Social Media Marketing: Microblogging for Lawyers

For some people, writing a long form blog post is the way to go, but for others, microblogging is a better fit.

So what is microblogging anyway?

With enforced limits on how much or what you can post, microblogging distills your ideas to a concise, easy to find tidbit. It lets you interface with potential clients in short bursts. On some platforms, this can become a great conversation starter. You can also join other conversations by following a few simple tricks.

There are several different platforms for microblogging and many social networking sites include a microblogging aspect. Among the most popular are twitter.com, tumblr, FriendFeed, Plurk, and meemi. Twitter and tumblr make up the greatest percentage of microblogging, so we’ll focus on those two.

Twitter

Twitter is a platform that allows you to post text-based messages of up to 140 characters. Messages on Twitter are known as tweets and the verb for using twitter is “to tweet.” You can follow the tweets of experts in your field and gain followers for your business. The more people you follow and who follow you, the more diverse and rich the conversation becomes.

When using twitter, you should create a memorable and recognizable “handle.” It will be displayed as @yournamehere. Remember that your user name shows up in every tweet you make and is part of the 140 character limit, so you want to keep it concise.

Twitter also allows for add-on programs that will let you post pictures or integrate with other social networking, like your blog or facebook page. Posting in one place will automatically post to another. There are also sites that will shorten other websites’ URLs to maximize your character limit. These kinds of sites include goo.gl, bitly.com, and tinyurl.com.

Tumblr

Tumblr is a site that lets you post short form blogs without the stringent character limit of Twitter. Content can range from text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos. Tumblr has some overlap with traditional blogging, but is generally intended for shorter themes, ideas, and concepts. The HTML for a tumblr site is completely editable. This means that you can control the colors, backgrounds, fonts, and other aspects of your tumblr feed.

Tumblr offers a unique feature called reblogging. This allows you to find relevant posts from others and repost them to your own feed. Your posts will still maintain your status as original author, but people you don’t know might see your post after it is reblogged.

While comments and responses are not a built-in part of the Tumblr platform, you can add programs like Disqus to create traditional blogging comment boxes for greater interaction.

Hashtags

The most useable feature of both services is the hashtag. A hashtag is a word or short phrase prefixed with a #. Hashtags are highly searchable. You can create your own hashtag, or add to a conversation by using someone else’s. Here’s some hashtag tricks:

  • Keep it short. Ex. #lawyer #law #legal #bankruptcy #DOJ #divorce
  • No spaces in phrases. Ex. #askalawyer #personalinjury #lawsuit
  • Make it memorable.
  • Search for trends. (Both platforms will let you search for hashtags.)
  • Avoid hashtag pollution. Only use one or two hashtags in a tweet or post.

Easy to Use

Both Twitter and Tumblr have well-established mobile apps. The nature of microblogging makes it as easy to use on a mobile phone as sending a text. This means that you can share something with your Twitter or Tumblr followers as you think of it, or if something new comes up unexpectedly.

Microblogging can be a really easy, fun, and interactive way to find clients and join conversations. For the busy lawyer, on the go, it can be a really good option for marketing and meeting new people.

For information about other Social Media Marketing methods, check out the other posts in our series:

Or contact us directly for an in depth assessment of your options. If you are managing the social media for a law firm, be advised that there are special standards which apply to law firm behavior online, and even genuine, helpful comments on microblogging sites have been ruled as solicitation by some states.