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Are you just making noise on social media?

No question attorneys and law firms are using social media. The surveys tell us that.

The real question is whether attorneys and law firms know what they heck they are doing doing on social media.

In his blog post this morning, author and speaker, Seth Godin says:

One option is to struggle to be heard whenever you’re in the room… Another is to be the sort of person who is missed when you’re not.

The first involves making noise. The second involves making a difference.

I can’t help but think for most attorneys and law firms social media is all about making noise. Even if they have information of value to someone, rather than politely making it available or writing in an engaging way so others will share and cite it, attorneys and law firms use social media to push their content at people.

Alan Stern, Editor of CenterNetworks, asked in a post this morning if ‘Twitter owns Facebook and LinkedIn status updates? His point being that users set up their accounts at Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and on apps so that all of their Tweets are automatically displayed on Facebook and LinkedIn.

In that Stern’s following the same set of people on all three services, he sees the same updates over and over again.

The issue for Stern, and others, becomes whether you really want to listen to these folks, and if so, where do you engage them? Engagement meaning to comment on what they’re sharing or to share with your audience what these folks are offering adding some of your insight at the same time.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard marketers at conferences tell unknowing attorneys and law firms how they can automatically feed their stuff across multiple social networks at once. Like that’s a good thing.

These marketers don’t understand that social media is about building trust, building a reputation, building relationships — all through networking. Networking is not the equivalent of noise. Noise turns people off, not on.

The days of attorneys writing content for the sake of writing content so as to build a reputation are behind us. The goal once you have created content is not to push it at people to amplify your visibility.

Content, if you want to actually achieve your business development goals, ought be looked at differently today.

Look at content as a vehicle to engage your target audience. Look at content as a means of building relationships. Look at content as a means of establishing yourself as a subject matter expert — not by merely authoring an article or update and going for wide distribution — but by engaging your target audience in your content so that they will cite and share what you’re writing.

No question the easy way out is to write content and hire people and companies to distribute (push at people) your content. That’s just a matter of money, it doesn’t take much time, you can measure it with numbers, and it requires no emotional involvement.

But ask yourself. Are you just making noise? Or are are you making a difference in realizing your business development goals?