Why is an active Twitter presence -- by our Legal Professionals and Consumers brands, and by our writers -- so important to us? And why have we been focusing so much on getting our writers' names out there?
FindLaw's Social Media Specialist Stephen Chang notes that employees have their own network of followers, who may or may not follow the company's account. Tweets coming from personalities, rather than companies, may be more inviting. Plus, you'll have an army of staff members tweeting about on social media, advancing the brand, rather than one man or woman.
Keeping those benefits in mind, FindLaw gave us blog writers a choice: do you want a "Follow the Author" button on your blogs?
My first Twitter account was launched in 2009. It might still exist. I tried Twitter, but I just didn't get the point. I'm way too long-winded for 140 characters or less. (Just ask my editor.)
My @PeacockEsq account started as a half-hearted way to put all of my writing in one place, to help relatives follow my rants. I didn't retweet or #FF (Follow Friday) or #hashtag my updates; I'd just read and schedule tweets. There was no interaction and little effort.
When FindLaw added the magic Twitter button to my posts, I finally started, you know, talking on Twitter. The microblogging social network is actually social? Nifty.
It seems that when it comes to Twitter, like everything else in life, you get back what you put in.
FindLaw Blog Editor Tanya Roth's Twitter account has only been active for less than a year, but she's already surpassed the 150-follower threshold (without cheating!) and she definitely gets the award for tweet of the year:
Why does Roth love Twitter so much? "Twitter not only gets us the news we need fast (opinions come down, the LAX shooting) but finds us the personalities that make law and legal news more than worth following," she explained. "Also, being competitive lawyers by nature, we love to see who can get a tweet out first."
Roth isn't the only one on FindLaw's blog team who's (relatively) new to Twitter: Senior Writer Brett Snider (@BrettASnider) has also gone from zero to more than 120 followers in just a matter of months.
The Multiple Personalities
Stephanie Rahlfs, FindLaw's Manager of Digital Strategy and Social Media, obviously needs no lessons in social media. As the founder of a very popular fashion blog, she already had an active Twitter account. Nonetheless, she recently became overwhelmed by the dual realms of fashion and law.
Her solution? The same one we're recommending for all lawyers, law students, and professionals: create a separate Twitter account. For most of us, it means our road rage rants about freeway traffic stay clear of our professional commentary. For her, it keeps camisoles separate from case law.
In addition to the buttons, and building writers' brands, we've also curated lists of the top Supreme Court news sources on Twitter, and my personal favorite, the Nifty Fifty (law-related Twitter accounts) -- a purely subjective top-50 list, with only 30 spots filled so far. (Tweet us suggestions for either list.)
From this legal blogger's perspective, the most valuable thing we've gained is the ability to interact with our readers, for blog topic suggestions, criticisms, or discussion of current legal events. For consumers, we can direct them to useful resources, products, and services.
So if you've signed up for Twitter, consider following FindLaw's blog writers along with our corporate accounts. And don't forget to tweet at us too -- we'd love to hear what you think.