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During 2013 we reviewed and critiqued hundreds of Twitter accounts run by US and UK law firms, awarding them the coveted title – Tweeter of the Week. But what makes a top legal tweeter we hear you ask?

Well, we thought at the start of 2014 we’d give you a quick lowdown of how we reviewed, rated and awarded these top legal tweeters of 2013 – and the lessons we can all learn about how to improve interaction, engagement and follower numbers on our Twitter accounts.

And before we get started, here are the Top 20 Legal Tweeters:

 1.    Interaction, engagement and frequency of tweets

Interaction and engagement is the absolute heartbeat of Twitter’s purpose and functionality, there is no particular ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ way to interact and engage with account followers, more law firms are now positioning themselves as dynamic, innovative, cutting edge and transparent and are doing so through the aid of social media especially Twitter.

When creating a legal Twitter account, before you even broadcast your first tweet, ask yourself, who you want to connect with and why. Make sure you know your marketing goals, key messages, target markets and your ambitions in the realms of social positioning.  This is all instrumental to your Twitter success.

The Twitter accounts in our top 20 all engaged with their followers, sometimes by giving advice, linking to blog posts, sharing industry news, or simply showing what everyone in the firm was up to day-today – giving a personal touch to the account.

Be seen and be social by boosting your frequency of tweets to at least twice per day and re-tweet interesting, relevant news – the power of the re-tweet will blow you away once you realise its full social, networking and lead building potential. Those that didn’t make the top 20 likely had gaps in their tweeting; perhaps tweeting lots one day then letting the timeline go silent for several days – a social no-no.

Finally the hashtag is never to be overlooked, choose your hashtags as carefully as you choose your business clients, have a quick social search before using your preferred hashtag to ensure it’s used in an appropriate, non-offending way. Caution is the word on social until you find your feet and learn the ropes.

 2.    The biography

This is your chance to shine in less than 10 seconds, start by carefully crafting a biography that will tell followers and visitors who you are, where you are, what you do and how they can contact you.  How you choose to tell this is entirely up to you.  Media lawyers tend to afford a more creative approach, with thought provoking quotes and a simple call to action, whereas more traditional law firms list services and locations.  Anything goes, as long as it is true, original and reflects your brand and key message.

The hashtag is an important tool in this section, here at Elephant Creative we change our bio hastags to coincide with our Twitter content, for example our weekly articles #LegalTOTW and #EducationTOTW sit centre stage for visitors to link straight into the conversation.  Again, this is all carefully considered, planned and executed in line with our content strategy.

3.    Aesthetics, quality and consistency of Twitter page

First impressions count and image is everything on social media, it is a vain platform that has no room for shabby, rushed, unfinished profiles – all out Top 20 tweeters had grasped this, some with some stunning backgrounds and images.  We’ll let you in one of our Twitter dislikes…we refuse to follow any account that lacks a profile picture, the egg head symbolises a rushed, lazy, unprofessional account.   So, remember invest time and perhaps a little marketing budget to ensure your Twitter page reflects your brand.

The most reputable Twitter pages reflect the company website, the images used whether abstract or pictorial should represent the  company image seamlessly, again this goes back to your original marketing plan, the brilliant thing about Twitter is its flexibility and edibility, and in a fast moving sector this is a must.

4.    Content and multi-media

This was a big one for 2013 – and one that our Top 20 had started to grasp. Great legal accounts have a regular stream of content and a great content strategy.  They use analytics and social media reporting to see what tweets, posts, images, videos and captions are successful, this is measured through conversation, re-tweets and website CTA (call to action) click rates.

Video is crucial to any social marketing strategy for 2014, not forgetting mobile functionality.  Social is growing at a rapid rate and so is client expectation and demands.  Get ahead by investing in creative marketing staff or outsource to a reputable marketing agency.

Either way you need to get social to get ahead.  Images and video have never been so important in a fast paced social landscape, you literally have seconds to make an impression, a carefully crafted social media/PR marketing campaign with branded video and image to boot will earn you the social stars to make you standout.

You don’t have to be Steven Spielberg either to make a debut video, smartphones and tablets have opened up doors of opportunity and endless possibility in the world of creative media and advertising.

 5.    The overall Twitter experience

All in all the Twitter experience needs to be engaging, informative, entertaining, thought provoking and most of all a conversation starter – why not check out some of the Twitter accounts on our Top 20 lists and see what they are doing for inspiration? Or better still Tweet them, engage with them, and have a chat!  ‘The Herd’ are looking forward to a great year ahead and profiling the crème de la crème of Top Legal Tweeters during 2014.

Join the #LegalTOTW conversation with us @ElephantCreate now and get social!