Friday, 30 November 2012

A letter to Inksters: just because it’s winter it doesn’t mean that you can put your Twitter into hibernation


How often should law firms Tweet? This is my response to Brian Inkster and his earlier correspondence on the matter available here.

Inksters Solicitors had always impressed me. They were a vibrant, forward looking and an ever-classy Tweeting law firm. They did what others often didn’t do on Twitter: they were fun, open, interactive and engaging. And they told you all about it on their Twitter bio: a forward thinking law firm, the first Scottish firm on Twitter and an award winning team. The total package it seemed to me.

But then things fell silent on the Inksters Twitter front. It started off as a day of no Tweeting, then a week of silence and then two weeks passed with no fresh content. Commentators say that good legal Tweeters can build up a loyalty, trust and a sense of network with their follower community and Inksters had certainly done that with me.

So I missed their presence on my feed and was genuinely disappointed by their lack of Tweeting. I have always been of the Twitter school of thought that Tweeters, legal or not, should Tweet at least once a day just even to say hi. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t Tweet for a day or two, but when you don’t Tweet for a week or more you’re projecting an image of laziness.

And it’s not just me saying this. Writing here the Law Society Gazette cited a report by web consultancy Intendance that said that long periods of Tweeting silence could damage a law firm’s brand:

‘By neglecting potential followers, those with dormant accounts could even be damaging their brand… not only is this a wasted opportunity to connect with a range of stakeholders, it suggests laziness, lack of strategy and lack of initiative. In many cases it would be better not to have a Twitter account rather than have one that is dormant.’

This is obviously open to personal interpretation but in my opinion once you’ve passed the 7-10 day mark you’ve entered into “dormant” territory. Unfortunately Inksters went a full 16 days without Tweeting and I think I could well be right to say that they only started Tweeting again because I took Brian up on it - a rude wakeup call from a deep Twitter slumber.

But don’t just take my word or that of Intendance for it. There’s countless blogs out there in the blogosphere that have said that individuals and businesses should be Tweeting around 4 to 5 times a day. I want to present a small selection of examples which advocate daily Tweeting. The Buffer App blog here said that businesses should try and Tweet every 3 hours if resources permit.

Writing here Wallblog says that businesses should Tweet client-relevant content throughout the day. Another blog writing here says that most businesses do not Tweet enough and encourages businesses to find a good balance of Tweets and retweets but for a business roughly no more than 10 times a day.

I agree entirely with the concept of balanced Tweeting, nothing is worse than an endless stream of boring news. But at the same time nothing is worse than a prolonged period of Twitter silence as it just looks lazy and uncommitted. A study available on a blog here found that to achieve the right balance you should hit the “Sweet spot” of 4-5 Tweets a day

The same blog writing here said that businesses should Tweet a lot about interesting things relevant to the brand. Using the examply of @WholeFoods the blog said that the food company should Tweet a well balanced stream of food related news and views, diet tips and recipes.

So you make your judgement.

But I believe that Inksters issue is a little different. They like any business Tweeter have taken on a certain duty to their followers to Tweet a healthy amount. People don’t just follow someone for no reason. They expect to be informed and informationally enriched. But Inksters had gone further than this normal Twitter duty.

Because of their industry standing I feel that they have taken on a further duty: a duty to the legal industry. A responsibility to show Twitter best practice to other law firms. We all know that lawyers struggle to no end with Twitter. And so it came to me that it had, through their self-promotion, become incumbent upon Inskters to be a beacon of how to do it. So that requires strong, consistent Tweeting. Not Tweeting here and there when you fancy it.

To me they had undoubtedly been for some time a steward of the industry showing others how to do it. However the 16 day episode of non-Tweeting was ostensibly a dereliction of that Twitter client and industry duty. They may contest this argument but so long as they rave about being forward looking, the first ever Scottish legal Tweeter and award winning I think they have taken on a certain mantle which they must uphold.

Finally, Brian had stated that his reason for not Tweeting from @Inksters was that he was too busy. The irony however was that his personal account throughout the 16 day period was ripe with fresh and colourful Tweets. So I don’t feel that excuses washes. 

1 comment:

  1. Brian

    I still see things a little differently. See: Why Lawyers can take breaks from Twitter: http://thetimeblawg.com/2012/12/01/why-lawyers-can-take-breaks-from-twitter/

    But I have enjoyed the debate.

    Regards

    Brian

    ReplyDelete

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