When Twitter took flight in 2006, legal professionals were skeptical of its marketing power. What kind of promotion can come from a 140-character tweet? As it turns out, a lot. Twitter has become one of social media’s most powerful tools. This mighty bird can help law firms mass communicate with millions of potential clients on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis.

As an attorney, if you’re not on Twitter yet, you should be. Here are the top 5 reasons why you should be using Twitter, and some advice on proper Tweeting etiquette.

Stay On The Radar.

In this social media world, Twitter allows law firms to be found and promoted within the Twitterverse. Let’s say someone is looking for a medical malpractice lawyer in San Diego. If you have a Twitter account, and have your content geared toward your San Diego personal injury law firm, you’re very likely to be found. In this way, Twitter acts like an online yellow pages. Further, Twitter makes it easier for previous and present clients to promote you with their tweets, and send links directly to you.

Put a Face to Your Firm.

Law firms can use Twitter to post links to their website, blogs, press releases, news stories, etc., to personalize themselves and their firm. You can also post photos of your firm, your staff, trial photos (that are permissible), and other images that are important to you and represent who you are—work at nonprofit organizations, volunteer events, etc. In this way, Twitter allows potential clients to get to know a little bit about you before they contact you.

Build Credibility.

As an attorney, you can build credibility on Twitter by posting helpful and useful content in your tweets; i.e. links to legal articles, legal FAQ’s and latest tips and trends related to your practice area(s), retweets to latest legal news stories along with applicable legal advice, etc. Build yourself and your law firm as resourceful and knowledgeable. Even if readers don’t have a legal need, give them a reason to return to your Twitter page and keep up with you. This will increase your online visibility, and likely increase your site traffic, as well.

Build Your Network.

Twitter is a great way to broaden your network of legal professionals and leaders in not just your practice area, but the whole legal arena. As a marketing tool, Twitter can search your competing law firms and lend details on their Twitter followers, business development, and other social media strategies.

Stay On Top of Legal News.

Twitter is a great way to stay abreast of the latest legal news. By using Twitter hashtags, such as #medmalverdicts, you can receive targeted information that’s important to your law firm and your clients. By using Twitter lists, you can follow groups who are talking about legal news and trends you’re searching for.

Finally, there is a difference between tweeting and spamming. Post meaningful and interesting content that users are going to want to follow. Twitter is a social network, so don’t overwhelm your readers with continuous dry self-promotion or other spammy tactics. You’ll quickly find yourself alone in Twitterdome.

The more you use Twitter, the more you’ll discover how it can help grow your practice.

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