by Kirsten Hodgson
From talking to business development teams within some of the international law firms in London, it seems they either have social media guidelines/policies in place or are in the process of developing these. But, those I spoke to who have developed guidelines, say these haven’t yet been communicated to all employees.
It is important to ensure everyone within your firm understands your guidelines. Not doing so poses a huge risk as you’re leaving people to their own devices. Even if you block access to social media (not something I’d recommend doing but that’s another post), your employees can access sites via their mobile phones or at home. Letting them know what is acceptable, what you would like them to do, and who to turn to if they have any questions will greatly lessen this risk.
A challenge one of the teams I spoke to raised is how do you train large numbers of people?
Firstly, let them know you have a policy. Grant Thornton in the UK put out a great video for staff a month or so ago, which is on YouTube. This is brilliant. It quickly conveys the firm’s attitude towards social media and answers the key questions people are likely to have.
Secondly, organise training sessions for all staff - you could train selected people in each office who, in turn, train others, or do this online (provided you can see who has undertaken the training and who hasn’t), and build this into your induction process. This training should provide an overview of your policy and guidelines, legal issues, a basic introduction to each social media platform, and some common mistakes and how to avoid them.
You can then organise more targeted and in-depth social media training for those who will be using the tools from a work perspective. This could cover responsibilities, goals, expectations, the escalation process, how to respond in a crisis etc.
The aim is to minimise risks – both legal and PR – and to give employees the information and knowledge they need to better do their jobs.
Guidelines and training are important but trust is key. Once you’ve trained people, trust them. If they break your trust then deal with these instances. If you involve your people, seek their input and you might be surprised by how good some of their ideas and suggestions are.
What other tips would you give professional services firms to train their staff in the use of social media?
What other good examples of professional services firms doing so are there?
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