What if I gave a party and no one showed up?” You have now posted your first Tweet on Twitter, and there its sits, doing nothing. And you are asking yourself – “What if I keep Tweeting and no one ever follows me so that they can read my spellbinding prose?” It can be lonely in cyberspace when no one knows you are there. So you need to dispose of the inflatable arm bands and the swim ring. It’s time to dive into the Twitter pool and start learning to swim.
 
One of the first decisions that you must make is what name to use for your username. Many members do not use their real names, especially if they are posting provocative comments. But you are using Twitter to network. Would you go to a bar association function and wear a name badge that identified you as Elvis Presley? Probably not, so generally it will be more effective if your username is composed of your real name.
 
Also give careful consideration to what you say about yourself in the Bio line of your Profile. You can create a short Bio of up to 160 characters. So again, unless you are posting items that will embarrass you at the office, provide worthwhile information in your Bio that will encourage other members to follow you.
 
The key to using Twitter as a networking tool is to find attorneys and other professionals that you want to network with, and then convince them to follow you on Twitter. If you went to a party and stood in the corner with a magazine in front of your face, you would fail at networking. The same goes with Twitter. You need to find folks, approach them, and then engage them in conversation.
 
JD Supra has a list of 596 attorneys in the Twitosphere at http://scoop.jdsupra.com/2008/09/articles/law-firm-marketing/145-lawyers-and-legal-professionals-to-follow-on-twitter/, and there are many, including this author, who are not on that list yet. Look at that list, and also use the search feature at the bottom of your Twitter page to search for attorneys who have interests in common with you. Check out some Tweets of these members, and if you find them worthwhile, click the “Follow” button directly below their picture. Then look at who they follow and who follows them, and add more members that you want to network with. Often, once you start to follow a member, they will find you interesting and return the favor by following you.
 
Many professional publications and bar associations now post on Twitter, so you can follow the same process and use the publications and associations to broaden your network. Search for the name of publications and professional associations in your field, and then select members who are following those publications and associations.
 
Of course, you are more likely to attract followers if you have something worthwhile to say. Your goal is to network with other professionals and potential clients, so keep your Tweets on a professional basis. If your alma mater just beat UConn or Duke, then feel free to brag a little with a single Tweet, but don’t fill up Twitter with Tweets about how your cat and dog perform for treats. In addition, you want to promote yourself as an expert in your field, so most of your posts should relate to your specialty. Don’t post on all topics of Labor Law, but focus your posts on two or three subtopics.
 
The best Tweets are those that include links to articles, web pages, etc. Links can be a problem, though, because you have a limit of 140 characters to work with. The solution is to create a short link. There are several free services that you can use. I use TinyURL at http://tinyurl.com. You copy your original long link into the “Make TinyURL” box, and you will be rewarded with a new URL of 30 characters or less. You then copy and paste the short link, and your Tweet will be created with an active link to the original article or web page. 
 
Members may find you by using the search function, so think about search terms when you post a Tweet. Try to include your specialty in your Tweet, such as Securities Law, if you have room, and include specific legal terms, such as LEED or CERCLA or Takings Clause, whenever possible. Such terms increase the potential that you will be located in searches by other members.
 
If you find a worthwhile Tweet and that member is not followed by most of your Followers, then Re-Tweet the Tweet on your page. You Re-Tweet by giving the original author credit while posting their Tweet. Start your Tweet with “RT@username (of the original poster):” and then copy their Tweet into your post.
 
You can communicate directly with another member by using the Direct Messages button on the right-side menu on your page. This link creates a private Tweet that will only be seen by the recipient. If you Re-Tweet a post of a member or mention a member in your post, send them a Direct Message and let them know.
 
Next week, I will discuss some advanced techniques and applications, such as Twitteriffic, TweetDeck, and PocketTweets, and where to locate the best members to follow. In the meantime, if you have questions, you should always start with the Getting Started page at http://twitter.zendesk.com/forums/10711/entries, as well as the general Help page at http://help.twitter.com/portal.