The whole question of legal tweeting is difficult. Should the partners be tweeting? What about the trainees? Should the firm itself tweeting? But the firm is a legal fiction - how can it tweet? And it goes on.
Worry no more: for Jon Bloor (@JonBloor) and Brian Inkster (@BrianInkster) have put all the uncertainty to bed.
Starting with Jon Bloor, he explained how a law firm should not tweet as a single corporate person but as a collection of individuals who make the whole. Adding that the law firm account should rest at the centre, and complimented and bolstered by the various staff accounts. Jon drew upon a wonderful metaphor in order to give expression to how the strategy should be implemented most effectively. Here's how he put it:
"I think it makes sense to see the firm's Twitter account as the giant battleship at the centre of a convoy. What is really needed is some more nimble destroyers, which are perhaps less powerful, but can dart around and engage the enemy where needed."He then gave an example of this metaphor being put into practice:
"There are firms who are using this type of approach. Inksters (the first Scottish firm on Twitter!) have a corporate Twitter account backed up by founding partner Brian Inkster's personal Twitter account which he uses for less formal Tweets (see Brian's full comment on my recent post).
This is a great approach and some much larger firms would do well to follow his example. My advice would be to identify two or three people in your organisation who are really interested in getting involved (not necessarily who are already on Twitter - it is the attitude which is key here any not the attitude) and encourage them to set up accounts. Make sure their bio makes it clear that they work at the firm, but let them know that provided they are professional they are not required to act as a mouthpiece for the firm or to act as salespeople. Get them an iPhone!"You can read what he had to say in full here.
Now onto Brian Inkster. He explored the concept of 'tweeting in convoy' a little further with an interview with Inside Knowledge entitled, 'Playing Battleships'. He explained 'convoying' very nicely. On asked "What advice would you give to other law firms looking to start tweeting?" he said [emphases are mine]:
"Just do it. But ensure that you have someone who is committed to doing the job properly. There is no point in setting up a Twitter account just because another firm has done, then rushing into it with no real idea or purpose of how you want to make it work.
If you have a policy whereby everyone in the firm must be on Twitter, there’s a danger that you’ll end up with lots of stagnant accounts, which sends out the wrong message. So, build it up gradually. Jon Bloor coined the term ‘tweeting in convoy’, which is how I see our firm using Twitter. The main law firm account is the ‘battleship’, but alongside that you need to some nifty ‘destroyers’ to engage people. These individual twitter accounts, your solicitors, make up the convoy. People start to realise that they are a part of the same firm, but it will only work if the battleship is functioning properly and tweeting regularly.
In some respects one very effective battleship is going to be better than 20 destroyers. Some firms use this concept; others work on an individual basis, where the firm account has one name attached to it. So, every firm needs to decide which approach will work best for them. When you’re setting up your strategy, the word ‘engage’ must be foremost in your mind. Twitter will only work if you’re willing and able to spend time engaging with others, through conversation.
The other thing to remember is that there is no benefit in having a Twitter account if your website isn’t up to scratch. There is no point in directing your followers to old, static or irrelevant content on the main website.
When all this is working, you’ll begin to see benefits – but it won’t happen overnight."Read his piece in full here.
After the above interview was published the firm put a news update on the website which gave a little more analysis and insight on 'tweeting in convoy'. This time actually breaking down and explaining the structural make-up of his Inkster's Twitter convoy. Here's it is:
The Aircraft Carriers
Read the post in full here.