According to a report issued by Business Insider, Americans spend more time on social media sites than any other Internet activity. So, what does that have to do with your small law firm? Yes, it means your staff is Tweeting and Facbooking while they’re at the office. Should this be a concern? Yes, it most definitely should – especially if the content of their social posts includes information about your firm.

Businesses of all shapes and sizes are beginning to enact social media policies for employees in order to protect confidential client and company information. In an age where digital privacy seems not be nonexistent, it’s important to clearly spell out what is and is not acceptable to share on the web. Developing a social media policy can help keep your employees informed and your firm’s information safe. Good social media policies will do the following:

Explain what information is and is not confidential

When working with a staff full of intelligent lawyers, you may think it’s safe to assume they know what information, about the firm or about a client, is confidential. In order to avoid confusion, clearly spell out what kind of information, if any, is sharable. Typically, information involving financials and client matter details are not to be discussed on social media, but messages about company culture are acceptable. This should be as straight-forward as possible.

Explain the consequences of breaking the policy

Having a set response to an employee sharing confidential information on social media demonstrates the seriousness of this offense.

Explain the proper way to engage with people about your firm online

Ideally, you would always want your employees to write positive comments online if they say anything about your small law firm. Unfortunately, that’s not always how things play out. Taking a page out of Adidas’ social media policy and ask employees to disclose that they are not speaking on behalf of the firm, but rather expressing their own personal opinion. This distances your organization away from any negativity and holds the poster responsible for any repercussions.

Whether you decide to create a social media policy for your firm now or in the future, keep in mind that clarity is key. If you need to cite examples from other companies, you can find a great roundup of corporate social media policies right here.

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