Larry Bodine Law Marketing Blog

Blogger Tracy Coenen: Twitter is a Failure for Law Firm Marketing

Tracy Coenen, legal marketing, law firm marketing, twitter, lawmarketingIn a damning post entitled "Why I’m quitting Twitter (and you should too)," blogger Tracy Coenen, a forensic accountant and fraud examiner in Chicago, urged lawyers to bail out on Twitter as a legal marketing technique.

"Twitter sends almost no additional traffic to my site. No client or potential client has ever mentioned seeing me on Twitter. No reporter has ever mentioned Twitter to me. A few colleagues (read: competitors) have found me via Twitter, but what good is that, really? None of this has turned into new clients or additional business. None of the statistics that can be measured and tracked have been impacted in any way by Twitter," Coenen says.

After 2 1/2 years, 2,154 followers and 2,917 tweets, she says, "I have officially called it quits on Twitter."

"Professional services firms are using Twitter to get their message out. The problem is that no one is listening. Everyone is too busy pushing out their message via Twitter, and they’re spending very little time listening to what others have to say," she says.

Of course, there is anecdotal evidence of lawyers getting new business on Twitter. "I would argue, however, that those benefits were not worth the high cost of Twitter. Namely, the people I know who are “successful” with Twitter probably spend 1 to 3 hours per day using it," she says.

Very few lawyers are using Twitter. Andre Lurssen, Communications Director at,  estimates that only 17,000 lawyers use the 140-character-per-message system. 

What's your opinion? Is this the end of law firm marketing on Twitter?

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Tracy Coenen - May 23, 2011 8:05 AM

I don't think it's the end of lawyers on Twitter. However, it is the end of some lawyers blindly following their marketing person who says "you HAVE to be on Twitter." Hopefully they'll do some research before spending their precious time on Twitter.

Gustavo Rocha - May 23, 2011 8:57 AM

I think the twitter google ranking increase and may be useful to put news on the site automatically, and communicate with others.

May not reach the adult or older, is a tool more geared to young people, however, the youth of today are the adults of tomorrow. We may be writing history with twitter, facebook, social networks in general ...

Wade Coye - May 23, 2011 9:07 AM

My firm is having difficulty getting our publications or announcements heard on Twitter, but our team usually attributes it to the fact that we are relative newcomers. We've only been using Twitter for about a year, and we are trying to grow our followers organically. Maybe when we see little to no ROI when we're at over 2,000 followers, we'll call it quits too. For now though, we're satisfied with using it to keep an eye on current events.

Ian Brodie - May 23, 2011 12:02 PM

Same old nonsense.

"Because I haven't got it to work, it works for no one".

Generalisations. Useless generalisations.

Twitter is neither a panacaea for everyone, nor a waste of time for everyone.

My esitmation based on discussions with professional firms who are succeeding with it and those who aren't is that it's probably valuable for about 10-20% of lawyers right now (a very rough estimate).

That means it's a wast of time for 80-90% of lawyers.

Does that mean lawyers should avoid or walk away from twitter.

No. It means they should figure out if they're in the 10-20% or if they're in the 80-90% and make their decision accordingly.


Thomas - May 23, 2011 8:11 PM

I can understand why.. It lacks depth of analysis..

Ian Brodie - May 24, 2011 6:55 PM

Actually, Tracey sums it up well herself in her comment: lawyers should avoid blindly following their marketing person who says you MUST be on twitter.

And vice versa. Lawyers should avoid blindly following anyone who says they shouldn't be on twitter.

They need to analyse and test for their own specific situation.

(If they haven't got the time or knowledge to adequately analyse & test - probably best to stay off for now to avoid wasting time messing around).

Wade - a year seems like a long time to have less than 2K followers. Personally I'd be a bit more agressive. Follow people who you're interested in connecting with. @message and ask them a question, etc. You don't get extra business for having grown your following in a pure, organic way. (Obviously, I don't really know your situation, so it's just a thought to look at).


Paramjit L. Mahli - May 25, 2011 10:42 AM

Tracy Coenen brings up some good points. It all boils down to who your market is and then determining the best way to reach them.
A couple of posters alluded to the fact that all marketing works its just finding the right formula for your firm and that is where the magic/return on investment is.

TLyden - May 27, 2011 9:22 PM

I'm in association work and I have to say that if you are using Twitter as a broadcast medium- yes, it is a waste EXCEPT for some WOM and contacts that might pay off.

Where the "money" is is in using the right listening tools to identify where clients/sales lie and how to convert them.
If the goal is ONLY to get links/looks at site, then it is going to fail, but if you use it to find other sites that can increase your credibility- it's useful.

If you can have alerts sent about people who are talking on it about your service, then you can easily find ways to engage them.

I would only suggest it for people who want to find the right way to use it.

Elemental - May 28, 2011 11:57 PM

Saw a similar article by another law blogger a few months ago here: Dan's blog is widely read and he had thousands of twitter followers when he pulled the plug on it after determining it to be a waste of his time. I definitely agree with your advice not to go into it blindly.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller - May 30, 2011 7:52 PM

As a person whose company trains professionals and business owners how to effectively use social media to get in front of prospective clients or customers, I would like to add that it is not realistic to use one person's experience to evaluate whether the experience would be fruitful for your own efforts.

In effect you would be comparing apples with oranges, as the saying goes.

Many, many people -- even if they have lots of followers and have tweeted lots of tweets -- are using Twitter ineffectively. (I'm being polite.)

For example, these people often only "sell" their services rather than "share" information. Or these people only "push out" their own messages and do not engage in "conversations" on Twitter.

One of the problems with using Twitter effectively is that it appears so simple that people do not make the effort to really understand how to best use it.

I do hope that others won't be discouraged by this one's person's experience. I personally find Twitter an incredibly powerful resource. (Plus I have a disciplined strategy and do NOT spend 1-3 hours a day.)

For those of you just starting, you can get my company's free report for setting up a good Twitter profile. (One tip: Use a photo of a person and NOT a law firm logo.) The report is at

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