Law Firm Social Media Strategy

I am speaking at the Iowa Bar Association's Bridge the Gap seminar on May 9, 2013 on The Lessons I've Learned From Seven Years of Legal Blogging.

I am excited about the presentation as it is the first time I've spoken on legal blogging for a couple of years. I've given numerous presentations about social media and the law over the past several years but at the end of the day it's fun to discuss why lawyers should blog and how it can be done effectively.

I'd also suggest watching this short video on Law Firm Social Media Strategy from the LXBN Network. The video has a couple of excellent tips for lawyers to remember when using social media.

  1. Make sure your social media efforts line up with the rest of your client development strategy.
  2. Provide value on the subjects and industries where your clients are looking for it.

 

Iowa Business Law Services: Rush on Business Companion Web Site

 I am very happy to announce my new companion Web site to go along with this blog at www.iowabusinesslawservices.com. The site will feature information on my legal practice areas, a simple way to submit information for formation of a new corporation or LLC and also a video resources section with tips on business and franchise law. We'll also feature many other business and franchise law resources as we develop out the site.

A new offering with the new site rollout is that I am immediately implementing a Subscription Services Plan to make legal services more affordable for the new or early stage company. Check it out for details.

I also set up a new Facebook page for the blog be sure to 'Like' the page for easy access to updates on business and franchise law.

Thanks so much for following Rush on Business. And look for some other exciting offerings from me very soon relating to franchise law.

Employers Should Consider Policies on Ownership of Social Media Accounts

Daniel Burnick of the Alabama Employment Law Report has an interesting post on a case involving a disputed Twitter account where the employee left his employment, changed his Twitter account name and then kept all the followers he had with his former employer.

In Kravitz v. PhoneDog, Kravitz used @phonedog for his Twitter account while he was employed. He left his employment and changed his account to @noahkravitz. He also took 17,000 followers with him which left his former employer with the task of building an entirely new follower base. PhoneDog had no policies in place regarding who owned the social media account.  An extended legal battle occurred but was recently settled.

As Burnick points out, the key is to have policies in place about who owns social media accounts when they are used on behalf of the company. To date, I have yet to see a single employer who has taken the initiative to address the ownership of social media accounts in their employment handbook. It's an issue that many business owners may overlook. But the time required to rebuild a Twitter or other social media follower base is invaluable. If you've worked hard to capture a strong social media following you won't want to make the same mistake as PhoneDog.

It's a great idea as you enter the new year to review your handbook policies and procedures to make sure your current with existing laws and trends.  

P.S. Also consider the issue if you are buying a business. Do not assume that you will automatically become the owner of a Twitter or other social media account when you buy an existing business. You will want to specifically address the issue in your purchase agreement.

Rush Nigut to Speak at ABI Social Media Roundtable

Rush Nigut of Brick Gentry, P.C. will be one of the featured speakers at the Iowa Association of Business and Industry's Social Media Roundtable on November 14, 2012 at the Honey Creek Lodge Resort. Rush will deliver the keynote general session presentation on New Developments and the Future of Social Media. He will also lead one of the HR breakout sessions on Social Media and the Litigation Process. For the marketing track he will be a panelist on Learning Best Practices from Companies in Iowa Who Actively Use Social Media.

For more information on the seminar please see the event agenda.

Iowa Creativity Summit March 1st at Drake University

Lawyers are not immediately recognized as the most creative souls on the planet but some of the best lawyers I know definitely have the the creative spark. I have seen many who were classic doodlers, photographers and painters. Some of them were also the most creative in the courtroom and ultimately very successful in winning cases. That's why I am intrigued by the Iowa Creativity Summit that is scheduled for March 1st at Drake University (Olmstead Center). Your registration includes dinner and two workshops led by best selling author Matthew E. May. The evening program begins at 5:15 p.m. and ends at 9:45 p.m.

This is a great opportunity for business leaders and employees to familiarize themselves with the creative process. As the program says, creativity isn't just for marketers or designers, it's for everybody. Even lawyers and entrepreneurs!

For more information on the program click:  Iowa Creativity Summit

For more information on Matthew E. May click: The Laws of Subtraction

Importance of Social Media Policies and Training

In this video I discuss the importance of social media policies and training for employees on social media issues. While researching a presentation on social media legal issues I was surprised to learn that only 40% of businesses have a social media policy. Even less conduct employee training on social media issues. To serve this need we are now offering Social Media Policies and Training Workshops.

