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The Do’s and Don’ts of Law Firm Social Media

December 2017

Social media is a key marketing tool for any modern business, law firms included. If you want to reach new audiences, widen your brand reach, and stay in touch with past or existing clients, social media is essential. Simply having a social media presence won’t automatically pay dividends, though: there is an etiquette to social media marketing, especially for lawyers. Here are a few major do’s and don’ts to help you understand how to optimize your social strategy.

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Do establish a broad presence: Many law firms either hit just professional-leaning social networks (LinkedIn, Google +) or the most popular social sites (Facebook, Twitter). In most cases, you are going to need a presence in both categories. Professional networking sites are a good way to communicate with existing clients or establish your firm as a leading industry authority. Popular social sites are vital for reaching a broader audience and making your firm seem friendly and approachable.

Don’t share advice online: Social media seems like a great forum to share legal advice and answer questions in an informal space. However, you need to tread carefully. Offering legal advice on Facebook or Twitter might cause your firm or your lawyers to wander inadvertently into attorney-client relationships. Doing so makes you vulnerable to ethical violations, confidentiality lapses, or conflicts of interest. Instead, share content on your website that explains legal services or answers frequently asked questions, or encourage followers to contact you for a consultation if they ask questions on social media. Always be careful about providing legal advice on the internet.

Do use disclaimers: Using disclaimers on your firm’s social accounts can help you avoid attorney-client attachments you didn’t plan for and don’t want. Specifically, these disclaimers should tell readers that you are just offering general information, not advice; that your posts, comments, or replies do not constitute the formation of an attorney-client relationship; and that anyone seeking specific legal advice needs to contact you or another lawyer directly for a consultation.

Don’t mention your cases: This one probably goes without saying, but it’s too important to leave off the list. You cannot discuss a case on social media. Ever. You can’t discuss anything that falls under attorneyclient privilege, but you also can’t speculate about verdicts, talk about opposing counsel, or complain about judges. Any discussion or mention of your casework on social media can and will get your firm in trouble.

Do share your content: Especially because of the ethical risks of using social media to answer questions or provide advice, you want to focus on sharing your website content. Blogs, news bulletins, FAQs, service pages, videos, and other types of content can answer your followers’ questions without getting you in hot water. Sharing this content also gets people to your site, builds trust in your brand, establishes your expertise, encourages shares, helps your SEO, and improves your chances of winning over new clients.

Observing these guidelines will help you reap the benefits of a strong social media strategy without falling into traps.