Social media is risky business when you don’t have a crew of seasoned lawyers and social media marketers to follow every detail for you.
Imagine getting up and sitting in front of your laptop to answer social media comments and retweet a few things you like to find a social media mess on your profiles….Even a triple latte won’t make the nightmare go away. A tweet that you didn’t post made it viral and everyone is talking about your brand…Finally! But the comments aren’t so flattering…
…or you see a post in your niche gone viral and you get all excited because you see YOUR image as the cover photo…but it’s just not your blog!
Let’s see how you can avoid these morning hassles, even if you run a home-based business and have zero budget for lawyers:
It goes without saying that if someone “accidentally” gets access to your business and social media accounts, that will be the end of it. Start safeguarding your business by using a password software like LastPass that creates and saves hacker-proof passwords for you.
The next steps would be:
- publishing your social media policies on your social media accounts
- publishing your terms and conditions on your social media
Using images to convey the messages of your business is crucial. Photos comprise 75% of the content shared online so if you want more shares and like, you need to use them, especially if you want to leverage social media networks like Pinterest and Facebook.
But who owns photos nowadays?
The images you put so much effort into developing might become “inspiration” for someone else. Imagine having your Instagram photos on someone else’s blog….without getting the referral!
To safeguard your images you can do an easy trick: add your website or business name just above the text or in a key position, like in the example below. In this way your name and website can’t get cut out and you get free advertising if someone decides to “recycle” your images. This works great with quotes as well!
It’s easy for a competitor to purchase your product and blatantly copy it without giving you any credit.
How can you make sure that nobody steals your guide, ebook, or design?
First, you want to follow your competition on social media. This is the outlet they’ll use to broadcast their new product or blog post, for example.
Make those pages favourites, so you’re sure to get notifications once they post something.
Then go through those notifications every day to make sure they don’t involve any of your ideas.
You’ll be surprised how often handmade artisans and designers, for example, have told me that they found out someone “got inspired” by their design in that way.
If something like that happens to you:
- make a screenshot of everything that proves they have the product and are selling it
- gather your information to prove that it’s your product design or idea (if you have trademarked it, even better)
- consult a lawyer before you contact the perpetrator to learn your options
- contact the competitor and take legal action
Words are a curious thing – two next to each other can change the world, and if you wrote them, you’ll recorgize them.
We’re lucky that copyright law protects your copy (words on your website, brochures, social media, in products and even in descriptions), if you can prove that it’s yours originally.
To make sure nobody is copying your blog posts, you can run a monthly plagiarism check. If you find out that someone has “borrowed” your creative work, feel free to contact a lawyer and at least get paid for it. However, you need to be able to prove that this is your original work.
What you can do on social media to double check is search for “social media name + your blog title” in search engines to make sure nothing of the kind is being shared without your permission.
On the other hand, using #hashtags for keywords in your industry (“#veganrecipes”) will show you what’s being shared and if any of it has to do with your website without your knowledge.
You’ll be surprised how “fans” would repost your #veganrecipes to their own websites without you having the slightest idea.
Social media is a powerful research tool. Small business owners often use hashtags to follow conversations and research the industry.
Surprisingly, very few leverage their power in safeguarding the business. Apart from research through hashtags, you can also follow what people are saying about your brand.
Here is how:
- search for your brand name as a hashtag on social media, blogs and search engines
- search with your product category hashtag to see if others are being misrepresenting you
- search your brand name to make sure customers or contractors aren’t ruining your reputation
- address any comments or questions about your brand or product as soon as possible
- make sure nobody is making false statements about your product – search with a hashtag and directly comment or contact the post owner
People say all kinds of things on social media and the chances are that they’re talking about you! This can be great, and sometimes, no so great. Do your due diligence and social media can help you protect your business and reputation.
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