Craig talks with Natalie Alesi of Legalers Welcome about why you should be on Twitter and how to best use it.
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Natalie on Twitter: @legalerswelcome
LinkedIn Profile: www.linkedin.com/in/nataliealesi
Legal Chat on Twitter: #LegalChat
Craig: This is Legal Leaders Podcast Episode 11 with Craig
Huggart. Natalie Alesi on “Don’t be a Twit, be a Tweeter”. Welcome to Legal Leaders Podcast, the show
by and for Legal Administrators, IT Directors and other law firm leaders. Today’s leaders on today’s topics.
Craig: Hello, and welcome to Legal Leaders
Podcast. Today’s guest is Natalie
Alesi. Among other things, Natalie is
the author of the LegalersWelcome Blog.
Years ago I found her blog and was impressed not only with the design
but with the content that she produced; so I’ve been following her for a
while. She is a frequent speaker at
ILTA. And I’m excited to hear what she
has to share with us today because I am a recovering twit myself. So Natalie,
how are you doing?
Natalie: I’m very well Craig. Thank you so much for
having me today.
Craig: You’re certainly
welcome. I really am very interested in
the topic because I’ve probably committed some of the unpardonable sins with
Natalie: Well, we did
this exact title as a webinar awhile back for ILTA. I did it with one of my colleagues, Michelle
Spencer, and she put that together with me.
It’s grown since then and I’m happy to be doing it again with you today.
Craig: Well, great.
We’re going to jump right into the topic here in a little bit, but I did
want to mention that everybody should hold on to the end because after the
topic, we do have Law Firm Laughs and today’s Tech Tip. So why don’t you tell us a little more about
yourself and the work you do?
Natalie: Okay. I guess the short and sweet of it is
I’m a legal technologist. I also work
with the Cloud Technology. I have pretty
much focused on the legal community, my entire career Craig. Although I was lucky enough over the last two
years, to branch out of legal on some projects.
I sort of went out on
my own as legalerswelcome and got to work for the corporate side and work with
Google and clients and corporations that were going Google. Over the last several years I’ve had some
experience with that. Which has been very,
very interesting from the law side and seeing how the rest of the world
Really just have always
focused on legal technology, training, project management, change management
and more recently over the last several years; social business and social
media. I really just have a passion for
educating those in the legal profession on legal technology.
Craig: Well I certainly
share that passion and my story is a little bit the opposite. I spent years in the corporate world and it’s
been about the last dozen years that I’ve been in the legal world, but I can’t
seem to get away from the legal world here recently.
Natalie: Yeah, I feel like once you get roped in, it’s
a very unique culture, but have formed very many good relationships over the
years with those in legal. And have to say that’s where my heart is at, heart
Craig: Well, I really enjoyed it. I think one of the beautiful things about the
legal world is that it’s so consistent and when you can solve problems for one
law firm, you can probably do it for another law firm because the environment
is a lot the same.
Natalie: Yeah, I think it’s interesting as I’ve
consulted for law firms over the last several years, it’s been funny. They all think that they’re different. And while I will admit a lot of times the
culture is different; the problems and the issues that they face are the
same. A lot of the answers and the work
around and things and processes that they want to implement are the same. It’s
not too far off. I would agree with you.
Craig: Yeah. They do all think they are completely
different but it many ways they are a lot the same. So tell us more about the topic today about
better use of Twitter?
Natalie: Yeah. This is a topic that I’m pretty
passionate about. I’ve been on Twitter,
I think since 2009. Just have really
enjoyed Twitter and it’s grown over the last several years. My followers and educating the legal
community on the use of Twitter. A lot
of what I hear out there is, “my clients are not on Twitter”, “I don’t know
what I would say”, “I don’t have anything to say”. A lot of times attorneys and those in the
legal profession don’t always see the benefit of Twitter. They think it’s about what people ate for
You do find that out
there. And you do find that people are sharing sometimes irrelevant
information. But the beauty of Twitter is that it’s really the most up to date,
current research available for you to find online nowadays. We hear about
breaking news and things that happen with the weather and current events in the
world. We find out a lot of times on
Twitter. That’s a lot of times where
you’ll find the information breaking.
