Smart social media ethics


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This presentation offers up tips for avoiding the ethical pitfalls of social media and guidelines for how to stay on the straight and narrow with your social media efforts.

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  • That all sounds pretty good, right?
  • Don’t lie, cheat or do anything to misrepresent yourself online. This goes without saying, but it’s amazing the number of people who do this. Don’t let that be you.
  • Never pass off someone else’s work as your own. If you include photos, videos, papers and research on your website or blog, make sure to provide attribution to the author or owner of the content.
  • Tennessee doesn’t have ethics rules for attorneys as it relates to social media specifically. However, ethics rules still apply regarding the solicitation of clients Rule 7.3 (a): “A lawyer shall not by in-person, live telephone, or real-time electronic contact solicit professional employment from a potential client when a significant motive for the lawyer's doing so is the lawyer's pecuniary gain.” Although you can use social media to build relationships with people, you cannot actively use social media to solicit potential clients.
  • You can provide general legal information and use social media as an educational tool. However, attorneys must be careful not to give legal advice on specific cases. Doing so could trigger an attorney-client relationship.
  • In some states, it’s an ethical violation for attorneys to friend judges. Although Tennessee does not have any rules against this, at least one state (Florida) has said this violates ethics rules, while a few other states say it’s okay. This area is still very gray, so be careful before you go down this route. Also, take care when connecting with co-workers, employers and clients.
  • Don’t share information about your clients or about your company. For lawyers, this is particularly important.
  • If you ever receive free products or services to review on your blog or if you receive payment to endorse a company on your blog, the FTC requires that you disclose that information. The same is true for client and investor relationships. is a tool that can help you with disclosures.
  • Don’t post anything online that you’re not comfortable with the whole world seeing. Even with privacy settings, there’s still the possibility that content or photos will spread. Google never forgets. So, when in doubt, leave it out.
  • That all sounds pretty good, right?
  • Representative Anthony Weiner posted a suggestive photo of himself. He quickly deleted it, but some bloggers got a screen shot of it and posted it online. If that weren’t bad enough, he then lied about it, saying that his account had been hacked. Later, he finally admitted to doing it when other photos were uncovered and he resigned from office.
  • Just this week, Mitt Romney experienced a huge increase in the number of followers (reportedly more than 116,00). Many experts believe he bought fake followers to up his numbers. Last year, the same allegations were made against Newt Gingrich after he experienced a spike in numbers.
  • Webcopy Plus pulled a photo from Google images and was sued by the photographer because they used a copyrighted image without permission, payment or acknowledgement. They settled the suit for $4,000. The sad thing is that the photo could have been purchased from a stock photography site for $10. Don’t let
  • That all sounds pretty good, right?
  • In other words, the same standards of conduct that apply to overall employee behavior should hold true on social media as well.
  • Building an effective social media policy should be a group effort. Bring together your human resources, IT, marketing and legal team members to build a policy that is comprehensive and looks at all of the aspects and issues associated with social media involvement.
  • Make sure your policy calls attention to the appropriate laws and guidelines for your industry. For instance, attorneys have different laws and rules they have to abide by than other employees. Make sure your policy includes relevant rules for all employees.
  • Don’t leave employees guessing about what they can talk about online when it comes to your company. What can they share? What’s off limits? Provide clear guidelines about what employees can talk about and what violates confidentiality.
  • Employees shouldn’t share information online on behalf of the company. That should be left to a designated staff member or team.
  • Once you have developed your policy, don’t just give it to employees and expect them to read it. Conduct a training session to go over the various aspects of the policy. Also, it would help to train employees how to use social media the right way. Employees can be a powerful and useful force to spread the word about your company, so equip them to do that in a smart, ethical way.
  • Smart social media ethics

    1. 1. Social Media Ethics:What You Need to Know Laura Click Blue Kite Marketing @lauraclick
    2. 2. Let’s talk about social media @lauraclick
    4. 4. Build relationships.
    5. 5. Enhance customer service.
    6. 6. Communicate during a crisis. Image credit: Kelsey Wynns
    7. 7. Test ideas & get feedback. Image credit
    8. 8. Find business opportunities.
    9. 9. And so much more…
    10. 10. But, how can you do it ethically?
    11. 11. Be honest.
    12. 12. Give proper credit.
    13. 13. Do not solicit clients.
    14. 14. Don’t give specific legal advice.
    15. 15. Be careful about who you friend.
    16. 16. Don’t share confidential information.
    17. 17. Disclose your relationships.
    18. 18. Usediscretion. Google never forgets!
    19. 19. Here are some people (and businesses)who didn’t follow these tips
    20. 20. Should I tweet this suggestive picture?Image source:Talk News Radio Service
    21. 21. Buying Twitter Followers?
    22. 22. The $4,000 photo Read the story here.
    23. 23. This is why you need a policy.
    24. 24. Keep it consistent with your overall employee policy.
    25. 25. Bring together the right team members.• Human Resources• IT• Marketing• Legal• Customer service• Executive leadership
    26. 26. Include industry guidelines and laws.
    27. 27. Determine what’s fair game to share.
    28. 28. Designate who shareson behalf of the company.
    29. 29. Train employees.
    30. 30. So, how do you be successful? Here are some best practices
    31. 31. How to Use Social Media the Right Way• Educate people.• Develop relationships.• Be helpful.• Don’t be overly promotional.• Share your content.• Share other people’s content.• Follow the Golden Rule.• Have fun! @lauraclick
    32. 32. Ideas for Title Insurance Agents• Write a blog.• Write guest articles.• Make targeted connections for referrals.• Connect with your community. @lauraclick
    33. 33. You can do it!
    34. 34. Any questions?
    35. 35. Laura Click Founder & CEO - Blue Kite Marketing www.flybluekite.comConnect with me!Email: laura@flybluekite.comTwitter: @lauraclick