“Way too many journalists use social media to broadcast rather than being social,” Joy Mayer, a veteran journalist and director of Trusting News, a project that helps journalists earn the trust of their communities, tells Christine Schmidt for a story in Nieman Lab.

It’s not so much about gaming Facebook’s algorithm or working with the Facebook changes as much as it is taking advantage of Facebook as a truly social platform.


Being social involves listening, responding, and adjusting what you’re doing based on the feedback you’re getting…The biggest way newsrooms in this project are having success on Facebook is by participating in the conversations that happen there and using every interaction as an opportunity to explain their credibility.

Journalists are learning to be social online because of trust — people don’t trust journalists.

With two-thirds of respondents to an international survey citing concerns of bias, spin, and hidden agendas as reasons why they often don’t trust news outlets, national outlets like The Washington Post have taken steps to increase understanding. Local news has a wee bit of an edge over national news in (still-low) trust polls, and To rusting News primarily works with local news organizations, which often drive audience members’ first personal interactions with journalists.

Sounds a lot like lawyers – both as to the trust factor and the use of social media to broadcast rather than being social.

People, the vast majority of whom use social media, don’t trust lawyers. Using social as a broadcast medium to grab attention or to seek traffic to your website only breeds distrust.

Mayer’s advice to the media applies equally to lawyers. “It has to be on us to rebuild that relationship rather than just hoping that if we continue to do good work, they’ll notice it.”

Too many legal marketers are advising lawyers that the Internet is all about getting eyeballs.

One advertising agency was telling a good law firm this week that the firm should put all their blogs inside their website. Why? Traffic to the website, despite the fact the blogs were establishing trust and authority by lawyers “coming out” and away of the firm’s advertising — their website.

Rather than engaging the firm’s target audience by listening to what they were saying or what was being said about them and engaging in that discussion via their own blog posts so as to build trust, the agency’s advice was to broadcast.

Other law firms have been concerned of late that Facebook’s algorithm changes may reduce the eyeballs on content the firm is sharing.

The firms’ lawyers don’t participate on Facebook as a way to engage clients, referral sources, business colleagues, the media and bloggers. The firms look at Facebook as a distrbution channel.

Then there’s the “auto-share” to social media. Write a piece of content or a blog post and it’s automatically blasted at Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, regardless of whether the author participates on these social media.

Good lawyers get their work because they’re trusted and reliable authorities in specific areas of the law. Social media builds trust, so long as you are social.

Lawyers put a lot of time into penning blog posts and articles. Take a page out of the 30 newspapers who are already working with Mayer’s “Trusting News” project to increase readership by having reporters being social on social media.

Way too many law firms use social media to broadcast rather than be social. Don’t be one of them.