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Social media can be a great way for a company to expand its reach and build consumer loyalty. REI's Instagram photos of kayaks and mountains have garnered a following of more than 1 million. Coca-Cola has nearly 100 million likes on Facebook. That's more followers than the population of Germany. And General Electric (yes, that General Electric, the one with the dishwashers and refrigerators) has been named one of the best brands on Snapchat.
So, social media has its benefits. But, of course, it also has its drawbacks, including potential legal liabilities. Here's what they are and how you can avoid them.
Of course, one of the main risks with corporate social media accounts comes from handling content, yours and others. You'll want to make sure you don't violate any intellectual property protections if sharing others' content online. And you'll want to be very cautious using your followers likes, comments, and content in separate advertising -- the legal issues surrounding such sharing are still pretty murky.
It's not unusual to see companies running sweepstakes or contests via social media. If you follow one company on Instagram, you might win a free backpack. If you share a corporate status on Facebook, you could be eligible for a free car. You get the idea. But just because your promotion is online, that doesn't mean it's operating outside of regular laws. So be sure your team is complying with all necessary regulations, disclosures, and the like.
So, with a little caution, you can make sure your corporate social media presence stays on the right side of the law. After all, if General Electric can conquer social media, you can too.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.