How to heal a headache before it happens
What do you get when you add an impulsive thought to a quick posting finger? For most individuals it’s an “oh-no” moment, maybe a shrug of the shoulders, maybe some embarrassment, maybe a lesson to think before posting.
For small businesses, though, a social media blunder can quickly snowball into something bigger, including public apologies, brand damage, and—perhaps—legal action.
In the world of small business, the social media blunder risk is relatively new, but as more and more platforms are developed, opportunities for a company’s message to be potentially harmed are growing.
With some sensible pre-planning, though, many of these headaches can be avoided.
This is what constitutes a social media blunder
For a business, social blunders can take many shapes—from offensive comments, to disparaging remarks about a competitor, to posting a photo of someone who never gave permission for their photo to be used, and recommendations or advice that may cause a customer to lose money.
As a business owner, you know you would never commit such an error. Oftentimes, though, even the most innocent of statements can be taken the wrong way. The problem usually arises because the people reading your tweet or Facebook comment or blog post are often reading in their own voice. Your customers have no idea what tone of voice you intended. For example, “Have a nice day” can have multiple meanings, depending on the tone of voice used: polite, angry, or even sarcastic.
Some blunders aren’t so innocent
Then, there are the other blunders, the ones committed out of anger or malice or for the “good” of the company. All too frequently, these occur due to a lax social media policy in which too many people have permission to post or employees are posting damaging items on their personal accounts.
Once the words are out there, it can be very difficult to rein them in—even after the offending words have been deleted.
Have a social media policy and have it in writing
Having a social media policy in writing is the first step in preventing a future headache. Beyond establishing who is allowed to post on a company’s social media platforms, it should also stipulate what can be posted. It should also designate who will monitor or approve all posts before they are released.
Once in writing, all staff members should be made aware of the rules.
Know your brand, know your customers
As a business owner, it’s important to have a very clear vision of how you would like the world to see you. To that end, it’s important to know your clients so you can better gauge if what you’re saying on social media is speaking to them.
Own the error
If you and your company should be caught in the eye of a social media storm, own it. Delete the offending post and apologize. Heartfelt words will go a long way.
Consider insurance and call us in the morning
Finally, a sensible insurance policy should be on the table. There are several types of policies to consider:
• General liability insurance for protection against libel, slander, invasion of privacy, copyright infringement, or misappropriation claims
• Media liability insurance goes a bit further than a general policy by also covering damages resulting in errors, omissions, misstatements or misleading statements made by you
• Employment practices liability Insurance for discrimination, harassment, or other employment violations resulting from your or your employees’ social media activities
Avante Insurance understands the risks many small businesses face, especially when there is pressure to establish an on-line presence. To review your current coverage or to get information on social media protection, contact Avante Insurance today!