It’s really a wealth of
information that you can have at your fingertips and it’s like everybody else
doing the research for you. Your goal and a lot of goal of attorneys that I try
to educate is to be able to find that information and weed out some of that
Craig: Yeah, it definitely is a real time
thing. I saw something on a Youtube
video the other day that said that some folks in New York got a tweet about an
earthquake before they felt it.
Craig: That’s pretty real time. I think the beauty to me of Twitter is just
the fact that it’s so short. Because
people have to make it short and then that lets me dip into the Twitter stream
and scan and see, do I want to go further?
Because oftentimes there’s a link to a video or a blog post; I get to
see really quickly enough to see, do I want to look further?
Yeah, agreed. That is one of the
great things about Twitter. It’s timely
and it’s short. Short, sweet and to the point.
And you can consume a lot of information in a short time period.
Sometimes people think that social media takes a long time. I would say that
the initial set up of it and the understanding of it, definitely is a time
investment there. But once you have it set up and you’re able to listen, you
can very quickly consume a lot of information and find immediately what you
need to know.
There’s a couple of
ways, Craig, that people can do that. I’m going to start with some of the
basics for your audience today. The first thing I’m going to say is, have a
goal. Why are you on Twitter? You need to be able to answer that question.
That’s the top tip there. Have a goal,
and know why you’re on Twitter.
The second tip that I
would say is to create a solid Twitter profile. Put a picture of yourself and
use your name for your Twitter handle. I have to be honest and say I did not
follow my own advice when I said use my name. Because years ago, I didn’t
really know what I was doing on Twitter when I first started.
I knew I wanted to
target the legal community so I picked a Twitter handle, as you very well
know. It’s @legalerswelcome because I
wanted to target anybody in the legal profession. Not just legal technology,
but attorneys and administration as well.
So I picked a handle @legalerswelcome.
Now, I advise clients to use their name because you want it to be
unique. Obviously didn’t follow my own advice.
The next thing that I
would advise people getting into Twitter is to go ahead and do some
searching. Go ahead into Twitter and
start searching with some keywords for things that interest you. Maybe it’s intellectual property, so you want
to look for IP law or you want to look for employment law. Or you want to search of legal technology, so
you might want to search for legal IT.
You can go ahead and pick maybe 10 or 15 terms that are very important
to you and do a search on Twitter. And
what that’s going to do is it’s going to weed out all the noise.
You’re going to be able
to find people to follow who share the same passion as you do and their
Twitting tips, they’re Twitting links to blog posts as you mentioned
earlier. And those are the types of
people that you want to follow on Twitter.
Once you start to follow people it’s a very good habit and etiquette to
follow those people back. You have to
understand that when you’re on Twitter there is etiquette to follow, and
basically it’s good manners. If someone follows you, you follow them back.
Understanding the basics of the Twitter etiquette and obviously the Twitter
lingo, which seems to be the most challenging for my newbie’s entering the
They don’t understand
the Twitter lingo. But I will share with you how I learned. One of the ways I learned the Twitter lingo
quickly was to listen to what people were saying and I read what people were
saying on Twitter. Sometimes you may not
want to send out your first tweet, you may be a little bit nervous at
first. But go ahead and watch how your
colleagues are conversing and how they’re having the conversations and how
they’re structuring their 140 characters.
Then once you start to listen and see how other people are conversing,
you very quickly can understand the lingo and the etiquette.
Probably the number the
one thing is to use a hash tag. Hash tags are the search terms you want to put
on your tweets so that when anybody is searching for a particular piece of
information that they add or find what you’re sharing by the use of a hash tag;
so it’s just putting a search term in there.
