Handy Guide To Understanding What Your Biz Can and Can’t Do On Social Media
The legalities of managing your company’s online reputation
Oh wow, managing social media for your business can be quite the minefield. Constant updates and changes that come along just as you and Stella get your groove back, that throw you off track again. And the dark arts of online algorithms….oh, the sorcery!
And then there’s the legalities involved in making sure your own online reputation isn’t damaged in any way. Or that you don’t directly or indirectly damage someone else’s business and find yourself in quite the pickle – yikes!
We spoke to Banter Group CEO, Valentina Borbone about what business owners can do to protect themselves, their business and their reputation online. Val is also an advisor for the International Social Media Association and has co-authored the eMarketing Code of Practice for the Australian Communications Council – so well and truly knows her stuff!
Totally worth the read!
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
Re-read what you write with various tones to make sure it can’t be misleading or offensive.
If you’re asking your team members to manage or interact on your company’s social media accounts, make sure you train those team members (and yourself!) in defamation principles. They need to know what they can and can’t write as well as understand how to moderate the accounts properly.
Minimise risk by tightening up your company social media policy and employee contracts. This will help protect you, them and your business’ online reputation.
Have staff listed your company as their Current Employer on their personal social media profiles? Remind employees that their behaviour on their own private profiles reflect on the business. Employees can face disciplinary action or even be terminated for posts on their personal social media profiles, comments on other posts or within private Facebook groups – there have been a number of cases of this happening! Eeeek.
WHAT YOU CAN’T DO
Don’t expect anonymity online, so don’t even think about using pseudonyms. It could actually backfire on you!
Don’t steal someone else’s content! If you use another person’s material without attributing it to them, or use copyrighted material without permission or payment, you may have infringed copyright and possibly breached the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 for misleading and deceptive conduct. That will NOT end well. Again, eeek!
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
Understand your purpose on social media – why does your business have an online presence? Sure, it’s most likely a great sales tool for your business, but it’s also great for reputation management and having some semblance of control over that.
It might be a bit snoresville, but you need to make sure you understand The Privacy Act 1998. It could save you BIG dollars in infringement fines and / or an Australian Communications and Media Authority investigation – ain’t nobody got time for that!
Create a comprehensive social media policy and communicate it effectively to staff. Not sure where to start? Check in with the Banter team – they’ll definitely help – they can help you understand The Privacy Act and Spam Act in just a couple of hours!
WHAT YOU ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NEVER – EVAH! DO
Go on a crazy-arsed rant! You probably will go viral but for ALL the wrong reasons. Yikes!
Steer clear of sending Friend Requests to personal Facebook accounts and private Instagram profiles to people you’ve come in contact with professionally (unless you’ve reached friend status!). It’s a little snoopy and stalky and won’t reflect well on your business.
“A simple rule of thumb to live by is only say and post online what you’re prepared to say in real life to real people with real consequences,” Val points out.
“And if you’re unsure about the legalities of the social media world, speak to the Banter team. We can help with social media training which will clarify what you can and can’t do online.”
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