 

Social Media: From Hiring to Firing Seminar

Join me for a webinar this coming Wednesday, February 15, 2012 through MyEntreNet entitled Social Media: From Hiring to Firing. We will discuss strategies to manage social media in the workplace including discussion of recent cases, the NLRB report on social media and discussion of social media policies.

Here's some interesting stats on social media and why it's so important to your business. Did you know that more iPhones sold in a given day than the number of people born in the world? 

Rush on Business You Tube Channel on the Air!

I am pleased to announce that I now have a Rush on Business You Tube Channel where I'll post short videos on various aspects of business and franchise law. I have a few videos posted so far and I'll add content weekly.

New videos include:

Should You Include Your Spouse When Forming a Small Business LLC?

Where Should Iowa Residents Incorporate or Form an LLC for their Small Business?

If there is a topic you think would be interesting, please let me know!

Employers & Social Media: NLRB 2nd Report Concerning Social Media

Jon Hyman wrote on his Ohio Employer's Law Blog that the NLRB has issued a 2nd report on social media as protected concerted activity.  If you are an employer considering discipline or termination of an employee resulting from social media activity you need to be very careful. Jon points out:

This report underscores that employees’ use of social media to discuss the workplace and work-related issues, and the impact of business’s social media policies on those discussions, remains at or near the top of the NLRB’s priorities. Because the NLRB is taking such an interest in this area, employers act at their peril if they discipline or discharge an employee for social media activities, or roll out a social media policy, without the advice and input of counsel well-versed on these issues.

Bottom line:  Discipline of employees making disparaging comments about your company through blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other sites could land you in trouble. You should read the report of the acting NLRB general counsel. It's one thing to have rules that prohibit plainly egregious conduct through the use of social media but be VERY cautious if have rules trying to curb what employees can say about your company. 

Tips on Negotiating Franchise Agreements

I saw an interesting post from franchise attorney Michael Webster on the BlueMauMau site on Negotiating Your Franchisee Rights. Some of his helpful nuggets:

  1. Review the FDD to see if they are using franchise brokers - you may be able to knock something off the franchise fee by asking for the broker's rebate.
  2. Budget for professional advice. Hire an experienced franchise attorney to negotiate an addendum or side agreement.
  3. Get rid of the personal guaranty.
  4. Get rid of the right of first refusal - it drives down value when selling.
  5. Avoid franchises that limit your use of social media for local marketing.

Read the full article from Michael for more insight. Is it likely you will you get everything on Michael's "wish list"? Probably not. But it is worth asking. Don't be fooled into thinking that franchisors can't and won't negotiate franchise agreements.

The advice on the use of social media is often overlooked by prospective franchisees. In my opinion, a franchisor that won't allow a franchisee to market using social media is stuck in the dark ages. It just doesn't make sense in today's business environment.

See also my blog post on 11 Things Every Fanchisee Should Know. I am an absolute stickler on the trademark indemnification provision. If a franchisor won't indemnify you for the use of THEIR trademark, what else won't they do for you?

Social Media Legal Policies & Training Workshops

One of the things I love the most is providing proactive educational workshops to companies and other organizations.  Due to the ever-growing interest in the topic, I am pleased to announce that I am now offering a new legal training workshop for businesses, large and small, regarding social media. A custom workshop will be designed for your business to cover the following topics:

  • Overview of Social Media, New Developments and the Future
  • The Use of Social Media in the recruiting and hiring process
  • Balancing Employee privacy v. Employer's Business Interests
  • The risks and benefits of Employees using Social Media in the workplace
  • What every supervisor needs to know about the use of social media
  • How (or whether) to discipline employees for Social Media use
  • Social Media and its impact on Litigation
  • Social Media Train Wrecks
  • Summary of Social Media Case Law Developments 
  • Drafting the Social Media policy 

To tailor the presentation specifically for your organization, we will send you a questionnaire in advance regarding your organization's and employees' use of social media and your existing policies and procedures.  Every company is different and the presentation will be designed to address your organization's specific issues, size, level of understanding and industry. Like other forms of employment based training, not only can social media legal training help you in the event you get pulled into litigation, but even more importantly, it can help prevent costly litigation and the loss of employee productivity.

Social media presents unprecedented opportunities and challenges for your business. It is essential that your executives, supervisors and employees stay informed about this ever-changing and important topic. For more information on social media legal training workshops and fees, please feel free to contact me at rush.nigut@brickgentrylaw.com.