201711.06
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Five Reasons to Watch What Your Business Posts on Social Media

Without question, social media has changed select dynamics in doing business. Some would say you sell yourself short if you don’t take advantage of its popularity. Meanwhile, plenty will tell you to ignore the phenomenon entirely.

There are a number of real-life stories that suggest extreme caution in sharing social media posts. In fact, major corporations have encountered difficulties regarding shares that went viral. According to this news article, United had some backlash when it was accused of victim blaming for one of its passenger removal fiascos. Someone also hacked a McDonald’s social media account and wrote some harsh words about President Trump.

Meanwhile, you should know that even the smallest businesses can suffer repercussions from social media posts. In fact, your company may want to add a social media policy to its employee manual.

One: Social Media and Politics

To start with, it’s seemingly a no-brainer. Just about everyone knows the three big “no-no’s” at the dinner table. In case you forgot them, you shouldn’t engage in discussions about sex, religion, or politics. More often than not, you will wind up offending someone. Maybe you’re not into the whole political correctness thing at all. However, more than likely, you’d like to increase your customer base and profits.

Think about it. No matter how committed you are to a political issue, your Facebook or Twitter post isn’t going to change minds. Instead, it’s like playing cards and showing your hand. It’s a risk that most businesses don’t need to take.

Of course, there are exceptions. Maybe you are running for political office and don’t feel your business will be hurt for voicing your opinions. For a rare few, some might find that promoting political ideologies actually increases opportunities.

Two: Be Wary of Copyrights

Want to populate your social media presence with blogs and photographs? Make sure you have permission to use any text or pictures used in your promotional materials.

All things considered, the whole concept of copyright infringement might bug you. However, take a look at the claims made by this photographer earlier this year. He’s taken several companies to court for using his photos of insects without permission or payment of a fee. In fact, the photographer is currently suing a local pest company for $150,000 in damages for misusing his pictures.

Three: Could You be Liable for Any Statements?

Just about everyone knows how easy it is to blurt out a few lines or share a picture on Instagram. However, what happens if one of your employees decides to make improper statements? Could you be vicariously liable?

Consider the issue of cyber-bullying or harassment. What if one of your employees goes after a colleague and defames them? Meanwhile, they do so while punching out keys on a company computer. Could your business become a party to a defamation lawsuit?

Four: What About Trade Secrets/Proprietary Information?

Even though you may have policies concerning the revelation of trade secrets, something could still go wrong. For example, someone might be proud of their work and inadvertently reveal some details of a confidential nature. Of course, there’s also the chance of malicious dissemination of proprietary information.

In the long run, your company should focus on educating staff on the importance of maintaining trade secrets. Of course, there’s also the issue of revealing sensitive materials on social media. This could be as simple as a banker who releases private information about a customer.

Five: Social Media and Your Employees

As can be seen, a significant number of concerns about social media may involve the actions of your company’s employees. Some behavior may be unintentional. However, there are tons of examples of workers who use social media to complain. And, yes, that could mean venting about corporate policies or those who enforce them.

Imagine the horror a restaurant owner could face if one of the servers went rogue to complain about sanitary issues in the kitchen. Even if the conditions are pristine, social media posts can devastate a business to the point of no return.

Again, make sure your company has a social media policy in place. Train your employees and enforce the rules.

Contact Us

Need help? Manfred Sternberg and Associates is firmly committed to assisting our clients to avoid legal problems. Give us a call or drop us an email to set up an appointment.

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