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To Tweet or Not to Tweet? Larger Lessons in Business from Twitter

Guest Blogger: Michael J. Lentz, Esquire

I’ll admit it – I used to be profoundly annoyed by, and more than a little bit uncomfortable with, the notion that Twitter could be a useful tool in the development of my commercial litigation practice. I envisioned Twitter as the latest unwelcome step in the drive-thru-ification of America, where fast and easy often replace, and are often deified at the expense of, thorough and thoughtful. I viewed Twitter as nothing more than one of many ways for the self-absorbed to tell the rest of the world about their lives – it seemed unnecessary at best, and shallow and self-aggrandizing at worst.

Last week, though, I attended an excellent webinar on the use of Twitter for client development, presented by Kevin O’Keefe, the founder of LexBlog (full disclosure: LexBlog hosts this blog). I’m not going to attempt to reiterate Kevin’s points here – you can follow his blog or follow him on Twitter. At the start of the webinar, I was largely Twitter illiterate – I didn’t know a hashtag from a hash brown. More to the point, I literally could not fathom that Twitter could be useful to me, so I didn’t see any reason to attempt to become literate.

An hour later, though, I had specific examples of ways in which Twitter might be useful to a busy litigator trying to develop a practice. Certainly, some of the suggestions were inapposite. Others were sensible in theory, but might be difficult for me to put in to practice, given a finite amount of time to devote to the effort. There were other suggestions, though, that made sense immediately, and that I knew I could put into place immediately. Receiving fairly simple, concrete examples of what Twitter can do for me made me change the way I thought about Twitter. I’m still not convinced that it’s the eighth wonder of the world, as some of its advocates seem to believe, and I’ll probably never use it as fully as Kevin and others like him do, but I am convinced that it has its place.

This epiphany reminded me of an important marketing lesson: when you’re marketing, whether verbally or in writing, and whether your audience is an enormous group or a single individual, make the presentation not merely about you, and your skills and talents, but about what you can do for your audience. Leave your audience with simple, concrete examples of how your business, product or service can help them.  No matter how good your business is at what it does, prospective customers and clients will not become actual clients and customers unless and until you can explain, simply and completely, how your business will benefit them.
Michael graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in 1998. After spending five years with large Baltimore firms and three years as a solo and small firm practitioner, Michael joined Wagonheim Law in 2006, where he continues to utilize his extensive experience in commercial, bankruptcy, and appellate litigation to work with companies throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

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