A good rule of thumb is to use at least one hash tag. No more than three, although on occasion I’ve
been guilty to use more than three; just to target different audiences. Then start to have a conversation and build
relationships with people. That’s really the goal, is to build a relationship
with someone on Twitter. Someone who
shares the same interests and passion as you. Sort of how we met, Craig. Right,
here on Twitter? Take that conversation
offline hopefully. Just a couple of tips
Craig: Yeah, those are some great tips, and some
great things to get started with. You
talked about having a conversation and my confession on this is that I’ve found
when…I’m a traveling trainer. So when I’m on the road, I often times don’t do
much other than train sleep and eat. I thought, I’ll automate things. I was
getting no response because people can tell if you’re automating all your
You talked about having
a conversation and a friend of mine had an in-person conversation when I was on
a project out on the west coast and she said, “I know you. I know you’re a rock star, but I would not
follow on you Twitter looking at your Twitter feed, because I can tell it’s
automated and it’s upside down”. And
what she meant by upside down is what you were referring to about having a
I mean I alluded to you
have those people in your life that they only call you when you want
something. And that’s how my Twitter
stream looked. I was, “Come read my blog
post.” “Come see that.” “Come help me out”.
And then every now and then I would have a little bit of a conversation
and I think you need to flip that ratio where it’s reciprocity and
conversation. Once in a great while then you say, “Hey, come check out my new
product” or “Come answer this
questionnaire” What do you think about that?
Natalie: I absolutely would agree with you. I do have
to be honest and tell you that I actually do automate a lot of my tweets, but
what I do, is I automate other blogs and other legal sites that I will push out
that information to my followers. I don’t necessarily sell my blog or push out
my blog or my polls, but I aggregate other blogs that I read to push out that type
of information. Because I feel that some
of the blogs that I follow and that I read, I want to share that with my
Twitter followers. I use a combination
of the pushing out of information with a balance of trying to have the
When you’re on your own
and you work for yourself, it is very difficult sometimes to continue to have
that conversation. When you’re billable and you’re working for clients it’s
hard, you definitely have to have a balance. If you want to build solid
relationships, having a Twitter feed that is 100% pushed out information is not
going to get you the type of engagement that you’re looking for. It’s not going
to build you those relationships that you want and that you’re hoping for. I definitely agree with you that you have a
One of the tips too,
Craig, that I can share, is that I actually spend very little time using the
Twitter application myself. I actually use a program called HootSuite.com. It’s a web based program and it also has an
app that you can download on your mobile device. When I’m traveling or when I
have five minutes of down time or when I wake up in the morning, a lot of times
I will launch the HootSuite app on my mobile device and read my Twitter
stream. And I have columns set up on
HootSuite that allow me to listen.
For example, we are
starting a legal chat in the legal community, on Fridays at 11 am, that we’re
relaunching. I’m relaunching it with
Andrea, from Legal Typists. I actually have a column in HootSuite that is
dedicated to the legal chat hash tag.
Anything that I want to filter out, any conversation that I’m looking to
have or topic of interest. For example, IP law or IT law or law school, I
actually create my own column in the HootSuite application that easily lets me
filter out just those tweets related to that particular topic. It’s very easy
then for me to respond and start having conversations with people in those
particular topic areas.
Craig: Yeah, I would
say ditto on HootSuite. That’s exactly
what I use too. I love it because it’s
cross platform. Because I’m often working on a windows laptop, but then when I
travel I take my Ipad. And then every
now and then I’ll even do something on my phone, which is an android phone. They cover everything and HootSuite is great.
I did want to comment;
you are talking about automation. I probably gave the wrong impression. I do automate a bit as well, and I don’t
think there’s anything wrong with that. But I think what has changed for me, at
least recently, is that I’ve committed to spending a little time every day
actually doing some live Twitter work. I
heard one fellow; Michael Hyatt said that he commits 15 minutes a day. That for
15 minutes a day he’s going to do something on Twitter.
And actually what I do
in HootSuite, I look at my searches in HootSuite and I go through the searches
and then I comment or often times, just retweet some of the things that I find
in those various searches is a big part what I do.
And something you’re mentioning here Craig, the acts of retweeting. That’s a great way to reach out to someone
that you may be interested in building a relationship with and getting to know
better online in Twitter; is to retweet their information. That’s the beauty of Twitter that you can
share other people’s links and as long as you’re giving them credit to it,
that’s a very good way to share with your followers and with your Twitter
Retweeting information is very, very
helpful. I would agree, sometimes I
don’t get five minutes a day to engage back. Or maybe I’m just really tired and
I just want to consume information on Twitter.
