I’m constantly reminding lawyers and other business people that social media is nothing new. It’s about building relationships and a word of mouth reputation. Businesses have been doing that for hundreds of years.

So I found it most enjoyable to read an article on social media for businesses reinforcing my point in this morning’s Fort Wayne Daily News. (Doesn’t all the good stuff comes from the Midwest?)

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging. Those online platforms are all part of ‘social media.’ And they are changing the way many people interact.

That fact can be frightening for some small business owners who fear they’re soon going to be out of touch with a growing segment of their potential customer base.

But in reality, social media has always been a part of our society’s fabric. People have always considered word-of-mouth or relationship marketing — emphasizing customer retention and satisfaction — important. Now, relationship marketing has been expanded into the digital world.

Chad Pollitt, Internet marketing manager for Digital Hill Multimedia, further explained how social media works when people turn the net to solve a problem:

…[S]ocial media [is] a ‘virtual community whose members appreciate when other members add value to that community. Businesses can benefit by engaging the people in an online community. This can help build the image and brand perception while handling customer service issues at the same time.

By presenting yourself or your company as the subject matter expert in your field, someone will find your content compelling enough to listen to your campaign more often because you can help solve their problems.

As a lawyer or other business person, you may find the terms Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogging a little scary. You may think you’re behind the times in not adapting to online social media. You may think it’s best left for ‘the kids.’

Fear not, social media and relationship marketing have always been part of our society’s fabric. It’s what’s allowed you and other good law firms and businesses to succeed for years.