A little birdie told me . . .

Last month, Intendance, a U.K.-based digital agency that does website design, competitor research, and online marketing, released a report on the U.K. legal sector’s use of Twitter.

Using data collected in October 2010, the report concluded that even though almost two thirds of the top 50 law firms use Twitter, most don’t use it to their advantage.

“This suggests that many firms have simply jumped on the social media bandwagon without putting much thought into how to use Twitter to their advantage. Therefore, many firms are missing out on an opportunity to engage with a range of stakeholders,” says the report’s executive summary.

A number of the report’s conclusions apply just as much to Canadian law firms’ Twitter use. As an avid user of Twitter, I can offer anectodal rather than scientific evidence, but agree with the following three points.

• Many law firm accounts lack a personal touch and simply act as another distribution outlet for news and press releases;

• Corporate accounts tend to be quite bland because of privacy and disclosure issues; and

• Personal accounts tend to be more engaging, and therefore of greater value.

The report suggests firms that decide to use Twitter should keep the following in mind:

• Frequency of posts — in other words don’t come out with a bang and then just fade away. Keep the posts coming.

• Quality of tweets — spark debate, bring a human dimension to the firm, make posts insightful. Don’t just use them to blast out the same stuff that’s on your web site.

• Clarity of ownership — “A number of firms lack a clear, branded presence, which confuses potential followers and reflects badly on the firm.” Make it clear who’s posting and always provide some profile information. If you’ve got the OK from the firm to post as an individual, make sure you put the firm’s name in your profile (hint: a lot of Canadian lawyers don’t do this even though the URL link they have in their profile goes to the firm’s web site.)

And if the account is not active, delete it.

According to the Intendance report, Allen & Overy (@AllenOvery) leads the U.K. firms in tweeting quality.

Again, no scientific evidence here, but I will give a shout out to a couple of firms I think do a good job using this particular avenue of social media: Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP (@SGMLaw) and Boughton Law Corp. (@BoughtonLaw).

There are also a slew of individual lawyers who continually post provactive and/or informative posts that make them worth following. Many of them follow Canadian Lawyer (@CanLawMag) and Law Times (@LawTimes) on Twitter, so check out our followers and see for yourself.

We’d, of course, also like to hear from readers who you think are some of the best quality tweeters in the Canadian twitterverse. So comment away.

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