Social media has transformed our lives, but it is amazing how people pretend they know what they are talking about in relation to it.

Social media has transformed our lives, it has changed the way businesses communicate with customers and it’s amazing how something that is 140 characters or less has had such an impact.

It is also amazing when it comes to social media how people pretend they know what they are talking about because they don’t want to embarrass themselves, so they fall into the ‘Emperor’s new clothes syndrome’.

What’s wrong with simply saying “I don’t get this, can you explain it in simple English?”

It is all about empathy 

Successful retailing is about empathy, about putting yourself in other people’s shoes. When you write a tweet, you should be thinking if the person reading it will find it interesting.

Have you ever scrolled through the TV guide on satellite to see lots of TV programmes but can’t find anything interesting to watch?

If a TV programme is not interesting, people won’t watch it. It’s the same with Twitter, post boring tweets and people won’t read them or re-tweet them, it is not rocket science.

Most companies can’t seem to figure out how to write something that people want to read and share with friends. People only share tweets if they are interesting, just like when people say “did you watch that programme on the TV last night?” they only share things on social media if they are interesting.

How to engage on Twitter

I am in the legal business and you can’t get anything more boring than law. Last year we rebranded our law firm Last Cawthra Feather to LCF Law and we decided to use Twitter to get our message across on @lawfairsquare. We had around 100 followers before the relaunch; we now have more than 7,000. 

“The strategy we came up with was simple. Let’s not talk about ourselves very often”

Ajaz Ahmed

We first looked at what other law firms tweeted and it was mostly very boring, not much empathy was being used. I can’t imagine many customers looking forward to a tweet from a law firm.

So the strategy we came up with was simple. Let’s not talk about ourselves very often. We use a concept called ‘creating a knowledge gap’. This is where you ask a question but don’t give the answer, for example: “Can you claim that your products are cheaper than a competitor’s?” The person reading this will hopefully want to know the answer because we’ve created a gap in their knowledge.

We have a library of over 5,000 answers to legal questions in plain simple English and each tweet has a short URL linking to our library. The result is that we get a lot of traffic to our site and lots of re-tweets from all over the UK and from other counties. We also tweet the legal definitions of words in plain English, such as: “Chief Rent: Money charged regularly on freehold land. Despite its name it is not rent.”

We also run #UKLegalHour on Twitter, where we answer questions free of charge for an hour on different subjects. This has proven to be very popular. We’ve answered questions on topics such business start-ups, wills and probate and our most popular subject so far has been property law.

Be interesting

The conclusion is that even boring companies can do interesting things with social media.

Is it difficult to come up with ideas? Not really, I come up with most of the ideas by putting myself in the customer’s shoes and asking the question “If I was reading this, would I find it interesting?”

We employ a social media company, which is a one-man band, that also comes up with ideas and they execute and maintain everything.

The main thing is, we are never afraid to say, “I don’t get that, can you explain it again?” You should never be afraid to do the same.

  • Ajaz Ahmed launched Freeserve and is the founder of Legal365.com