Social media marketing helps small businesses to connect, communicate and engage more and more customers with your brand. Incorporating social media into marketing campaigns has hence invited legal risks and actions against brands than on individual posting for his personal purpose. As it is becoming essential to the marketing strategies of all the businesses, whether big or small, it is attached with more of rules and regulations to safeguard customers from fake and false representation. With some of very common reasons which are putting brands into trouble, we bring to you the social media issues and ways to stay away from them.
- Don’t use other’s work without permission. This is one of the most common practise in social media marketing where the marketers use someone else’s creativity like a picture, a painting, a piece of content or anything like this, which can actually put you in real trouble. Even the photos that are available on Google search should not be used by brands to promote their business with permission of the owner.
Moreover the suggested rule for this issue is “To use only those things that are owned by you”. As the creator owns all the rights, you can either create the desired thing of your own like clicking a picture or shooting a video or you can get these things done for you and reserve the rights to use them without inviting any legal actions.
Another possible way out to use such photos is to use images that are “labelled for reuse” in the search tools for Google image search. Another way in which you can stay out the lawsuit is to take the permission of the people being captured for using the photos for social media. People love being applauded and given credit for, so do give them their due credit and even tag the participants for wider reach.
- Don’t use popular music without permission. Videos are amongst the top to dos for social media. Due to its rising popularity many a video editing apps are available on the play stores. These apps add music while you edit your video for posting. Almost all of us assume it to be harmless as it is being provided by the app. But In reality it is not safe always. As these apps assume their users to be individuals posting for personal reasons, they do not take the liability for your brand’s video with a popular song being played in the background.
To stay out of any legal action for getting videos edited with popular music without owning the rights to the music, you can either use stock music and buy it, or get an original piece of music created for your brand.
- E-mail and text Communication. Due to the interactive and engaging nature of the social media tools like e-mail and mobile text messaging capabilities, companies are incorporating these tools into their marketing strategies. But in reality they need to be very carefully and attentively used for social media as you can no longer drop mails and text messages to the recipients unless and until they have opted for.
Even the unsolicited marketing calls law TCPA has been extended to unsolicited text messages where the sender and receiver have no prior interaction or relation. All these things if not carefully monitored may cause a lot of problem to your brand.
- Promote in form of content and not sweepstakes. Running contests and conducting promotions through social media is quiet a common practise these days. It helps brands to reach a wider audience and even catching up their attention through innovative and interactive formats. Contests and sweepstakes are used interchangeably by many people but there is wide distinction between the two which can save you from legal issues as well.
Sweepstake means that you choose a winner at random, it can be by drawing out numbers or any such mechanism where chance dictates the winner. But a contest is a game of skill and anyone who performs best on the basis of a set criteria announced in the beginning is a winner.
It is safer for brands to run contests as they are great source of engagement and are subject to rules within the state. Whereas sweepstakes resemble lottery system which is prohibited by the government. So for promotions on social media, it is suggested to run contests than other luck based winners.
As a responsibility on our part, to let our reader be aware of the possible legal actions and the steps to avoid them, we have tried to list the most common legal issues that ruin your hard earned money and reputation in lawsuits. We hope this will surely help you in managing safe and beneficial social media marketing campaigns.