Have you had your first social media breakthrough?

Did you give up on Twitter within 24 hours of signing up? Did you share a first tweet that said “so, I guess I’m on Twitter,” and then never return? You aren’t alone. And I think I know why.

Let’s imagine for a moment that the world of Twitter and LinkedIn users is represented by a giant skyscraper. The active profiles would be represented by offices with lights on and the inactive users would be represented by lights that were off. More than half of the lights in this massive building would not only be turned off, but they wouldn’t be likely to ever come on again.


This is a very accurate metaphor for the use by lawyers of sites like Twitter and LinkedIn. They create profiles, share a message or two and then turn off the lights- never to come back. Why do they leave? Why don’t they get it?

I strongly believe that it is because they haven’t spent long enough on the sites to experience a breakthrough. What is a breakthrough? Its when you do something, say something or meet someone amazing with the help of social networks. I still remember my first minor breakthrough, I wrote an article called “Open Letter to My Wife About Twitter” on my original Blogspot blog (that was later migrated over to adriandayton.com). The article didn’t go viral, but it was re-tweeted and shared by dozens of Twitter users I didn’t even know. It was a small success, but after that breakthrough, I was hooked. Over the next year, I would have bigger and bigger breakthroughs, getting quoted by the Wall Street Journal, finding a publisher for my first book, and landing my first engagement with an AmLaw 100 firm thanks to social media. The light would stay on for the next five years.

How can you have your first social media breakthrough? I think there are three important steps. First, you need to listen and watch what others are doing. (And don’t say you’re are too busy to listen, that’s just b.s.,) take some time to read other people’s articles, blog and tweets. Look and see what resonates for you, and what seems to resonate with others. Find other successful bloggers and you don’t need to copy them, but get a sense of what makes great articles resonate.

Second, you need to take the time to think. Think about different possible ideas and discuss your ideas for blog posts on Twitter or in LinkedIn groups. If you find a topic that people are really engaged discussing, then an article on the same topic would have a much better chance of success.

Third, you need to write, write, write. You need to get your ideas out there. Don’t be so afraid of saying something wrong, that you don’t say anything at all. Often times a new Twitter user will say, “I have no interest in blogging,” but after a few weeks of re-tweeting other people’s ideas they realize they can write just as well themselves or better than others out there. Don’t stop after the first article. Keep going. So many bloggers stop after the first post isn’t a huge success. You need a larger sample size, so keep writing. Nobody that goes fishing ever catches something on the first cast- but fish are always biting if you can find the right bait. Most people quit Twitter/LinkedIn/blogging before they have written enough to have their breakthrough moment. Give it a chance before you turn out the lights and never come back.

For those of you that are active Twitter/Blog/LinkedIn users, what was your first social media breakthrough? What made you stick it out? I’d love to hear your stories.

Adrian Dayton is an author of two books on digital marketing, Social Media for Lawyers: Twitter Edition and LinkedIn and Blogs for Lawyers (West 2012, co-authored by Amy Knapp) you can grab at free chapter of each at http://adriandayton.com/blog

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