Social media not distributionPeople do not create accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or any other social media site to hear from your law firm. Social media is about engagement that arises out of listening and resulting conversations. Engagement that results in trust and relationships.

The problem is that law firms are being told that social media, whether it be Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook is all about pushing your content at people. Social media is wrongfully being looked at by law firms as a distribution channel.

An AP story yesterday morning regarding law firms’ use of social media reported that “Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney recently hired a consultant to train its lawyers on social media tools and established a policy for how to use sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn.” Why? “…[T]o use Facebook and Twitter to feed news releases, announcements and advisories,” per Tracie Gliozzi, Buchanan’s director of communications. (emphasis added)

JoAnna Forshee reports that Adrian Dayton, a speaker at least week’s MyLegal social media conference spoke on, among other things, how content, via blogs and websites, can be distributed via Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks) for sales leads and new business. (emphasis added)

If a company created a solution that would have a hand pop out of in-house counsels’ monitor and shove unwanted law firm blog posts, articles, alerts, and email newsletters into counsel’s face, law firms would pay millions for it. No matter that in-house counsel found the practice rude and tasteless.

Social media is about engagement. Engagement to nurture and build relationships. Engagement by its very nature requires listening. Only once you listen are you in a position to offer value. It’s this sincere process of listening and offering value that breeds trust. Trust that you’re yearning for as a lawyer and law firm.

Trust and relationships are what you’re after in your law firm’s use of social media. You don’t build trust and nurture relationships by using social media as a distribution channel to feed content to people.

Do that and lose trust and destroy relationships.

Note: I don’t have first hand knowledge of how Buchanan Ingersoll is using social media nor what Adrian Dayton may have said in his speech. I’m strictly relying on what’s been reported.