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Social Media: Opportunities and Issues Jill Filipovic, social media maven, blogger and recovering attorney.

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Presentation on theme: "Social Media: Opportunities and Issues Jill Filipovic, social media maven, blogger and recovering attorney."— Presentation transcript:

1 Social Media: Opportunities and Issues Jill Filipovic, social media maven, blogger and recovering attorney.

2 Who Am I? Jill Filipovic, a Jill of many trades Editor of, one of the oldest political blogs around, since 2004. Freelance writer for places like the Guardian, the New York Daily News, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Above the Law, and many others. Social media manager and consultant for non-profits, companies and individuals. Attorney and former commercial litigator.

3 Agenda What is social media? Why social media? So how do I use social media? Socializing ethically.

4 Legal Things THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. Really, this is not legal advice. I’ll be discussing some legal and ethical issues, but this is simply informational. It is not the same thing as legal advice. I have taken pains to make sure the information I present is accurate and hopefully useful, but it’s general and may not be relevant to your particular circumstances. I recommend you consult an attorney who specializes in these issues if you want information about how this general information applies to your circumstances. I am speaking today in my capacity as a social media consultant and not as a lawyer. This is not legal advice!

5 What is Social Media? A conversation For sharing information About building relationships, not just self-promotion

6 Why Social Media? Manage and Humanize Your Brand Social media more than just a PR strategy. It allows you to interface in real time with your audience, potential clients and news media. Social media engagement means that your name can be one of the first things a reporter sees when they look someone to quote or when they hunt for background information. Increased visibility in news articles and speaking engagements means attracting more clients and positioning yourself/your company as leaders in your field and actual human beings.

7 Why Social Media? Participate in the Conversation The conversation is happening with or without you. You are already being discussed online and on social media platforms. You can participate, or you can let the conversation continue without you. Participation gives you (a) information and (b) some control.

8 Why Social Media? Your Audience Is Using It There are more than 850 million users on Facebook. More than 90% of students and young professionals are on Facebook. There are more than 468 million Twitter accounts, with a million added every day. The party is happening. You can go or you can stay home.

9 Why Social Media? Effective Customer Service Platforms like Facebook and Twitter can provide quick & easy answers to frequently-asked questions. Meets students where they’re at. Public answers mean that other students and customers can easily access the information. Signals transparency and responsiveness.

10 So How Do I Use Social Media? First, listen. Know what your community is talking about, and what they’re saying about you and your sphere of business. Know which topics are cutting-edge and important. Know where there are gaps to fill or where your perspective would be valuable.

11 How to Listen Saved Searches Mentions of your company’s name Keywords, key topics and hashtags Google Alerts Facebook Monitoring

12 So How Do I Use Social Media? Second, add value. Establish yourself as a thought leader and valuable participant in your community, not a PR machine. Post and converse about the pertinent issues in your field, not just yourself. Be useful to your audience: Answer questions and send out relevant information. Have guidelines in place to respond quickly and effectively to your audience and community members.

13 How to Add Value Establish benchmarks. Determine how often you will engage on which platforms. Have mechanisms in place to engage regularly. If you’re using social media for customer service, ensure immediate responses to customer questions and issues. Remember that social media is public. Your response time, tone and efficacy are key.

14 So How Do I Use Social Media? Third, know your tools. All social media are not created equal. Broadcasting identical information across all of your platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, your website) gives the impression that you’re a dehumanized corporate monolith that doesn’t know what it’s doing when it comes to new media.

15 Twitter: A conversational, informal platform. Messages are 140 characters or less. Use @ reply and DM for direct-to-consumer messaging. Use general functionality to tweet pertinent information, victories, interesting articles. Your Toolbox

16 Facebook: Offers a deeper level of relationship management than Twitter. Users can “like” your page and receive direct updates. Provides a simple platform for presenting company information, FAQs and regular updates. Allows users to comment, so must be monitored regularly. Your Toolbox

17 LinkedIn: Professional connection tool Groups can be a good way to connect with others in your industry Good for professional relationships and recruiting Your Toolbox

18 So How Do I Use Social Media? Fourth, integrate. Fit social media into your existing communications structure. How does social media fit in with your website? Your current branding? Your customer service solutions? How are you measuring success with your social media platforms? Who is in charge of social media?

19 Staff appropriately. Effective social media is part of a holistic communications strategy. A few tweets a week doesn’t cut it. Social media requires actual man (or woman)-power. One person needs to be ultimately responsible for each platform. Be flexible. It’s not realistic to expect that every or FB response will be reviewed before it’s posted. Invest in a trusted social media point person so that they can respond efficiently. Have guidelines. Will you allow negative Facebook comments? What gets deleted and what do you respond to?

