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If you're in business today, you're in the social media business as well. But not all of us were born online, with Facebook accounts, Twitter handles, and Snapchat feeds as a central part of our identity.
So if your small biz is still playing catch-up online, here are a few essential social media questions to ask yourself, and where to go for answers.
Does all your social media content need to be generated in-house? What about using customers' favorable reviews or posts in your advertising? It's a murky legal world when it comes to intellectual property rights on the internet, but that doesn't mean you can grab any old image and use it without permission. You could be better off only using staff-generated content on your social media platforms, or having a process by which you gain permission for use.
And when it comes to your staff on social media, you probably want to have some strict controls to make sure your employees aren't embarrassing you online. That can get a little dicey, though. Certain speech is protected on the internet, meaning you may not be able to fire employees for their social media posts, even if they're complaining about your business on Twitter. Your best bet might be to check applicants' social media use before hiring, have a good social media education and training program for employees, and think before you punish.
Some things, like an offensive tweet or misguided Facebook post, will slip through the cracks. So how do you deal with the reputational harm that can come with bad online behavior?
Luckily, there's insurance for that. Some policies can compensate your small business for harm "sparked by data breaches, breach of labor laws and environmental damage, key person disgrace, loss of certification/accreditation, product safety or quality failure, or other perils agreed with the underwriter." You may want to check it out, or make sure you've got a good lawyer around if your company's online media presence becomes a little antisocial.