Practicing Safe Social Media Marketing

At this stage, it should be clear that marketing your business through social media has the potential for some positive impact on sales but many smaller businesses hold back because, among other factors, time conscious business owners simply do not know if the time investment of managing social media accounts will provide a corresponding benefit. Whether they are active online yet or not, businesses must be aware of what is going on in relation to their products and consumers, to be able to protect their intellectual property assets online. With that in mind, how should companies protect their IP assets and reputation online?

The first step is to realize that they do not operate in a vacuum and regardless of their decisions about social media marketing, they simply cannot ignore social media when their consumers or clients are talking about their products and services online. Before a business owner decides to step into the social media marketing ring they should invest time monitoring social media websites and learn how people are referring to their category of products or services generally and the business’ specific products or services as well; especially if they want to avoid embarrassing situation like the 2013 Nutelladay blunder.

Dealing with online disputes requires a different approach than traditional infringements and is generally more open, honest, transparent, and deals with any comments in a cool, calm and less confrontational manner. This means having a social media plan ahead of time and understanding the business is operating a medium where it has less direct controls than traditional media and responses from customers and clients are often more detailed than a business initial comments.

The fact take-down procedures or cease and desist notices can backfire does not mean they are ineffective tools, social media exists in the real world but it does operate differently. It also means that business need to have a thought out social media policy and make decisions regarding what the policy should cover. Are employees allowed to use social media in their personal time? On their personal devices? Are employees allowed to be active on competitors’ social media sites? The guidelines must be clear on what is and what is not acceptable, what is considered personal use and what is expected of employees during their business versus personal use. Before you ask your employees to take your business online bus sure to check with us as to how they should launch.