I attended Legal Tech West in Los Angeles this week and tweeted for the first time during a CLE session.
Shortly after I did, I got a direct message from Kevin O’Keefe of LexBlog, Inc. He was attending the same session as me and suggested we meet. It was a great opportunity for me to get a perspective on social media from someone who has pioneered its use in the legal community.
Later, as I was walking into another session I saw a face that looked vaguely familiar. I realized it was Scott Preston, CIO of Fulbright & Jaworski. I recognized him from his Twitter photo. Because we “follow” each other and frequently retweet each other’s comments, it made it easy to walk up and introduce myself.
When I created my Twitter account a year ago, I didn’t “get it.” Everyone was talking about it, but I didn’t really see its impact in the world of law firm business development. I wasn’t convinced it would be applicable to lawyers who are still grappling with the basics of lead generation and branding.
A year later, I see Twitter as one of the most valuable business development tools available to me and to every lawyer out there.
There is no magic to it. Twitter is about good old fashioned networking.
Any good lawyer knows the secret to business development is relationships. Lawyers build relationships in a variety of ways. They participate in bar events. They join industry organizations. They attend trade shows and conferences. Their goal is to meet people they like and to build relationships that will turn into referral sources or new clients. The good ones choose their networking options strategically. They identify who they want to meet and find out where they hang out.
Twitter is no different.
You find people to follow on Twitter with whom you share interests. I follow people who do similar things in business that I do. I follow my clients. I follow people I would like to have for clients. I follow people who talk about things I am interested in outside of work — be it politics, or sports or other special interests.
In exchange I try to share things that I think my followers might find interesting. I retweet things they say to help them get their message out to a larger audience.
Some of these conversations turn into direct messages. Some turn into coffee or lunch.
Twitter has helped me expand my professional network. It has helped me understand my clients better. It has helped me stay abreast of industry trends. And it has even led to new friends who I count on as referral sources.
Aha… I finally get it.