You have a basic grasp of how Twitter works. You tweet at least occasionally, so you’re used to the 140 character limit and you know how to use hashtags effectively. You follow some other lawyers and share posts from legal blogs. Sometimes people respond and there’s a lively discussion, but sometimes you tweet and no one seems to see it.
That brings us to Twitter Chat. If you want to “meet” other lawyers or legal marketers online to discuss an interesting topic at a specific time, Twitter Chat is an easy way to do it. It’s pretty simple and almost like attending a live seminar or networking event from the comfort of your couch sans dress code.
All tweets that are part of the conversation contain a designated hashtag, such as #LawyerChat or #LegalMarketingChat so that they are visible to all participants. Typically, the host moderates and asks questions which prompt responses from the group.
The benefits are manifold.
- Hosting a Twitter Chat is an easy way to expand your circle and attract new lawyers and legal marketers who share an interest in your topic. Clients and prospects may also participate.
- People share all kinds of information, tips and tricks in online forums. You may learn things from unexpected sources that you can use effectively at your law firm.
- Hosting and participating in Twitter Chats is a great way to demonstrate thought leadership to the legal community. Prospects, competitors, journalists and other key groups may notice your efforts, enhancing your reputation and building relationships and community in the process.
There are a host of tools out there to help you identify and participate in Twitter Chats, including TweetChat, Tweet Reports and Twubs, and Twitterfall.
We recommend participating in several chats before starting your own in order to learn the ropes and see what works. You may want to make some adjustments for the legal community. Then you’ll need to designate a hashtag; something short and sweet that relates to the topic.
Scheduling is tricky because you have to accommodate your audience’s time zones and hectic work schedules. Promote the chat on Twitter in the days leading up to it and make sure the lawyers and legal marketers you want to include know about, making particular effort to include experts you may want on hand to answer tough questions. As for the content, you should prepare the questions in advance and have extras in mind in case the conversation takes an alternative direction.
Encourage everyone to introduce themselves at the beginning and do everything you can to be inclusive and engaging. Keep the dialogue moving by asking questions and facilitate connections. Chats typically last an hour and the hour tends to go by pretty quickly.
Over time, and with consistent effort, you can form a vibrant community of legal marketers and lawyers using Twitter Chats.
Updated and republished July 21, 2017.