What Can Lawyers Use this For? SnapChat Edition

A lot of attorneys are confused by Social Media and what they could potentially use different media for and what they can use different platforms for.

This is about Snapchat.  Disclaimer: I don’t use snapchat.  Maybe, one day, when we hire a cool, rainbow-haired Millennial (or whatever comes after Millennial) to run our social media, we will branch out to that.  For now, though, we have enough on our plate.

Techcrunch Snapchat Icon

That said, it doesn’t mean that I don’t see its usefulness.  Plus, I read this article today about Snapchat’s facial recognition patent.  It was issued this week, which means that Snapchat probably implemented it and has been using it already.  This further strengthens my viewpoint that words are becoming a thing of the past and we are moving towards being a more visual culture which communicates via pictures and hieroglyphics.  Oh, you don’t think emoji’s are hieroglyphics?  Well, explain the difference to me please because I don’t see it.

Also, the description of the patent reminds me of that TV show, Person of Interest, where there is a machine that scans the world and can pick out specific people and target them.  Only…this isn’t a single machine and we are all complicit with our laptops and phones, our obsession with posting photos and videos, and…Okay, back to the topic at hand.

Let’s start with what Snapchat IS.  It is a social media platform that allows you to have “followers.”  You snap pictures or videos, you send them to your followers, and you can alter the pictures with filters or draw on them or do other funny things with them.  The pictures are ephemeral because they are “destroyed” in 10 seconds (but that doesn’t mean that someone isn’t taking a screenshot and saving them somewhere).

What are the things that Snapchat can do for you:

  1. It creates a sense of urgency.  If people aren’t “tuned in” to your snapchat when you’re out and about doing interesting things, then they miss out but might have to see others posting about it on other social media sites (dat lawyer-human snapchat story though…) or not know the inside jokes.  The horror!
  2. Related to the above: It provides the illusion of an exclusive or a ‘behind-the-scenes.” They get to follow your journey as a successful business owner, or your struggle as you hustle and make it happen, or you and your adorable dog having a great time at the park.
  3. It can introduce you to a younger or at least different audience than some of the other social media platforms.

So, should you use it?

Well, it depends (typical lawyer answer).  The first question is…who is your audience?  Are you courting tech entrepreneurs in NY, LA, SF, or Seattle?  If so, then maybe you should.  On the other hand, if you are working with more mature or less tech-savvy audiences who are unlikely to be on Snapchat, then you shouldn’t waste your time and efforts.

What can you “snap” about?

If you are moving into a new office – you can snap about setting up the furniture and putting your name on the door.  If you are having a “bring your dog to work” day, you can snap pictures of your dog terrorizing employees and lounging around while you work your butt off.  You can snap the all-nighters you pull to help keep your clients out of jail or prepping for their commercial litigation case.  If you do a lot of community service or a lot of events, you can snap about that and the prep that goes into it.

Just be thoughtful about it.  You want it to be consistent with your “brand.”  Relate it back to your vision, values, and mission and to your “avatar.”

A couple of special considerations for attorneys:

Make sure you don’t have court papers, sensitive documents, clients or client-identifying information in any of your pictures or videos.  If things like recognizing a face from a huge crowd of people is possible, then so is blowing up and sharpening a document in an image.

I’d stay away from selling things to your followers.  You get into muddled ethics rules.  Side note, I don’t see snapchat as a good medium for making sales anyway.  I think people turn to it to get a better idea of who you are as a person and if they are engaged by you and your business.