Making Twitter Work for You

Making Twitter Work for You

You are following a dozen attorneys in your legal specialty who use Twitter extensively, and some others outside of your field who are boring you to death. You are following a couple of publications in your field, two bar association resources, and of course most importantly, the Lexis Hub. You even decided to add some celebrities to your following list: President Obama, Britney Spears, Dave Matthews, Lance Armstrong, Shaq, and that actress from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And then at my recommendation, you added Guy Kawasaki, who has 66,000 followers and seems to post 50 Tweets a day.
 
You have been on Twitter for only two weeks, and you feel overwhelmed. You feel snowed in, and you don’t even practice in Buffalo or Cleveland or Chicago. This seems to have little to do with networking and launching your legal career, and you are ready to deactivate your account and start going to bar association luncheons again. Before you do that, stop and take stock of what you can do to improve your Twitter experience.
 
First, pay attention to what is being posted by some of the best Twitter members. Identify five or six Twitter users that are successful and follow them closely. Three of my favorites are Guy Kawasaki, David Barrett, and Darren Rowse at problogger. Include Twitter members from your legal specialty who are active. For example, attorneys in the emerging field of Green Buildings might want to watch Chris Cheatham, while attorneys interested in the field of food safety should follow Bill Marler at bmarler.
 
Next, become part of the conversation. Twitter is about conversation, not just promoting yourself. While you can use Twitter to promote yourself, do it sparingly. A constant stream of self-promotion or promotion of your firm, your blog, your next speech, etc. will lose those few followers that you have. At bar association functions, lawyers gravitate away from the self-promoters who never shut up, and it works the same way on Twitter. If you want to get someone’s attention, listen to what they say and respond to it. Reading the Tweets of someone that you want to impress, and then replying to their Tweets or sending them on as Re-Tweets, is a very effective way to build your reputation.
 
Finally, try some Twitter Applications. Several of the more popular can be found at the Twitter Apps page, and many others will be found in Tweets that are posted by the members you follow. One popular download is TweetDeck. This free application permits you to divide your incoming Tweets into topic or group columns so that the Tweets are more manageable. TweetDeck can be resized to fit any portion of your desktop and permits you utilize Twitter without opening a browser. If you are a Mac user, you may want to consider purchasing Twitterrific to assist in organizing your Twitter account.
 
If you are a Microsoft Outlook user and have it open all day, you can use OutTwit to help organize your Twitter account. Obviously the goal is not to fill your Inbox with hundreds of Tweets, but OutTwit allows you to create folders in Outlook for Tweets by certain members or containing specific keywords. Finally, you can find out who has stopped following you by using Qwitter, and you can check how you are doing in the Twitter world at Retweetrank and Twitter Grader.
 
Oh, by the way. Go back to the bar association luncheons. Twitter cannot replace those.