Social media policy law firmIs it possible for a law firm to adopt a five word social media policy?

Microsoft’s social media policy in 2005 was exactly that.

“Be smart.” Or, if that isn’t clear enough, “Don’t be stupid.”

That from from Microsoft employee and tech evangelist, Robert Scoble (@scobleizer) in the bible on blogging, Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers, co-authored by Shel Israel (@shelisrael) and Robert.

A recent post by Ryan Pierson (@FrugalGeek) on employee social guidelines cited the Microsoft policy as an example of keeping social media simple.

I am in total agreement with Pierson that before defining guidelines, which are apt to feel restrictive by employees, identify the benefits of social media. After all, your employees are your law firm’s biggest asset in building the firm’s brand. You ought to be seeking the best way to empower them to build relationships and reputations through social media, not chill their activity.

As one large D.C. based law firm told me this summer, rather than focusing on a policy, they are looking at a social media education program for their lawyers and other professionals. The education will cover the benefits of social media for business development and best practices — to realize the full benefits of social media while reducing risks. Their goal is to get the firm’s lawyers building relationships and reputations via social.

Lawyers have a license they don’t want to put at risk. Firms of any size have policies in place governing various practices, including public relations. The two together along with social media training may accomplish more than any social media policy.

That and “Be smart. Don’t be stupid.”

 Image courtesy of Flickr by Sarah Le Clerc.

Hat tip to my friend Jake Luddington (@jakeludington) for turning me on to Ryan Pierson’s post.