Have you heard of the new mind reading app? It lets you know the thoughts and emotions of others, especially those from your past that you have not seen in a long time. You can use it to find evidence about everything from people are lying about why they really missed work to why they are angry with their spouse. It is the stuff of science fiction. It is called Facebook.
Now that we have experienced several years of everyone being able to publish their thoughts instantly to a world-wide audience at essentially no cost, we have all learned it is a mixed blessing. Most of us have seen social media missteps and mishaps. Some lawyers have already used them as evidence. Some of these are really funny. Like when the CEO of Frito Lay tweeted out a long series of items he meant to type into the Google search bar, ending with these two tweets "who is tweeting my google searches?" and "who's watching me?" The answers were "you are" and "as word spreads, millions using social media are."
In my column for the Oklahoma Bar Journal "Thoughts on Social Media: Risks, Rewards and Uncertainties," I cover several aspects of social media including lawyer marketing via social media and online reviews. This article was a bit stressful to finish as I had done my research weeks earlier and Facebook made a lot of changes as I was finalizing it, including killing the Facebook for Business help pages i was intending to reference. Online reviews are potentially problematic for lawyers. A satisfied client wanting to give you a great review may inadvertently say things that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct and the losing opposing party in litigation may decide to post terrible reviews pretending to be an angry former client.
Here is some back story. Facebook is taking on Yelp with a new local business finder feature that was announced in December. The announcement caused a dip in the price of Yelp stock. Review sites are very popular, but no review site would be worth much if a business could cause any negative reviews to be deleted. (You would end up with the review site equivalent of the Lake Wobegon effect where everyone was above average.) So Facebook only will delete a review on a Facebook business page (to use lawyer language) for good cause. I have concerns about this for lawyers and so have included in my article a workaround to disable reviews entirely, which is more difficult than you might think. Of course, it is Facebook, so that could all change tomorrow.
But I do believe that many lawyers, particularly small firm lawyers, should explore using paid social media campaigns and with Facebook you need some sort of business page to do that.
Enjoy the article, but I will say in advance that there are still changes ahead on how we use social media, including social media marketing.