When it comes to social media, the censor strengths for certain users might be turned down a bit too low. Sure, if you’re a teenager posting pictures of yourself in bikinis for all your friends to see—well who are we to tell you what not to do? But if you’re an attorney sharing too much information, you might want to take a look at these dos and don’ts before you hit Share.
Do use social media to market your practice. Facebook, Twitter, Google +, you name it, are all great avenues for free marketing. Sole practitioners as well as big firms are using Facebook to connect with other lawyers as well as their current and prospective clients. It’s a wonderful tool, so long as you use it professionally.
Don’t reveal too much personal information on your business profile. There’s a reason your business page is kept separate from your personal account. Keep it that way. In your clients’ mind, you are the professional attorney handling their legal case. Just because they can now interact with you on Facbook doesn’t mean this view of you should change.
Do use social media to interact with colleagues. And competitors, as well, so long as it’s all in good fun. Social networking sites are a great way to reach clients, but you should also use them to build stronger connections with other partners, co-workers, other firms, etc. Build a community and develop your name within that community.
Do use social media for valuable information. If you’re an attorney that does litigation, you might be surprised at the wealth of evidence and information you could find on social media. Interaction between your clients, plaintiffs, defendants, and others online could give you a great amount of leverage in your case. You never know what you could find. (However, do keep in mind the privacy policies of these social media sites.)
Don’t betray client confidences over social media. As we mentioned in the last tip, anything you post online could be used as evidence, which means you should always keep a tight censor on what you post.The rule for any business online is that you should always check, double-check, and triple-check your posts—and then ask your co-worker to do the same. Never, ever even consider talking bad about a client, judge, administration, competitor online. Not even if your profile is on private. What’s online doesn’t always stay online—and you could land yourself in big trouble without a proper censor.
Do use social media for professional development. Participating in social media gives you a low-cost means of staying informed while enhancing your public presence. Use it to your advantage, and get your name out there.
Social media can be used for fun as well as to develop your business. Just don’t go too overboard and alienate your clients by breaking the rules. But also keep in mind that the rules don’t have to inhibit you from having fun with social media and showing off your business. Remember to be professional, keep our dos and don’ts in mind, and you should be a social media whiz in no time.