By Melissa Gold, Insureon Contributor
Social media can be a valuable tool for engaging with customers, building a society and finally growing in small businesses. Going viral can be like striking gold for some companies, especially if a social media affects or celebrities share your product or service.
But social media also comes with unique risks, and a social media trial is a real threat to anyone using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or another platform for commercial purposes.
What are common social media trials against small businesses?
Being named in a social media trial is a common risk for small businesses, but it is impossible. Here are some examples of how companies use social media in ways that can expose them to a trial:
Use of images and videos without permission. The protection of copyright in monitors is daunting on social media, and it can sometimes be easy to forget about rights issues that can land your business in court. All images you use for social media or your site that you do not own must be licensed. It may sound scary, but many online services offer cheap alternatives or free use with a Creative Commons license. When in doubt, ask the person listed on the photo credits for permission before using an image that you did not create.
Use music without permission. If you are producing video content or social media ads, you must license the rights to music that you use as an audio track. Like photo services, several online platforms offer music licenses, ranging from inexpensive background music to popular songs that can cost thousands of dollars for licensing.
Share images that are linked to your own brand. If a Facebook user tags your brand in a photo or post, it does not necessarily give you permission to use that person's photo. Even if it is a customer photo used as part of your social media strategy, if the person thinks you are benefiting from the image, you may be brought to court and have to pay damages. Bottom line: It is important that you get permission to use some pictures or videos with people who interact with your brand, including employees.
Share people's faces. In general, if you are out in a public place, you have no right to privacy. However, this does not mean that photos or videos taken at public places can be shared for commercial purposes. If you take a photo in a crowd, the best way to get a written permission from each person whose face is depicted is to share the photo on your social network for commercial purposes.
Reputation injuries in social media trials
You can be named in a social media trial for allegedly damaging someone's reputation. You've probably heard vulnerability, remorse and slander used somewhat interchangeably. Both slander and pest are related to slander, but slander is spoken and slander is written (or published).
If someone presents a social media trial against your company allegedly reputational damage, it will be about dragonfly because social media, by nature, is published content. This would include all digital statements ̵
What to do when you are in favor of advertising damage on social media
Even if you think a trial of your business is frivolous or without
If you are named in a social media trial, act quickly for to answer claims. Describe all your defenses and counterclaims. You do not want the procedure to take longer than necessary.
Ask your lawyer to move for a summary judgment. If there is a small number of specific requirements or if the case really is without merit, a summary judgment will quickly resolve the problem.
Ask your legal adviser how (and if) you should respond. If you are called in a social media trial, see what is already said online and in your community, but engage in any response until you have received advice from your legal adviser. Additional statements can be used against you in court. When responding, be as transparent as possible with employees, customers, shareholders and your community.
Commercial Insurance for Social Media Trials
Protection of privacy included in most liability insurance can cover legal defense fees, settlements, judgments, and other court-related expenses associated with social media trials for most professions.
Some professionals with more exposure to pests or risks of advertising damage may require liability insurance to cover social media costs. Professionals who would normally need this coverage instead of general responsibility include lawyers, writers, marketers, and employees.
Start a free online application with Insureon to compare quotes and decide which policy fits your business needs.