Everyone knows that attorneys and law firms diving into social media as a marketing tool must at least have a presence on Twitter and Facebook, but which one is the better tool for attorneys? There are pros and cons to both social networks; however, as compared to Facebook, Twitter is the superior social network, at least for trial lawyers like myself.
In terms of visibility to potential clients, the numbers favor Twitter
For trial lawyers, everyone is a potential client. New clients can come from anywhere in the United States and Twitter is well suited to marketing to anyone and everyone in that market. From the mail room clerk to the CEO, from blue collar to white collar, anyone can be a victim of another’s negligence. Simply having a large “reach” and number of followers, assuming that both are within the United States, provides a large pool of potential clients for a trial lawyer. If you want to see what your tweet reach is, try the free analytics on tweetreach.com. There is also a paid Pro Report, but for pure reach and exposure (meaning how many people your tweets reach and how many users are exposed to your search term), the free service is more than adequate. The image on the right shows the results of searching the “reach” of @rsullivanlaw, my primary Twitter account.
Believe it or not, for attorneys, Twitter is far more personal
Social media is all about interaction and engagement. Most attorneys on Facebook have Facebook Pages set up for their law firm or blog. Their persoanl pages are often not specifically targeted toward legal marketing and are limited in reach and exposure to their Facebook friends. As a result, interaction with potential clients primarily takes place through the law firm Facebook Page. This is inherently less personal than interacting with the attorney directly and, let’s face it, most of the time it is downright boring. Using a personal Twitter account with an appropriate profile description to interact and engage allows potential clients to get to know the lawyer as opposed to the firm. Personally, I have been contacted several times by followers, or friends of followers on Twitter, regarding potential cases. I have yet to get any case leads through Facebook. I attribute this contrast, in large part, to the numbers alone. Although I have more than one thousand Facebook Friends, there is simply no free way that I am aware of to get exposure to more than eight million people on Facebook—at least not without a very serious time commitment.
Practicing attorneys, a segment of the business community that can rarely make a serious time commitment to social media, can more easily carve out time to engage on Twitter. The 140 character maximum for tweets is an automatic time-saver. Consider the way you interact on Twitter versus Facebook. Typically, Facebook interactions are much longer and much more time consuming than a 140 character tweet. If greater interaction is warranted, potential clients can easily be transitioned from Twitter to email or telephone communication for more detailed information.
In the final analysis, this conclusion may or may not apply to other specialties in the legal profession. But for trial lawyers, the exposure, time commitment, and ease of use favors Twitter as the primary social network for case generation.