Lawyer Finds Empirical Proof That Twitter Doesn't Produce Results

Mark herrmann, above the law, lawmarketing blog, twitter, blogsMark Herrmann is the lawyer who writes the "Inside Straight" column on Above the Law, a legal tabloid that covers colorful personalities and powerful institutions. His column is promoted with their Twitter account @atlblog, which has an impressive 12,656 followers.

But the tweets make no difference. "I’ve concluded that Twitter doesn’t work: People don’t read what the Twitterers recommend," he says. He is the Vice President and Chief Litigation Counsel at Aon Corporation.

He has written 50 columns and "As measured by my readership numbers, do more tweets yield more pageviews? And the answer: They do not," he says. Google Analytics and Twitter statistics on his author web page show that Twitter has virtually no impact.

His most widely-tweeted column on blogging for business development got a measley 41 tweets, and produced only 4,000 page views. There is a "Tweet this" button right on his column.

His most widely-read columns ordinarily get 12,000-14,000 page views. "Because those were my most widely-read posts, you might expect them also to have been my most widely-tweeted posts, which would suggest that Twitter drives readership. But they were not, and it does not."

He adds, "But, if you’re looking for a correlation between popularity on Twitter and readership on columns at Above the Law, you can’t find it here. “Followers” on Twitter do not seem to click through links very often to read original source materials. And that suggests that Twitter may not be a great tool for developing legal business. If I were still in private practice and trying to make a name for myself, I’d stick to blogging."

"You can’t exactly prove your expertise in 140 characters. You can’t prove that you can write with clarity or grace. And you can’t even summarize information on the web to which you’re linking. All you can really prove is that you follow a topic and aggregate an interesting collection of stuff; you recommend things that you believe are worth reading. If you’re aggregating the good stuff in a particular field, then your followers should be clicking through your links to read what you’ve recommended," he said.

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Comments (3) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Amy Campbell - April 28, 2011 6:07 PM

And yet, I clicked through to this article from your Twitter feed Larry! : )

Amy Campbell - April 28, 2011 6:20 PM

Plus, I believe (though I don't know for sure) that the URL shorteners used by Twitter and sharing tools, don't show up as "Twitter referrals"... here's a blog post I found that describes this in detail...

Ian Brodie - April 30, 2011 4:41 PM

Perhaps the article should really have been titled "Lawyer finds empirical proof that using twitter the way he does doesn't work for him".

Why doesn't he show the actual stats, is my question. How many unique visitors from twitter to the blog vs other traffic sources.

Personally, I get about 10,000 unique visitors a month. Of which about 10% are from twitter or things like hootsuite.

It's nowhere near as important to me as google - but 10% is not bad for a small amount of effort (and other KPIs like time on site and newsletter sign up rate are as good as google).

The final bit of the article about sticking to blogging if you want to make a name for youself makes no sense at all. No one anywhere is claiming twitter is a replacement for blogging. It's a decent addition to get traffic to your blog, and it can be a good way of informall chatting to clients/prospects in a way you can't with a blog.


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