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Legal Twittergate spat shows value of social media goals – & danger to PRs

An agency carried out a survey of the activity on Twitter by the top 50 legal brands, published a report on it and did some PR around it, calling A&O the best Tweagles out there (oh come on, that’s a Twitter word mashup too far surely?). But it’s caused, as they say in Scotland, a bit of a social media stushie. It’s already been given the ‘gate’ suffix (and that’s when you know you’ve arrived).

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As Heather Townsend reports over at The Efficiency Coach, the spat has happened because of the metrics used. The agency – Intendance – used Twitter Grader, which is fairly well known, though has been overtaken by the likes of Klout.

Now it put one of their clients at the top, so they did a press release which was picked up by the likes of The Lawyer magazine, but there’s been a row over the measurement used with others pointing out that they shouldn’t have been looking at just the big firms, but the smaller operators as there’s where most of the Twitter action is with the likes of @london_law_firm, @pensionlawyerUK and @brianinkster, (this article has more lawyers on Twitter) being the more active.

And there’s the PR danger here of course is that if a journalist sees in the comments section that people are questioning the article then it may make them think twice about using releases or info from that contact.

One other thing that has come out of it is, as Heather states in a follow-up article, A&O may be top dog but it’s broadcast only – which is not an engaging use of social media but one that is common amongst big firms and organisations, so she feels it’s not the best at using social media, regardless of their score.

But even Klout is technically irrelevant because anyone – legal or otherwise – should have their own benchmarks and goals for social media usage. That should be the only metric that matters. Define your goals at the start and have everything aim towards them. That way, you know if your social media activity is successful or not. You may only have 10 followers on Twitter but if they are the right 10 followers then that beats 100,000 random followers.

How can lawyers use social media though? Quite simple – like social media for banks, it’s about having your best people on there, engaging (not broadcasting) in their field of expertise, offering advice and opinion on relevant matters. You’re giving to get. If I see online that someone knows their legal onions, you can bet I’m going to hire them (do any legal firms take payment by Paypal yet?)

Of course, we’ll know the tweagles have really taken to social media when we see their services appear as a Groupon discount offering!

  1. Jason Wassell

    Hurray for DLA Piper who came second !


    Best wishes, Jason Wassell of DLA Piper

  2. Good article Craig – but it is definitely worth looking at the whole of the report and realise that the spat was more than just the metrics used… some of their conclusions from the data were flawed…

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