Monthly Archives: February 2011

Business Tweeting

I’ve just begun to use a second Twitter account,  @shireensmith, in addition to the one I run for @azrights So I’ve been looking into how company and law firm Twitter accounts are run to decide how to handle the @azrights account moving forward.

Should I adopt the common approach of using a logo rather than my picture, and depersonalise the account, so it’s not evident I am the “face” behind the @azrights tweets?

Purpose of Tweeting

As with anything it helps to be clear on goals, before reaching decisions.

When I first started using Twitter 2 years ago, I decided to use just the one account @azrights because I was just experimenting, and thought it unlikely I would find time to tweet through more than one twitter account.I certainly didn’t have a publishing need to justify two accounts.That’s now all changed.

I have begun writing some blogs on law firm marketing and business – explained more in the Introducing Myself section.As this type of content is not appropriate to the Azrights IP-Brands blog audience, who is more interested in information about starting up in business, or IPRs, it makes sense to find a different forum for publishing my law business writings.

Although, I write for the Solo IP blog some of the material I’m currently interested to write about, such as legal process outsourcing, is not of interest to that audience.

So, it makes sense to publish my musings on marketing and the business of law on this, my personal website, and to tweet about those issues in my own name, rather than via @azrights.

How to run the Azrights Twitter account

Looking at businesses I know and respect I notice that business accounts tend not to indicate who is tweeting for the business.They commonly feature a logo instead of a picture of an individual, and predominantly broadcast by posting links to blog posts.

Social media is still relatively new.  We are all experimenting to some extent, and discovering what works and what doesn’t work.  There may be no right or wrong way to deal with these matters, although it is generally agreed that broadcasting is not the way to go – see for example, Adrian Dayton’s recent post Twitter: Still Misunderstood by Law Firms.

I instinctively prefer the @zappos approach to running a business account.The name of the CEO – Tony – appears on the profile, giving the business more of a personality.

Given that people buy people, I think it makes sense to have the owner of the business, or its CEO (if the business is a large one), at the heart of the business’ tweeting.This makes for a more colourful Twitter presence, which is surely more likely to result in greater engagement with the business, than if the business has a bland and anonymous corporate Twitter account.

Nearly two years have passed since I wroteThe Impact of the Social Web saying “Today as more and more customers are turning to the Internet when they want to find out about products and services, new methods are emerging for engaging them.  Blogs, online news releases, social media, and other forms of web content give companies the opportunity to communicate with buyers directly – at the time when the buyer wants the content, rather than interrupting them when they are doing something else…..”

So, I’ve decided to adopt a different approach to the norm with our Azrights account

It’s all about engagement

One of our aims in engaging in social media, and in particular, using Twitter, is to engage in dialogue with existing and potential clients.  Therefore, it makes sense for us to to avoid having an impersonal, corporate Twitter presence.

Why have a bland, boring, business account, and leave the real online networking to individual lawyers and staff, when we can engage directly with potential clients through our own business account?

In other words I intend to keep a picture of myself, rather than using a logo as the avatar to promote the brand.Featuring our own logo isn’t as important as having an approachable real human face to the business.  I realise this means only a minority of followers will see our logo, given that few visit the Twitter page, where the logo appears, as they use other tools, such as Tweet deck or Hoot Suite, to access twitter, but so what?They’ll see the firm’s branding if they visit the website, or blog, or request price information etc.

What do you think?Should businesses and law firms bring their founders and managing partners more directly into their firm’s twitter profiles?Should they use the firm account more prominently to actively engage with the community? If so, do you have thoughts as to how? Let me know your thoughts.