There is a baseball saying: “Put the ball in play and good things will happen.” You might hit the ball hard enough to earn a hit. The left fielder might lose the ball in the sun. You might not hit the ball hard enough for a hit, but watch with delight as the wind carries it over the fence. The right fielder might crash into the first baseman, breaking his leg and in the process leaving you standing safely on first base. (I nearly cried when I saw this happen to Nats favorite Nick Johnson).

The point is, you can’t anticipate exactly what will happen, but if you put the ball in play there’s a good chance you will like the result. If you stand there with the bat on your shoulder you’ll never know what might have happened.

It’s exactly the same for lawyers trying to market their services on social media. You have to put the ball in play to have a chance at success. Social media is one of the best ways to get into the game.

A cautionary note: Experts as diverse as Kevin O”Keefe (founder of the leading websites-for-lawyers company, and Conrad Saam (author of the SEO reference Own the Map) agree on one thing: Marketing via social media is not easy. Few lawyers have a good feeling for the dynamics of online virtual communities and even fewer have the time or patience to build the personal relationships that are the key to success online. Let prospective lawyer-marketers take heed.