20 Set up metrics. How will you define “success” in your social media strategy? Don’t assume that social media will just work by virtue of having a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Look at what properties already exist (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc) and evaluate how we’re using them. Are they effective? What seems to be working? What doesn’t? Establish qualitative and quantitative metrics. Look at the numbers and the content. Track followers, fans and likes, but also look at who is engaging and how they are engaging.

21 Socializing Ethically Social media presents a series of rapidly-evolving ethical and legal issues. Understanding the ethical issues is empowering. Fear is not your friend. The vast majority of companies, attorneys and individuals who use social media do not run into ethical problems. The benefits are enormous, so know the rules, understand your company’s policies, understand your personal risks and obligations, and socialize widely and ethically.

22 Socializing Ethically The “No Duh” rules that even the smartest among us can forget: Your company should have a social media policy. Create one, disseminate it, make sure all employees are aware of it and follow it. Make your social media policy reasonable. Today, people are going to have personal social media accounts. Let them. Just establish clear lines between the personal and the professional. Make sure your employees understand the legal and ethical issues in your field – we’ll get to those next. Social media is public. Don’t put it out there if you wouldn’t be comfortable with your boss, your co-workers, your clients and a judge you’re in front of seeing it. At the same time, social media is social, and so it’s partially about voice and personality. Don’t be afraid to be funny or to take a position. Just because you’re a suit doesn’t mean you have to be a drone.

23 Socializing Ethically Don’t use social media to complain about a client or customer (even something like, “Ugh 9am client meetings are the worst”), and definitely don’t use it to complain about a judge or a legal decision. Stay positive. Don’t diss students, clients, competitors or other companies. Be mindful of confidentiality issues. Focus your social media discussions on issues and customer service. Remember that if you’re discussing legal issues, what you put on social media can break attorney-client privilege, so don’t discuss anything even in the realm of what you discuss with your lawyer. Be mindful of both company intel and PR: Don’t put it out there if you wouldn’t want a competitor or a reporter to see it. For attorneys: There are strict ethics rules for attorney advertising, so be wary of using social media to advertise your services. Don’t claim expertise. A good rule is “Show, don’t tell”: Demonstrate your expertise in a particular area rather than simply claiming to have it.

24 Socializing Ethically for Lawyers A few nitty-gritty client confidentiality issues for the attorneys in the room: Information given to you by a client is obviously off-limits, but depending on the circumstances almost anything client-related may be off the table, including the representation itself. Many clients may not even want a win publicized, since it could encourage more lawsuits. Just because a forum claims to be “private” doesn’t mean that a judge will agree. Off-the-record listserves or LinkedIn groups are not necessary protected spaces. Just because the writing appears on a confidential listserve does not mean it’s protected by the work-product privilege. If it would cause ethical or privilege issues to say it publicly, then don’t say it on a “confidential” listserve or online discussion. Social media is largely public. Don’t communicate with a client about their matters using social media. Social media is not a place to seek strategic or legal advice on a particular matter, even if you obscure a client’s identity. The client or anyone familiar with the case will be able to understand that your tweet or Facebook post is about them.

25 The Ethics of “Friending” for Lawyers For attorneys, social media profiles can include pertinent information and evidence for a case – for example, the criminal defendant who claims he’s never seen that gun in his life but is found posing for a photo with it on his Facebook page. You don’t want to neglect social media – doing so can even be negligent. However, you cannot use false or misleading justifications to gain information. It is not ok to friend someone on facebook (or ask someone else to friend them) so that you can gain access to their private information. Don’t “friend” judges. Don’t engage in ex parte communications with judges, the opposite side or opposing counsel.

26 The Ethics of “Friending” for Debt Collectors Using social media to track down debt evaders may present serious legal issues. These are new issues and are still being litigated, so it’s in your best interests to act conservatively. The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act protects debtors from being harassed and prohibits collectors from making false or misleading statements. “Friending” a debtor to get their information may violate the FDCPA. According to the FTC, “FDCPA mandates that collectors must disclose that they are attempting to collect on a debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose. It also requires that collectors state in subsequent communications with the debtor that they are a debt collector. A collector's failure to make these disclosures would violate Section 807(11).” For debt collectors and companies: Be wary of using social media for debt collection. Legal or not, remember: Social media is public and social. At the very least, using it to track people down can make you look very bad. At worst, you may be breaking the law or putting yourself and your company at risk.

27 That’s it! Go socialize! (Or ask some questions) Questions later? Feel free to get in touch:

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