The world of social media tends to be relaxed and informal. This makes it a great way to build a sense of community and start a conversation with clients and potential clients. But the very informality that makes social media so powerful for building your practice can also get you in hot water, if you’re not careful. This is especially true if you’re accustomed to using Twitter or Facebook in your personal life.
You might have heard about the North Carolina judge who was reprimanded for “friending” an attorney on Facebook. The attorney was trying a case before the judge and the two exchanged comments about that case online. It seems they didn’t realize that communications don’t cease to be ex parte just because they take place in a social media setting instead of over the phone or on the courthouse steps.
And you are not the only person you need to be worried about. Online postings by employees on behalf of your firm can have negative consequences, too. These consequences can range from damage to your firm’s reputation all the way to serious liability.
The takeaway? Don’t forget that the rules of ethics apply to your actions in the online world, just like they apply in the physical world. Check your state’s ethics rules before launching any online marketing campaigns or venturing into unfamiliar social media territory. And make sure your practice has a social media policy that governs your employees’ online actions on behalf of your firm.
The world of online marketing can be an overwhelming one for attorneys. That’s why Sanford M. Fisch and I have collaborated on our soon-to-be-released book, Dominating Your Market. In it, we offer a blueprint for establishing a commanding internet presence for your firm, giving you all the tools you need to harness the unique power of the internet to position your firm as the source clients in your market seek out to meet their needs.
President & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
6050 Santo Rd Ste 240
San Diego, CA 92124