The Legal Chamber Newsletter • April 2011
5 Crucial Things About Twitter
I’m assuming we’re all on Twitter now either for business or personal reasons. But even as a self-proclaimed tech savant, I sometimes get lost in all of the %^&#?@/RT that’s going on.
So here’s my simple solution: 5 easy explanations for the most prevalent Twitter tricks and lingo.
- RT—Normally seen in a tweet: “RT @LegalMatch.” The RT is a manual way to re-tweet information. The advantage is that it allows you to add your own message or context. Don’t worry, your followers will still know who shared it.
- @Mention—These are great ways to connect with people who follow the person you’re referencing. Including @TwitterName first in your message is one way you can widen your audience. It will appear to everyone following them. However, if you include it later in the tweet (i.e. after any dialogue) it will only appear to your own followers.
- # —Hashtags are for easy searching on twitter. They make your tweets more visible. Anyone who searches for the #term will find your tweet. It’s dying out somewhat because #people #went #a #bit #too #over#board###.
- Trending—Terms “trending” on twitter explode and evaporate at mindboggling rates. The Japan Earthquake and notable outspoken celebrities would be two great examples of past trends. The news hits and everyone thinks they’re the first to cry wolf. Sometimes it’s been beneficial though.
- Shorten URLs—Don’t waste characters displaying a web address. It doesn’t help your SEO, and you just look foolish. Use any of these instead: bit.ly, goo.gl, tinyurl.com, tiny.cc, or tr.im. They're all free!
Tip 14: Learn to Manage Flakes
Every business has flakes, and the legal field is no exception. If you have a problem with clients that don’t show up for scheduled consultations, you need to do something, because every missed appointment costs you money.
Make it a policy to send out confirmation e-mails or place confirmation calls 2 days before all scheduled appointments. Let the client know that your time is very important, and that you’d also like to avoid wasting their time.
If they are serious about their legal matter, they will need to respond to the confirmation email or call within 24 hours of the appointment, or you will be forced to fill the slot with another appointment.
With this model, you eliminate time spent waiting for flaky clients, and make space for people who really do need your legal expertise. In a worst-case scenario, you’ll have a client who has forgotten to confirm come in anyway.
Is ‘Small Chat’ a Key to Success?
Clients and lawyers have a tendency to perceive one another as being on different social, economic, political, and intellectual levels. Often, it is the client’s idea of a particular “lawyer” stereotype that puts you up on a pedestal.
But this perception and the distance it creates (even if it is an imagined distance) can be a major turn off for your clients. Sure, lots of corporate lunches are filled with that type of banter, but real clients don’t want that.
The best thing my lawyer ever did to inspire my confidence in him was just chatting about common interests. In a way, I suppose it’s a first date kind of situation. Attempt to humanize yourself. Tell them about going to SXSW or how your daughter is doing in soccer.
The trick is putting your lawyer hat away for a few minutes, and making a genuine effort to put yourself on the same level as your client. Try interacting with them like a regular person, and you may find that communicating becomes easier and more natural for both of you.
Why do you think the corporate folks love to wine and dine?
The Tablet for You
This may be a play to my gadgetry but, in my professional opinion, the tablet is the way of the future. Plus, they’re cool as hell! There’s a tablet for every price range and need, so what are you waiting for? Treat yourself with some of that tax refund money and spring for one of these beauties. Impressive performance leads to impressed clients.
Best Tablet for Mobile Lawyers: RIM’s Blackberry PlayBook is the most amazing 4G tablet you can buy. Its got Wifi, multimedia playback, 7” LCD (1024x600), weighs less than a pound, and has Blackberry productivity/performance (dual core processor, 1 GB RAM, Symmetric multi-processing). And yes, there are loads of apps from the Blackberry community awaiting.
Hands Down Coolest: Samsung Galaxy Tab (running Android 3.0 Honeycomb) on a 10.1” screen. It’s featherweight, fast, widely customizable (an advantage over Apple), and an amazing entertainment machine. A serious contender and getting rave reviews by Android lovers. One word: versatile.
Best All Around: Apple iPad Wifi (no cell service) is the best all around value for these 3 reasons: 1) Apple takes care of their products and customers face to face, 2) you save big on skipping cell service (your home/office/every Starbucks offers Wifi), and 3) there’s an app for everything and you won’t need an iPod anymore.