It is a good practice if you can spend five to fifteen minutes a day
having conversation, asking questions, retweeting people’s information, you’re
going to get a lot more engagement.
There’s no silver bullet; this definitely does take time. I’ve been doing this for over four year now
on Twitter and it takes times to build a really good following and people in
your Twitter circle. Something else to
point out is a lot of times attorneys are very competitive and they think
because they have more Twitter followers than the other that that’s very
important. Well, it is very important to
have a good circle of followers on Twitter. The number of followers is really
not as important as the quality of your conversations and your relationships
with those people.
I always say a lot of
the legal community uses Outlook for their contacts, right? And they may have 5000 contacts in Outlook,
but they’re not on a regular basis having conversations with those 5000
contacts. It’s the same concept on
Twitter. You could have 5000 followers,
but if you’re not creating a relationship with those 5000 followers, it really
doesn’t matter how many you have.
The real core of Twitter
is finding like-minded professionals, having a conversation with them, engaging
and really just sharing information. My goal is to educate and be educated on
legal technology and the legal industry. It’s really growing for law firms and
if you do a search for law firms in Twitter, you’ll find quite a few of them
have joined and pushed out information as a firm. And then you’ll find lots and lots of
attorneys now on Twitter.
It’s no longer
something that firms are not doing; it’s something that firms are doing. It is a commitment. It’s happening. The
change has happened and they’re Tweeting and they’re sharing.
Craig: Yeah, that’s great and some really good
information. You talked about engagement and how key that is. As you mentioned earlier, the goal of this is
essentially to start a relationship and then take that relationship to another
level. Can you give an example of how Twitter has led to more business for
anybody that you’ve worked with, or yourself?
Natalie: Well, I can definitely speak for clients that
I’ve worked with. It has led to speaking opportunities for them for different
legal associations. For example, environmental law. I have an attorney who was asked to give his
story on environmental law and how he came to use Twitter and educate his
environmental practice association. So it gave him speaking opportunities which
made him be more of an expert in his community.
It was a great way for his firm to promote him and to promote the firm
itself with his speaking opportunity.
I’ve had some clients,
who are attorneys, get clients off of Twitter because of the information that
they were sharing. They looked like the experts and they would contact them and
then took the conversation off line. Same with myself; I have gotten business
and conducted webinars for other legal vendors educating about social media.
Got a new client just a couple months ago saying they followed me on
Twitter. Because I was on the east coast
and not far from them, they wanted to hire me to educate their attorneys on
LinkedIn as well as Twitter and creating a social business strategy for the
It definitely happens;
it’s not something that’s going to happen overnight. Again you have to build
that relationship. You have to prove to the community and to your followers
that you’re worthy of them hiring you. I always say that years ago, people kind
of had this mentality before social media came along.
I don’t know if you’ll
agree with me, but I always felt people felt that hoarding knowledge was
power. And now with social media, it’s
the absolute complete opposite; sharing knowledge has become power. So the more
you share, the more you’re viewed as the expert and the more people want to
connect with you and work with you because they view you as the expert on a particular
topic. Sharing knowledge in any industry really has become the power. It’s definitely shifted.
Craig: Yeah, I would
definitely agree with that. I think the
idea is that I get to know you without paying you any money and I get to trust
you from the things that you say. And
then is the point sometime down the road, if I need your services, then I’m
going to look you up.
Natalie: Exactly. Another key word you said there
Craig, was trust. It’s basically networking on an international scale. Attorneys
are used to networking and doing some business development. They go to conferences and they go to
different associations, and they speak, and they have conversations and they
pass out their business cards. Being on
Twitter and being on any social network really is the same thing except now,
only the world is your audience. You’re
not confined to the people who’ve attended that particular conference and who
are put in that little room. Right? It’s
now taken to a whole other level. It takes time to build trust as any attorney
would tell you from clients that they’ve built over the years.
