Did you know you have an ethical duty to stay current on issues involving Facebook and social media?
And that this duty might require you to investigate your client’s social media presence and advise them how it could impact their case?
If not, you should take a moment to review Rule of Professional Conduct Rule 1.1 (Competence). Comment 8 to that rule says lawyers “should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with the technology [which has been interpreted to cover social media] relevant to the lawyer’s practice.”
While you’re at it, take a look at 2014 Formal Ethics Opinion 5, which says: “[A] lawyer must advise a civil litigation client about the legal ramifications of the client’s postings on social media as necessary to represent the client competently.”
This means if you find bad stuff on your client’s Facebook page, you have to tell them how that might hurt their case – for example, being used for impeachment at trial.
So should you advise them to erase all damaging postings or delete their account? That depends.
“The lawyer may advise the client to remove postings on social media if the removal is done in compliance with the rules and law on preservation and spoliation of evidence,” says 2014 FEO 5.
Facebook Woes Go Beyond Mr. Zuckerberg
Facebook has had a rough couple of years. It’s faced public condemnation – and congressional inquiry – over issues of privacy, advertising and political manipulation.
But life has also been getting harder for users – including lawyers. On the one hand, Facebook is an undeniably powerful tool for messaging, marketing and branding. Plus it’s free.
On the other hand, you don’t want to get reported to the State Bar for misusing social media. And you don’t want to be sued for malpractice for technological incompetence.
Avoid either of these outcomes by:
- Staying on top of relevant ethics rules.
- Educating your office on the ethical requirements.
- Using Facebook and social media wisely (meaning cautiously).
- Calling the State Bar or your professional liability carrier when in doubt.
5 Tips for Becoming a Facebook Champ
If you’re currently on Facebook, do you post videos to your account? If not, you might be missing a golden opportunity. Videos have been shown to have 135 percent better organic reach than images, which similarly draw far more engagement than mere test.
Here are five tips for using videos on Facebook effectively, courtesy of digital marketing expert Tom Buckland.
- Grab their attention quickly. User newsfeeds are already overloaded with videos. You’ve got less than 10 seconds to persuade them to stop and consider yours.
- Post videos directly to Facebook. “One mistake many people make is sharing a link via Facebook to a video uploaded on Youtube (or elsewhere), rather than uploading the video on Facebook itself,” writes Buckland in Small Business Bonfire. “Videos uploaded natively (directly) receive up to 4 times more views than other video formats.”
- Select a good thumbnail. You might not know that you don’t have to use the thumbnail (the screenshot that appears before a user clicks “play”) that is automatically selected when you post the video. You can select any screenshot from the video, or you can upload your own image.
- Add a Call to Action. You don’t just want viewers to watch your video. You want them to take the next step – by calling your firm, scheduling an appointment or requesting more info. Do this with a Call to Action (or CTA). Facebook lets you choose various CTAs (“Learn More,” “Contact Us”) quickly and easily.
- Use Facebook Live or stream live video. “[U]sers watch for 3 times longer and are 10 times more likely to comment on live videos compared to regular videos,” says Buckland. “There are lots of possibilities in how to use Facebook Live. General ideas to get you started could include hosting a live Facebook event, broadcasting from an on-site event at your business, or hosting an interactive Q&A.”
Do you use Facebook? What works for you?