What you post on social media is public. Even when you set your post to private, there is no guarantee of privacy (hello screenshots).
A question came up today that revolved around how to communicate caution to attorneys and staff about how they use social media during this time.
There Is No Blueprint. Let’s Design One.
I get it. Emotions and reactions are, understandably, heightened right now. There is so much that is uncertain in our lives and in the world. We haven’t been confronted with a situation exactly like this before. There is no blueprint that has been written for how to handle everything there is to do with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but we can marry best practices and good business sense to guide you as you communicate with your people.
Allow me to help.
Best Practices To Help Guide Your Employees Social Media Use During This Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
This can be a dicey situation because you don’t want to control your legal and business professionals’ speech on their individual profiles.
There are exceptions when situations get out of control, but even though I play one on TV, I am not a labor & employment lawyer. Consult your favorite lawyer to review your approach in these matters.
Here are my suggestions for how you can communicate with your people about their use of social media during this time. You will want to model it using your own personality, culture, and practices, but this language should help you get started.
Here you go:
“While you are the ultimate decision-maker when it comes to what you post on your personal social media accounts, you might be wondering what your approach should be during these challenging times.
Remember that every sense seems to be heightened right now. This means that even the most casual comment, perspective, or suggestion can be misunderstood. That even happens when there isn’t a virus to contend with because there are only so many characters, exclamation points, and Emoji to add to communicate sentiment and intent. People can interpret your words and meaning in a completely different manner than you intended, leaving you at a loss as to why this happened or how to repair a relationship that is valuable to you.
Even when others agree with thoughts and sentiments you might post about the Coronavirus during this trying time, or about the firm, or your work situation that we acknowledge might be a bit tense right now, this can invite a watercooler full of negativity that can exacerbate the anxiety and tension that is already rising among your friends, family, and followers. Be sure that your comments are the best use of your valuable space and resources.
Remember that clients are anxious and might be trying to decide what is the best direction to turn. The words you share publicly can have a large impact on their attitude toward you, the firm, the services we provide, their ability to stay in business, and their confidence that they can take care of their families in the long run. Sharing negative news about what is going on in the world can add to their anxiety. You want to instill trust and confidence in those we serve and care for, which is a good reason to be extra cautious about your words on social media.
Of course, we would love for you to share any firm content we are posting to social media from firm accounts that you feel your community could benefit from as they are trying to learn how to navigate through this messy middle part of the crisis. You know best if and when that is appropriate, but this would help us reach even more people we hope will hear the important messages we are distributing.
Again, these are your accounts and your decisions. Please don’t think we are trying to direct your use as that is not our intention. These suggestions are simply that…suggestions as to how you might approach social media during this time. In fact, it is probably more important than ever for you to stay in touch with others via social and digital media to help stay close to them while we are being asked to practice physical distancing.
If you have any questions at all about these suggestions, or if you receive any inquiries or see anything about the firm that concerns you while you are on social media that you think we need to pay attention to, we would love to hear from you.
Also, if you think you need any brief tutorials on how to put these and other best practices into place, we can provide that for you. Just let us know as we want to be here for you and to provide the resources you need.
Thank you for all you do for us.
Stay safe. Stay healthy.[Managing Partner/Member]”
Feel free to use any or all of these suggestions. I am sure you will add your personality to what I’ve written. If so, I’d love to see what you write. Please share your version with me in the comments, or via email here.
I’m Here For You
If you find you need help with any of this, please know I am always close by to help you and your firm.
Nancy Myrland is a Marketing, Business Development, Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to maximize business development efforts to grow their practices. Known as the LinkedIn Coach For Lawyers, she is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement marketing and business development efforts that are more relevant to their current and potential clients. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, voice marketing, flash briefings, and livestreaming. She also helps lead law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases.
If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here.
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