LegalTech 2010: Design Your Social Media Policy to Protect Your Firm

by 04g7F1nl02 on February 1, 2010 · 1 comment

in social media for lawyers,Web 2.0

Monica Bay moderated the second panel on first day of LegalTech 2010, focusing on one of the most fascinating topics currently: Social Media Policy. The three panelists discussed different aspects of social media policy which gave a nice well rounded view of the topic, and specifically, different ways to embrace it.

The Cautious Side of Social Media Policy

Lesley Rosenthal – VP and General Counsel and Secretary of Lincoln Center discussed the best ways to control social media, embracing it with maximum caution and ensuring detailed audit of all areas where the organization exposes itself. Lincoln center started paying attention to social media when Facebook and Twitter pages grew up organically and got to a stage where needed some structure and legal involvement.

Lesley covered a wide and deep variety of copyright, trademark, labor and employment, consumer protection, lobbying laws, raffles/games of chance, privacy elements that should be covered when forming a Social Media Policy.

Lesley recommend building social media on existing policies, her main focus was to not become “the department of ‘No’ ” but to find ways to say ‘Yes’ while building the right rules around it.

The Trusting side of Social Media Policy

A slightly different approach was presented by Ted Banks and Mark Bisard – By using social media you HELP your company, and grow your business while you’re at it;  the main change is shifting the thinking -  you need to focus on your target audience, too many people think internally “what I want” rather than “what my customer wants”.

Ted exemplified that just like Media Panics – Media Silly acts (like trashing your boss on Facebook when he is one of your ‘friends’) have always been here, and if not going to be done on one channel – they will be done on another.  So it’s not the channel you need to avoid and change – it’s the employee attitude and Behavior.

First gut reaction of a cooperation to these new channels is to ban: ban any social media channel and ban talking about your job on these channels. There are millions of reasons/excuses to ban these that could potentially lead to serious damage.  All of them can be contradicted by the fact that the end result could be achieved by a different media communication channel. Ted states that by banning social media interaction, the organization convinces the younger audience that “management is clueless” and you lose a chance to engage the most articulate, creative and passionate people, to be working for your enterprise.  What a way to damage a business.

A suggestion:  embrace social media with the right training.

You want people to follow values, not rules.  If you train people to communicate intelligently, they will feel more engaged and interested with the organization. By that you are tackling the core problem of silly actions and silly words, that could happen on any other channel.  By doing that you increase trust, you create an overall attitude to be better employees.

“The bad stuff is out there anyway, making its damage – ignoring it wont make it go away”. Ted’s bottom line was that Anarchy with no basic rules shouldn’t exist – its all about the how. And that’s why you should invest at training with communication.

So what should people be trained on? People should be educated on liability, on the company message, limits on workspace use (its ok to do it but too much – is too much). Teach them what they write is not private, that they are still talking business, that they should be polite,  and prepare for scenarios of sandbagging and how to handle them.  Give them the trust so that they feel a sense of responsibility.

Mark Bisard from American Express: presented American Express’s mantra for Social Media use: more reward, less risk. By engaging social media you increase: productivity gains, efficiency gains, innovative gains, information sharing, and…. it’s free.

“One of our new metric of success is refer a friend” – says Mark. People trust people, they don’t trust what you tell them in a commercial, and that’s why you need to build on trust.

Mark shares a case study of a philanthropic project American Express that “sent out Net Promoter Score through the roof” , by focusing on communities and their good, which kind of reminded me of an article I read about Dov Seidman earlier last week, that talks about doing good business as a side effect of doing good.

The interesting point Mark mentioned was embracing unofficial fan pages and external social media account random people had set up to help them out, instead of instructing them to shut it down or ignoring it. Your homepage – says Mark- is not your site’s homepage, is your social media channel homepage (be it a Facebook fan page, Youtube, twitter) – that’s where you need to invest your efforts at.

In Connected we have discussed Social Media Policy numerous times in the Social Media Policy Group, and I highly recommend you visit the group to check out past and current discussions and webinars.

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Alin Wagner-Lahmy's Blog
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