Do you ever feel like people want to use your brand name and logo on social media without any genuine regard for the gravity of that action?
Do you wish there was a way to stop them before they did? If so, then here’s some information you’ll need for brand protection.
Why Brands Need To Protect Themselves On Social Media
Social media has become such a massive part of our lives, but it has opened up the possibilities of what can go wrong in ways we hadn’t even dreamt about.
Marketers have been using social media as an avenue for promoting brands and businesses since its conception in 2003, but a rise in cybercrime across the globe also comes with a rise in-piracy measures designed specifically to take down brands on social media.
Businesses’ main problem is that they can’t protect their trademarks and logos the way they can in the physical world. It’s challenging to regulate and protect people with no fences or boundaries from stopping people from using your brand name and logo.
Brand owners have taken to filing Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notices with social media platforms to get the infringing material removed – but this often proves ineffective as offenders can repost the material under a different account name.
Brand Attack Impacts
A brand attack on social media can be devastating, with negative publicity and decreased sales being two of the most common outcomes. In some cases, companies have even had to close due to the damage inflicted on them by using their brand names and logos for non-official reasons.
Here are some ways that brands have been attacked online:
- A tweet with a false report of breaking news, resulting in dropped stock prices that cost shareholders millions of dollars. The company sued Twitter for negligence, but the courts ruled against them, saying there is no way to prevent posting this type of tweet.
- An advertisement containing an offensive hashtag was put up without permission on Instagram, which caused many customers to complain publicly about it, leading to a loss of sales. The company responded quickly by removing the ad, but it lost money due to its negative press.
- An unauthorised logo was used on a Facebook page to promote a clothing line. Because this logo wasn’t the same as the ones the brand uses, they sued for copyright infringement and won $300,000 in damages.
- A woman put up an ad on Craigslist looking for roommates so she could occupy multiple homes at once. She listed her home as a bed & breakfast and then ran ads with their stolen logos all over Google’s search results leading to much confusion amongst potential customers. The woman was sentenced to 15 months in jail to steal trademarked materials from local businesses.
Brand Abuse Types
Several different types of brand abuse can occur on social media:
Libel: Libel is the act of publishing false and defamatory statements about someone. This could include making untrue statements about a brand or its employees or spreading lies about the company in an attempt to ruin its reputation.
Slander: Slander is the act of making defamatory oral statements about someone. This could include telling lies about a brand on social media or spreading rumours online.
Copyright infringement: Copyrights protect original works of authorship, including text, images, and videos. If a brand infringes on another’s copyright by using their material without permission, they could be sued.
Trademark infringement: A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, or design that identifies the source of a good or service. If a brand uses another’s name, logo, or design illegally, it could be sued for trademark infringement.
Unauthorised ads: Brands must have permission to share someone else’s ad on social media. This includes sharing screenshots of someone else’s ads without their consent protected under fair use.
Defamation/disparagement: Defamation is defined as making untrue statements about someone that ultimately cause harm to their reputation.
Disparagement occurs when false negative statements about a business lead consumers to believe it isn’t reputable or reliable enough to continue doing business, ultimately leading to revenue loss for the company involved in the lawsuit.
How To Create A Social Media Policy For Your Business
The best way to protect your brand on social media is to have a social media policy in place that outlines what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to using your brand name and logo. This will help you to have a brand protection solution in place and deter people from using your trademarks without permission and provide a course of action for what to do if someone infringes your trademarks.
Your social media policy should include the following:
- Guidelines for how your brand name and logo can be used – including specifications for size, colour, and placement.
- Rules against unauthorised use of trademarks or logos.
- Instructions for filing a DMCA takedown notice if someone uses your trademarks without permission.
- Guidelines for responding to customer complaints.
- Procedures for monitoring social media for infringing content.
Before creating a social media policy for your brand, make sure you know the risks associated with it. Know what types of content are typically shared on each platform and who has access to this information. Also, think about how employees use their social media accounts when discussing company matters online.
It’s essential to lay out rules you expect them to follow when using these platforms to avoid confusion regarding what is acceptable behaviour and what isn’t. The last thing you want is an unhappy employee posting something they shouldn’t on their public Twitter account! Make sure you clearly define the following:
- What should be posted in public vs. private accounts (including screenshots of ads, photos of co-workers, and anything else that could potentially harm the company’s reputation).
- What activity is prohibited online (this includes sharing contact information or client lists with anyone outside the company, spamming people, commenting on competitors’ social media accounts in an attempt to defame them, etc.).
- How employees should respond when customers/competitors attack their social media accounts.
- Who will access company social media profiles, and what can they post on these platforms?
- Potential penalties for violating any of these rules.
The most important things you can do when creating a social media policy for your business include:
- Clearly defining what employees are expected to do while working on company social media profiles.
- Ensure you protect your company’s name/brand by defining how it can be used in public and private accounts, including screenshots of ads.
- Putting penalties in place for violating the above rules.
Having a well-thought-out social media policy can make all the difference when it comes to protecting your brand online. Although setting up these guidelines takes time at first, they are worth the effort because, ultimately, they will save lots of headaches down the line!
Brand attacks on social media can be very damaging to businesses, with negative publicity and loss of sales being two of the most common outcomes.
By having a social media policy in place, you can help to protect your brand from these attacks and ensure that your trademarks and logos are used in a way that is consistent with your company’s branding. Thank you for reading!