From Facebook to Twitter, businesses brand themselves by using social media sites and digital marketing. While social media may seem like all fun and games and can be on a personal level, it can land you in hot water when you’re branding a business. Hot water that could land you in court with legal issues. If you’re having legal issues with branding, then turning to a firm like Cory Briggs small business attorney can help, and it’s best to have a lawyer on retainer before you run into trouble. In this blog, however, you’ll find a few of the top social media mistakes that can land you with a ton of legal issues you don’t want to deal with.
Not Understanding Copyright Laws
From photographs to articles, there are many copyright laws that are easily violated when branding a business. For example, who owns that photograph you’re using? Even more, who is the person in the photograph and will they sue you for using it without permission? You always need to have the proper licenses to a photograph you post on social media. The best way to do this is by only using photographs you take yourself. However, since that’s not always possible, a good attorney will help you determine what can and can’t be done in this department.
Improper Formatting of Sponsored Posts
You would think that sponsored posts would be easy to share, brand, and post. However, the FTC has buckled down on the improper formatting of sponsored posts, and doing it the wrong way could land you in court these days. If the posts contain numerous hashtags, links, or tags, then you must make sure to separate each legal disclosure. It can be quite confusing, so if you’re in doubt, contact your small business lawyer to ask for legal advice before you format any sponsored posts for your brand.
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Putting Up Fake Testimonials
Customer testimonials can do wonders for your product, service, and branding, as long as those testimonials are true. There are regulators that watch out for fake testimonials on social media sites and you can land in a world of trouble if yours are proven to be fake. This is known as astroturfing and State Attorney Generals are cracking down and enforcing these laws, so you want everything you do to be above board. Just remember, influencer marketing can have serious legal ramifications, and cost you a ton if it’s done improperly. Make sure you do your research and consult with your attorney if in doubt as to whether a testimonial you put on social media could be seen as fake or not.
Not Reading a Social Media Site’s Terms of Service Carefully
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that all social media sites have the same rules. What’s okay for Facebook might not be okay for Instagram, and can get you in legal trouble for violating their terms of service. For example, some terms of service (TOS) state that you can only post images that you have the right to, while others are completely different. Read every site’s TOS before you start posting, just to be on the safe side and in accordance with their specific rules.
While this post isn’t meant to scare you away from using social media when branding your business, it’s important to note that it’s not all carefree posting and having fun. There are very real legal ramifications if you make the above mistakes when branding your business on social media. Just be aware of them and avoid them at all costs.