One of the things too,
the last point that I want to mention; Twitter and social media is not a
replacement for traditional face to face networking. Attorneys are always going to get business
from referrals. But the key is that most referrals when they’re given, the
person is still going to look you up online. They’re still going to say, “What
have you been doing?”, “How good of an expert are you in your area of law?” It
really should be used in conjunction with traditional networking as attorneys
may think from the past, with handing out a business card and from attending a
conference. It should be used complimentary.
Craig: Absolutely. I think that is really the bottom
line on this. This is just a part of
doing business now and it needs certainly to be part of any of our listeners,
if they’re not doing this, this is a good thing they need to start.
I’m happy to answer anybody’s questions.
They can find me on Twitter @legalerswelcome and I’d be happy to help
them in the right direction and give them some guidance. I’m very passionate about it. The more the merrier. The more we can share, the more we can
collaborate, the better it’s going to be for the profession as a whole.
Craig: Very good.
You mentioned contacting you on Twitter.
Any other ways you prefer that people contact you if they want?
Natalie: Sure. They can always look me up on LinkedIn
Natalie Alesi. I’m on LinkedIn. I’m on Facebook. You can find my company page legalerswelcome
on Facebook. I’m also on Google Plus.
You do a search for Natalie Alesi, you will find me. Anybody can email me directly, it’s NAlesi@legalerswelcome.com. I’m
always open to email.
Craig: Well, very good. I’m going to share a couple things and then
we’re going to wrap up. For today’s law
firm laugh, you folks out there may not find this funny and especially if you
don’t, send me your funny stories and I will share them on air. If you want me
to keep it confidential, I’ll keep it confidential. If you want me to give you a plug, I’ll give
you a plug. Either way.
The funny thing, we
were talking about how firms are very similar. There are three things that I
find almost everywhere I go, and they’re kind of funny to me. The first one is
the typewriter. There’s always a
typewriter in the building. I was at a firm not too long ago and there were
like 50 people in the building and I swear there were 20 typewriters
The second thing you
always seem to find is the bow-tie guy.
There is one attorney that wears a bow tie every day.
And the third thing
there tends to be one person out there who pushes the dress code just a little
bit. So what about your firm? I would love to hear if you have one, two or
all three of these at your firm. You can
always leave some comments. That would be great.
So, for today’s tech
tip, I wanted to mention a little known switch in Outlook. Everybody uses Outlook, everybody prints
things in Outlook. But the switch is one that will allow you to print all of
the attachments without any additional effort.
If you’re in Outlook 2010, which most people are, and if you’re in other
ones you can follow similar steps. But in Outlook 2010, the steps are go to the
File tab and then choose Print. And then
you will see your printer listed and right under there will be Print
Options. If you click the Print Options
button, then the last thing that you’ll see in that dialog box that comes up is
a check box that says Print Attached files. If you click that check box and you
have an email that has six pdfs attached, then when you go to print it will
print not only the body of the email, but it will print those pdfs as well. That’s a crowd pleasers when I do training out
there and I thought you guys might appreciate that as well.
Natalie, you mentioned
how folks can get in contact with you.
Anything that you would like to promote that you hadn’t already
Natalie: Just to visit my blog;
legalerswelcome.com. I also write a
column for legalITprofessionals.com as well.
A little behind on that blog, but I have a new post that I’m going to be
sending them soon. So take a
chance. Take a quick look. Look that up.
That’s really about it, Craig. I
want to thank you so very much for having me.
This has been lovely.
Craig: It’s been a pleasure. It’s been very good. One other note, I’m working on a course for
you Udemy and its entitled, Lazy
Lawyer’s One Hour Guide Word. Of course,
by lazy lawyer, I mean for those that aren’t taking advantage of the
technology. But what I would love to
hear from you guys is If you would like to be a beta tester, then I would love
to have you to be part of developing this course. If you want to find out more about that, I’ve
written a post, beta testers wanted and that’s at alawfirmtrainer.com.
Natalie, thanks again
for being on the show today.
Natalie: Thank you Craig. Have a good one.
Craig: Thanks so much. That’s a wrap for Episode 11.
Thanks for listening to this episode of Legal Leaders podcast. For your
law firm training and consulting needs, please visit alawfirmtrainer.com.