How to Avoid Social Media Mishaps that can Lead to Liability

For today’s businesses to gain recognition and grow a solid customer base, it’s important to have an active and impactful presence on social media. Social networks allow brands to share updates and engage with customers and fans, promote products and services, offer assistance, and let their unique personalities shine through. 

But one wrong move, inadvertent or not, can cause serious damage to a company’s reputation, even if just for a short amount of time. Worse yet, if misinformation is spread, it can result in liabilities and lawsuits against your company. 

ways to avoid business social media risks

Create and abide by a social media strategy 

Before diving into your company’s social media, developing a strategy is important.

  • Outline your business’s measurable objectives
  • Set goals
  • Set key performance indicators and stick to the tactics. 

Create guidelines for your internal social media team or outsourced agency for what is and is not acceptable to post. Make sure those in charge of social media channels read and understand the policy. 

Your social media strategy should define the tone of voice and type of language you intend to use in every post. For example, if your brand has a sense of humor, infuse that into your social copy. However, be careful not to be offensive or vulgar. If your brand is more professional, stick to a more straightforward tone, and be sure to present facts in an appropriate, unbiased manner. 

Closely monitor your page activity 

Designate one trusted person, or a very small team of social media experts, to manage your company’s social media accounts. Always post relevant content on the proper account, i.e., make sure you’re not logged into your personal account to post business-related content and vice versa. Accidentally posting personal opinions or photos on a corporation’s account, can lead to negative engagements – even if the post is eventually discovered and deleted. 

One way to prevent this from happening is to use a social engagement and analytics tool like Sprout Social, Buffer or HootSuite, which allow you to schedule your content ahead of time and edit, as necessary, before publication. These platforms will allow you to post from the right brand account every time. 

Ensuring your company’s social media accounts are secure is crucial. There are several simple ways to protect your accounts from intruders – either inside or outside of the organization. 

  • Create strong passwords that are at least 8 characters long and consider assigning a different password to each network. 
  • Limit the number of third-party applications to which you connect your social media accounts, as these sites may pose a risk to malware and viruses. 
  • Be wary of inbox messages from suspicious users who request personal information or money for any reason. 

Share legitimate content 

Always verify your sources and give credit where credit is due. Small businesses that use social media are vulnerable to accusations of libel, slander and copyright infringement. Whatever you are posting about, make sure all statements are accurate and necessary.

When it comes to visual assets, avoid sharing photos and videos that have been copyrighted. If you use an image on your page without the permission of the photographer or producer, they may have grounds to file a lawsuit. Purchase stock imagery legally, search for royalty-free images online or use 100% original photos to avoid any trouble. 

Always be cognizant 

In the world of social media, everything moves at an extremely rapid pace. People’s news feeds are constantly filled with posts from friends and family members, news and updates from various publications and organizations, as well as promotions from brands. It’s important to know that even when it’s a company page, there is still a human behind the screen who is writing, creating and publishing the content. Mistakes do indeed happen, but proactivity and prevention are vital. 

Review your business insurance policy with your your local Rural Mutual agent to make sure your business has proper coverage. 

The information provided in external website links is for general informational purposes only and does not form any recommendation or warranty by Rural Mutual Insurance Company or its affiliates.