Social media has been known to cause problems. It can destroy a client's divorce or lead to a mistrial. But sometimes, attracting media attention is the best way to serve your client.
Social media campaigns have ended legislation; they've influenced death penalty cases; and they've led to renewed criminal investigations. They've even been known to shame businesses into doing the right thing.
So how do you use social media to stir up a public outcry? Here's where you start:
1. Create a Facebook page. These "cause" pages have been known to take off quickly, gaining hundreds of thousands of followers in days. With the help of your client, start a Facebook page and invite all of his or her friends. Use the page to disseminate your client's story, and let people know how they can demand action. Just be mindful of ethics rules regarding trial publicity and confidentiality.
2. Use Twitter. Sure, you can automatically tweet Facebook updates, but that's not enough. Twitter must be used actively. Follow people in the media, local politicians and any celebrities who may be sympathetic to your client's cause. When you tweet, tweet at them. They may forward the information to their followers or contact you to help.
3. Court the Bloggers. Most metropolitan areas host a slew of bloggers writing only about local events. Reach out to these people with your client's story and offer to answer any questions. They often have huge followings and know all the right people.
Once you create a social media frenzy, don't forget to use it to your benefit. As high-profile trial consultant Amy Singer said about the Casey Anthony trial, the information obtained via "[s]ocial media was the difference between winning and losing."
- Juror's Tweets Result in Overturned Death Sentence (FindLaw's Technologist)
- Ethical Issues for Lawyers, Judges Using Social Networking (FindLaw's Technologist)
- Social Media and its Impact on High-Profile Death Penalty Cases (Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal)