Inc.’s Rebecca Borisin (@borisonr) asks is it okay for CEOs to have bigger Twitter followings than their companies? And if so, how does that impact the company and what does that mean for its public image?

As is the case with lawyers and law firms, some of today’s leading CEOs boast impressive Twitter followings that put their companies’ social media presence to shame.

What does it mean for a company when its CEO, or a lawyer in the case of law firm, has a stronger brand on Twitter than the company or firm itself?

Nichole Kelly (@Nichole_Kelly), Author of How to Measure Social Media and CEO of Social Media Explorer, tells Borisin it’s a good thing when any employee in a company, whether it’s the CEO or the CEO’s assistant has a large following on Twitter.

The idea is that by building this following you’re getting closer to your audience. I think that anyone in a company that can establish a following and build relationships with their audience is going to be good for the brand. It’s a tremendous opportunity to let customers see the humans behind the brand. It’s tremendous opportunity to have a direct conversation with their consumer audience.

I agree. Lawyers who have established large followings on Twitter are likely viewed as intelligence agents on niche areas of the law. Their followers view the lawyer as a reliable and trusted authority. It’s an environment from which to build relationships and word of mouth.

At the same time the law firm’s Twitter account, though valuable, may have less followers than the number of people employed by the firm. A firm account does not lend itself to letting people see the “humans behind the brand.”

Rather than fight an individual lawyer’s Twitter following which puts the law firm’s following to shame (which many firms do), law firms ought to educate, support, and rally around those lawyers building large followings on Twitter.

It’s in the law firm’s interests to do so.

Image courtesy o Flickr By Mith Huang

  • I would just add that lawyers are notorious for not being good at connecting with people. Add the extra layer of a corporate/law firm Twitter account on top of it and meaningful relationship building becomes even less likely. All the more reason for attorneys to be active through personal social media accounts.