It’s disappointing that more professionals, especially lawyers, do not use social media to engage and get to know others.

If not in the true sense of getting to know someone, at least in the sense of getting to know someone as a trusted source of information and letting others to know the lawyer as a trusted source of information, news and commentary.

Monday morning I saw a Facebook post from New York Times columnist, Samuel Freedman, relating the Birmingham church bombing of the 1960’s to Sunday morning’s events in Orlando.

Freedman’s piece hit home as I found that the Orlando killings really hit me. I felt numb for much of the next couple days, much like I did with events of the 60’s ala the assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

Facebook enabled me to like and comment on Freedman’s piece. He recognized my comment with a like. Not too make too big a deal out of it, but I was in effect engaging this author and professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

No question I am more likely to recognize and read his pieces in the New York Times and read and engage his posts on Facebook.

I don’t know Freedman as “a friend.” I connected with him on Facebook when Facebook suggested him as a possible “Facebook friend.” Seeing his stature and that he was sharing items that could bring value to my life, I sent him a friend request. Freedman accepted, it was probably months ago.

Imagine you as a lawyer building a network of friends, colleagues and business associates on Facebook. When you share news items or blog posts on Facebook you would then be truly engaging people. People would get to know you and to trust you.

And know that it’s only a very small step from being a trust source of information and commentary to getting a call or a referral when someone is need of a lawyer.

Unfortunately, the majority of lawyers and law firms look at Facebook and other social media as distribution channels for content in order to grab mindshare as opposed to a place for engagement. Engagement that leads to relationships and a word of mouth reputation.

That’s disappointing at a time when lawyers are struggling to do the work they want to do and pouring money into Internet marketing that’s bringing mixed results, at best.

Slow down a bit and get to know people on social media. Engage others. Build trust. It really works.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Frank DiBona