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How to Protect Your Brand on Social Media

Protect your brand on social media.

Every so often, there is an incident with Facebook that reminds us of an important truth: Despite being the largest social media website and a great resource, the site is not impregnable or perfect, and its users may have some of their information at risk. If Facebook is not completely secure, it is reasonable to expect similar risks with the other social media sites, as well. Take a look at our guidelines for protecting your brand on social media. With a little forethought, you can save your business from a painful mishap.

Preventing Plagiarism and Content Theft

Image via Flickr by kleuske

A 2017 Pew study revealed that of all news content that social media users find, only 56 percent is identified from its original source. What this means is that the other 44 percent of news was taken and reposted by another brand or individual. This applies to all forms of content, as well, and has become a major issue on Facebook and other sites. You can work hard and create an appealing video for your audience only to have it chopped up and reposted with another brand’s watermark.

Facebook has taken more measures to fight against this content theft by applying publisher logos next to article links. Ultimately, though, you’ll have to work to make your content thief-proof. Always post with links from your own domain, so that shared content always has your website link preview. Also, place your logo clearly within all featured images for social content. Position it subtly, but in such a way that cropping it out would ruin the image. Finally, try to make your images consistent in some sort of way, so that people grow to associate that type of image with your brand.

Customer Information Protection

It’s critical that you don’t share too much online, especially when it’s not your information. Therefore, you should develop a social media policy that involves strictly limited channels of information storage. For example, no one outside of your social media team should be able to log in somewhere and look up customer emails, phone numbers, etc. The more potential leaks there are outside the person or people in charge of that information, the bigger the chance of it being used by someone unscrupulous.

With social media, this means being careful about what you share, such as blurring names and other information in screen captures. Always contact a customer and explain what you would like to show off. Then, ask whether that is OK with them. It also helps to encourage privacy practices among your audience, telling them the common ways to lower their risk of identity theft, hacking, and other problems. You never want to put customer information into the wrong hands by mistake, which could cost you sales and credibility.

Educating Your Employees

Your social media team members probably understand the importance of being thorough and careful with what they post online. However, can you guarantee that sort of mindfulness among your entire workforce? Employees saying controversial things or making harmful mistakes are some of the most common causes of social media business scandals. Here are several points to implement into your employee training:

  1. Ensure that all employees understand that what they say will have an impact on their employer. The old tactic of adding “my tweets are my own and not a representation of my employer” is no longer cutting it anymore. If an employee loses their cool and starts to say some upsetting things online, that little line of text won’t matter. People will still judge them harshly, and then question why such a person would be employed by you. This may force you to punish the employee or even fire them to acknowledge people’s outrage.
  2. Educate your employees on conflict resolution. You can’t spend any significant time on social media without running into irritating people. This is why it’s crucial to teach employees not say controversial things back, and to handle social media conflicts in a clean and professional manner on or off company time.
  3. Ensure that your employees understand the usage rights, disclaimers, and disclosure procedures involved with anything they post. Your social team should be in regular contact with your legal team, if possible.
  4. Keep the various roles of your social media team members well defined, so that problems can be isolated privately. For instance, if someone contacts you about a piece of content you released because he or she is concerned it could expose personal information, you should resolve the issue while involving as few employees as possible. With respect to people’s privacy, try to have every issue resolved by a single person, without exposing the concerned people to your entire team.
  5. Have a list of information that is never to be shared with anyone, ever, such as customer passwords and credit card numbers.

Watch for Imitators

If your brand is successful, people eager to make money will try and disguise themselves as you. For example, let’s say a man named John Smith Dirk is a famous influencer recommending home convenience products. John is a popular, respected brand on social media. However, someone might create an account called John Smith Dirk2, or Jon Smith Dirk, or anything similar enough to collect followers and sap away his organic growth. These people usually repost and steal content from John and shoe in links to other products, causing confusion and tarnishing the real John’s image.

These accounts are a violation of copyrighted brands and materials, and impersonation by itself is against the terms of service for most social media websites. Regularly search your own business’s name, similar names, and misspellings to hunt down these weeds and pull them out by reporting them and getting them banned.

Social media continues to change, but it is still a hefty power tool for marketing. While it’s inarguably useful compared to other methods of getting seen, it can be dangerous if used carelessly. Keep your employees informed and educated, take down imitators, make your content difficult to steal, and most of all, protect your customers’ privacy. If you have any questions about how to put together an effective and secure content marketing strategy, feel free to contact CopyPress to discuss your goals.

About the author

Shane Hall