If Twitter were a person, they’d be the unpredictable type. You never know what they’re going to say next - some things can be forgotten in an instant, other things can leave a lasting impression, so it’s good to understand how to handle them.Twitter has, on average, over 328 million active users across the globe. It’s still one of the most popular platforms to use amongst individuals and businesses alike.
In an earlier blog, we discussed how and why law firms should create and implement a social media strategy as part of their overall marketing strategy. Social media is a fantastic way for any business to help build up their online reputation as a brand as well as communicate with and nurture leads.
But when it comes to social media platforms such as Twitter, some businesses forget to think about setting up a clear policy for any employees using the platform on the firm’s behalf.
In this blog, we’ll discuss what law firms need to keep in mind when writing up a Twitter policy for law firms for all employees as a guideline of best practices to follow.
You should set clear expectations of who is responsible for handling all activity on Twitter. Whether you have a designated spokesperson or multiple employees or partners using the platform, ensure this is made clear by all parties involved.
If there are employees who use their personal Twitter account, then it is important to make sure that, while they understand that they have their rights to privacy and free speech protected, their activity should never attribute to the firm in any way.
Creation and Managing of Content
With law firms, they must follow the best practice requirements and principles in the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) code of conduct. This means that any activity against the firm’s Twitter account or related social accounts needs to ensure that all content shared is accurate and not misleading.
As Twitter is essentially a public forum, it’s vital that all employees need to adhere to the tone and content of anything that is communicated.
Additionally, always keep in mind that Twitter, like any other online platform, can have a tendency to go viral. Whilst other leading platforms allow you to edit a post, Twitter doesn’t. If you’ve posted something potentially misleading, you’ll have to delete it as quickly as you can and hope no one screenshot it.
So remember: one slip of the Twitter tongue and that one bad status could be preserved online forever.
Comments and Conflicts
It is always recommended that you aim to reply to as many comments, questions or concerns that come your way. Yet with Twitter being so fast-paced, it is understandable if it can’t be managed 100%.
Should there be any conflicts or debates, it’s a good idea to keep these out of public view and deal with matters privately - it is vital that your firm’s online brand maintains a professional reputation and keeps the public’s trust (see the next heading below for more).
Confidentiality and Privacy
Solicitors should be well aware of confidentiality and privacy laws in the real world - so the same rules still apply to Twitter.
It may seem obvious, but although you might use Twitter to gain potential clients, don’t discuss retainers, private information or any other matter. Remember that it’s public and these talks should take place in an official meeting.
And according to the SRA’s code of conduct, you shouldn’t attempt to contact a client from another firm in order to gain any private information, as this is seen as “unfair advantage”.
We recommend to never send any confidential information over any social media platform as there is always a possible risk of a security breach, and with GDPR coming up, this could lead to painful fines of at least 4% of your annual turnover.
When you have a great policy that is both understandable and easy to follow, your employees will feel more at ease when using Twitter - whether directly on behalf of the company or as an individual. Though we’ve given you some things to think about, be sure to read through the SRA’s code of conduct thoroughly regarding social media and see to it that you’re following the guidelines correctly.
As well as putting a policy in place, it may be helpful to host a training session for social media for all employees. Even those who may not currently be using the platform. Helping to educate your colleagues is a surefire way to see that everyone is on the same page and has had a chance to ask any questions or raise concerns they may have.
It’s your firm’s duty to show that your online reputation is a true reflection of your business as legal professionals. You’ll be able to build and maintain relationships with prospects, clients and peers in your industry that is based on trust and transparency.
Ensure to take full advantage of Twitter and how it can help your firm’s strategy in lead generation and your business will come to see the fruits of your labour.
And now for something different. For insights on other social media platforms, take a look at our free eBook, How to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Business, to get ahead.