Interesting to see one of the things that interested legal professionals attending law firm business development consultant Lance Godard’s Toledo presentation on social media for lawyers was the ability to repurpose content across multiple channels.

Pushing law firm content on people is not what social media, or for that matter, the Internet, is all about. By all means have your content (lawyer articles, newsletters, alerts) accessible to be indexed by Google so it may be retrieved on search, but the Internet is about communicating. Communicating does not mean shouting content at people.

Realize the word ‘social’ is included in social media. The term ‘social’ means interaction of living organisms (humans in particular) with other living organisms.

Being social means engaging other people. Engagement requires listening first and then entering into a conversation. It’s how we as people build relationships. Relationships drive client development in the legal industry.

Imagine a lawyer getting ready to network with industry leaders representing prospective clients at cocktail party. The law firm’s marketing department works for a month in advance on some wonderful content written by associate lawyers. The strategy being to carry a box of content to the networking event, pull out the law firm’s bullhorn, and shout the content out to all in attendance. Better yet, have minions push the content at people’s chests.

You’d never do it. It defies common sense and would embarrass the heck out the lawyer and your law firm.

Just because social media has proven effective for law firm client development does not mean you should lose your common sense understanding of what ‘social’ means.

Being social for client development purposes means identifying your target audience, going to where they are congregating, listening to what they are saying, engaging in the conversation by referencing what others are saying, and offering information and insight of value to others.

Get that basic understanding down and you’ll be ahead of 95% of law firms. Learning how to engage in social media for client development is then just getting the proper tools and learning how to use them.