There’s a legal marketing “guru” out there who loves to bash Twitter. First of all, Twitter isn’t for everyone, but it is an incredibly powerful tool for many others. To completely dismiss a marketing/business development tool because of your personal perceptions, or lack of knowledge, is shortsighted and shows, to me, poor “guruing.”

As a legal marketer I have at my disposal an incredible toolbox of items that I can pull out for the attorneys in my firm. My job is to realize and acknowledge the unique qualities of each attorney, their personal styles and comfort zones, and work to push them to the limits of where they can go.

These include, but are not limited to, writing, teaching, speaking at conferences, one-on-one client meetings, Webinars and teleconferences, client service interviews, sales, participating on corporate/non-profit boards and networking. In the past couple years I have added social media and social networking tools, including blogging, LinkedIn, Facebook and, yes, Twitter.

An important lesson I learned early on in my career as a legal marketer was to realize that what works well for Susan might not be appropriate for Steven, and vice versa. This holds true for any marketing or business development tool or technique. In addition, there is no one way to do anything. There are best practices that we can pick up along the way, but we need to incorporate and customize them to fit us as individuals, or as a firm.

A colleague of mine, Sonny Cohen, summed it up perfectly:

participating in … any social medium is not about following guidelines. Rather it is about defining your business objectives and participating in a meaningful way to meet those objectives.

As a lawyer, marketer, or any professional, you must first set out your goals and your objectives for your marketing and business development. Only then can you see how social media and social networking tools, like Twitter, can help you to reach those goals. Twitter should not be seen as a panacea or magic lamp for your marketing and business development, but simply another tool to help you realize your objectives.

So, what are your marketing and business development objectives? How can social networking and social media contribute to you achieving those goals?? Not sure? Well, Tweet me @heathermilligan and let’s see if we can figure it out.

As for the Twitter naysayers … the wonderful thing about the Internet, due diligence on any consultant is only one Google search away. Just dig to around page three of the Google search results.