SHOULD LAW FIRMS BAN USE OF FACEBOOK AT WORK?

Nancy Myrland Social Media, Training in Client Service and Business Development/Sal, Uncategorized 11 Comments

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I predict that we will look back on this discussion in a few years, and find it hard to believe we were dealing with this.

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Martindale-Hubbell Connected, or any of a number of other Social Media networking sites, when managed strategically, they have the potential to serve your firm’s business and marketing plans in a very positive way.

So..what to do about your people and social media to help them become a strategic complement to your business goals?

Set a few guidelines with your professionals and staff. I’m going to oversimplify my suggestions because of space, but to summarize:

Share your marketing and business plans and goals with all of them regularly, and let them know you are in favor of creating 300 new marketing department members, or however many people you have in your firm. Let them know that you look for their use of these, and all other communication vehicles used during office hours, including telephones, computers, conversations, etc., to advance those goals and positions you have decided are important to your firm.

Be very clear about the tone and goals you have established for your firm. Let them know you trust them, give them instruction and guidance, let them know what you expect, what your goals for them are, and that the firm looks forward to Following, Friending and watching them help advance the firm’s goals during business hours if they are interested in using social media. Give them an idea what you consider reasonable use. Better yet, set an example by using these tools effectively yourself, and be obvious to them so they can watch how you do it!

If you are too busy to think about all these guidelines, and this strategy, and how you should be using the tools, then bring someone in to coordinate and lead this entire effort for you if you don’t have time.

Social Media and other networking tools are not going away, so it is wise to deal with them internally now, or you will find yourselves frustrated as new apps are developed to help people mask their use on your computers, or when people say things that are inconsistent or damaging to your brand.

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7 comments
Christine Pilch
Christine Pilch

Firms that block Facebook are simply sticking their heads in the sand, as any employee with a cell phone has Facebook in his or her pocket. Facebook, and social media in general, is a communications tool. People get reacquainted, research information, and rely on the recommendation of others, so they often turn to Facebook first when they need something. If your lawyers are there, and properly utilizing it as a method of educating their friends about what they offer as a lawyer, they are in a position to capture that business.

I have clients who regularly get speaking engagements and new clients from properly utilizing Facebook as a business tool.

This is indeed a loaded question, and it comes down to responsibility. Are your employees responsible enough to use Facebook and still get their work done? If not, you have a bigger problem on your hands.

Alan Haley
Alan Haley

Nancy,

I love your posts! This topic seems to be increasing in relevance in each day. And I agree that we'll look back in a few years and wonder why we even bothered (my words). It just seems like an opportunity so long as the golden rule of guidance is used - not censorship.

Alan

Ces
Ces

I'm anxiously awaiting your next blog post!!!

admin
admin

Hi Chris: I'm all for any shortcut that makes life easier for the user. I believe a lot of comments go unanswered or acknowledged because people don't have or take the time to do so. If this facilitates communication and conversation, then I'm all for it! What do you think of the new Facebook feature?

chrisjtheisen
chrisjtheisen

Nancy what are your thoughts on the new Facebook feature that allows someone to reply to a comment via an email reply. The feature just rolled out the other day but it allows you to reply to a comment via the email Facebook sends you when someone leaves you a wall post or comments on your status update. So long as someone has the alerts set properly it is getting harder and harder to block access to Facebook. Might as well embrace it.

Nancy Myrland
Nancy Myrland

Exactly Christine. These are extremely valuable tools in the hands of people who have been trained, and who understand expectations. Thanks for stopping by!

Nancy Myrland
Nancy Myrland

Alan, thank you...what a nice comment! Yes, although these tools will change daily, the importance of discussion, training and direction in the work environment will not. It is important to set the tone now while people are still being introduced to them. Thank you for your comment!

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