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Lawyers can establish trust with their target audience online

Stowe Boyd, a recognized authority on social tools and their impact on media, business, and society, penned an interesting piece Sunday entitled Trust is Trust, Online and Off.

Boyd cited a recent Pew Foundation study which found those who use the web more trust people more.

The typical Internet user is more than twice as likely as others to feel that people can be trusted, with regular Facebook users the most trusting of all. A Facebook user who uses the site multiple times per day is 43% more likely than other Internet users and more than three times as likely as non-Internet users to feel that most people can be trusted.

A Fast Company story by Adam Pennenberg on How Trust Keeps Facebook, Twitter Humming, cited by Boyd, digs deeper into the concept trust being established online. You can read the neuroscience references on your own, but make note of why we value trust and how trust is the key to business.

Pennenberg citing Neuroeconomist and author, Paul J. Zak, a professor at Claremont College, says “…[T]rust goes to the heart of our economic and social systems.” Similarly, Zak says that “Trust is the lubricant that makes economic transactions possible.”

Further from Penneberg’s article:

In his own research, Zak and a co-researcher found that nations with higher levels of trust (Sweden, Germany, the U.S.) have stronger economies than those on the other end of the spectrum (the Congo, Sudan, Colombia). “Where there is more trustworthiness, there is more prosperity,” Zak says. This trust also influences what we buy. A 2009 Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey study found that shoppers value the opinions of people they know the most, followed by online reviews written by strangers or in online communities.

There’s a good reason for this. We humans are hard-wired to commingle with one another offline and on- and the web and its platforms like Facebook and Twitter make it more efficient than ever. That’s because virtual relationships can be as real as actual relationships. The truth is we’re all one step removed from reality, living life through the prism of our own minds.

Following me, you know I am all about lawyers establishing trust with people as the basis of business development. It’s all about trust.

People like you and trust you as a person, and as a lawyer, and you’ll have more work than you can shake a stick at. So long as you get out and network with the right target audience to establish this trust.

The Internet provides lawyers the opportunity to establish an intimate relationship of trust in an accelerated fashion.

Online relationships are not a replacement for real world, face to face, relationships for you as a lawyer. But establishing relationships online does establish trust with your target audience.

The key for you as a lawyer is to use the net, via blogging and other forms of social media, strategically and in a fashion that does not betray people’s trust. That’s an acquired art you may need some help with.

But no question trust can be established online.