Engaging with customers via social media is a cheap option for businesses and thus an attractive one to take advantage of. As with all things, there are risks that must be examined and planned for when choosing to use social media as a tool for your organisation.
Key to effective consideration of risks is developing a carefully deliberated social media strategy. This plan should examine three different categories of social media usage as they will apply to the organisation:
- the individual employee’s personal use of social media,
- the organisation’s advertising, marketing and internal use of social media, and
- the organisation’s and individual employee’s professional use of social media for building connections, hiring personnel and networking
Following consideration of the different categories of social media that your organisation would or could allow within their strategy there are five different areas of legal risk that the strategists need to be aware of: legislative risks, contractual rights, non-contractual obligations, non-contractual rights and dispute risks. Within these legal risks, consideration of trademark and copyright laws, advertising, fair trade and ethical standards, employment contracts, protection of confidential information, product disparagement, patent infringement risks and prevention of defamation, to name a few, should be examined and managed.
Having a trained professional lead your organisation’s formation of the social media strategy can help set at ease any lingering concerns about missing an important legal risk that must be mitigated.
By taking the time to either re-evaluate your social media strategy or take control of the employee’s social media usage by drafting a strategy, your organisation can prevent the more typical impacts of social media risks to the more extreme impacts, such as major damage to the organisation’s reputation leading to embarrassment or heavy costs due to court-ordered damages. Having some control over social media usage within the organisation will also help set at ease any worry about these risks not being managed.
If your organisation is considering drafting and social media strategy or requires guidance in re-evaluating or updating the strategy in the face of ever changing legislation and international standards, please contact us for our help.