Social media consultant, Adrian Dayton, had a nice piece in the National Law Journal last week about trust and social media.

…With the proliferation of social media, lawyers have an opportunity to become advisers rather then pitch men. The first step is understanding what it means to be a trusted adviser.

Dayton, citing authorities from Charles Green, co-author of The Trusted Advisor, to Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, makes the point that lawyers need to always give value online, particularly sharing and citing what others are writing.

By citing and sharing, you develop credibility and trust.

This is challenging for lawyers — they so fear promoting their competitors that they miss the chance to become trusted advisers.

I started using the Internet in 1996 as a practicing lawyer. Over a couple years I answered hundreds, if not thousands, of personal injury, medical malpractice, and workers compensation questions from consumers on AOL. My reputation grew online as someone who gave of himself and new work came in.

When I started blogging to help lawyers develop business online in 2003 I shared in my blog what others were writing in articles and blogs offering my insight and commentary. My reputation grew online as someone who shared valuable information with lawyers and the opportunity to serve lawyers by founding LexBlog arose.

My team and I have been working with organizational development consultant, Bob Burgess, for the past few years. In my second meeting with Bob we worked on the vision and mission of LexBlog. Not for grandiose reasons, but to provide clarity for the team and our direction.

Bob asked me to explain how I believed the Internet worked for lawyers and I. I explained what I did on AOL and in my blog and how it worked to bring in business. I told him how I wanted to help lawyers do the same thing through LexBlog.

Bob responded, “Oh, I see, you developed an intimate relationship of trust with prospective clients online. At LexBlog, you want to help lawyers develop an intimate relationship of trust more quickly through the Internet.” Wow, I wish I could form that type of clarity on my own.

It’s all about trust in getting business as a lawyer.

Using social media is all about establishing trust by giving of yourself, including discussing and sharing what other lawyers and possible competitors may be writing.