4 Reasons You Need To Remain Ethical When Posting On Social Media
Social media is an excellent way to promote your law firm and build a positive reputation. There are a number of platforms, such as Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter, which can increase exposure in addition to your own website.
For example, when posting on these sites, it may be tempting to share personal opinions, memes or political propaganda, but that can do more harm than good. What you may think is just a joke, could totally offend someone. Once that happens, they will spread the word about how much they dislike you and your reputation will become tarnished.
As an Attorney, Keep these 4 Things in Mind when posting to Social Media
Risk Of Losing Attorney License
An article on the American Bar Association website reports that legal ethics regulators across America are skimming the various social media websites for attorney violations. Each jurisdiction has its own set of laws and regulations, and all attorneys need to check for the specifics in their area to avoid any accidental violation.
There are limits on attorney advertising and if the rules are not followed properly, lawyers can end up losing their license.
You Could Accidentally Create An Attorney/Client Relationship
There is a fine line between providing general knowledge of the law and giving advice. When attorneys post on any form of social media, they need to be careful of the information they are providing to the public.
You are never to give someone detailed advice on a situation. You can provide the laws that surround the issue, but once you ask for further personal information or lay out a plan of action for them, you are then bound by an attorney/client relationship.
When posting off-color comments or memes, chances are, someone you know will be offended eventually. This looks unprofessional and will end up giving you and your law firm a bad name.
You should also refrain from posting personal rants and opinions. These angry outbursts can be shared by many people and will reflect badly upon your reputation, causing clients, judges and other attorneys to think of you with disdain. Just look at ESPN and Curt Shilling for a perfect example of how not to be professional.
Accidentally Exposing Confidential Information
The detailed information that can be accidentally exposed when using social media on a mobile device could present a problem with current cases if not managed properly. Some sites will include the location from where the post was made. These may also include photo posts, so be sure to disable that feature if at all possible.
Another concern is that once connections are made via social media, personal details become more visible to others if proper settings are not put into place. All of these issues could be detrimental to a case. The attorney needs to take great care to avoid exposing the private information of clients.
As an attorney, following the guidelines set up by the Bar Association and the legal regulations of your local area will keep you from risking your reputation. Never post anything on social media without looking it over and making sure it doesn’t violate any rules.
Be sure to not disclose any personal information about you or potential clients.
Being knowledgeable about what is acceptable to post on social media is of utmost importance. Be sure to stay up to date with any changes that may take place. Keeping your name clean will create a sense of trust from your followers and will help your law firm to grow.
For more information on how to have an effective online presence for your law firm, please read: How Lawyers Can Use Social Media Without Giving Advice and 4 Tips For Creating A Successful Attorney Website.