Social media has been a growing part of our lives for over two decades, coming on leaps and bounds in user numbers, popularity and ultimately, the power that it holds. With MySpace being the first social media platform to hit a million users in 2004, social media as a whole has only expanded since then, with the likes of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and lately, TikTok, offering a whole new way for people to interact with their friends, family, strangers and businesses online. This has made it more crucial than ever before for businesses to not only have social media accounts but to take care when using them.
Social media-based customer service has become the norm, brand reputation can often boil down to how they appear on their accounts and the latest brand news is usually found on the news feed first – but it also creates a brewing storm in which any brand could meet a downfall with one wrong move or poor word choice. So, how do you protect your business on social media in such a tentative environment? We’re here to help.
Why Social Media Is Important For Businesses
With social media seemingly such a risk, you might be wondering why a brand should bother building a social media presence at all. The simple answer is this – social media is where your clients are, no matter their age, location, likes, dislikes or lifestyle. Every age group have their favourite social media account, whether it’s the 25-34 year-olds on Facebook, 18-24 year-olds on Instagram and TikTok, or even the 30-39 year-olds on LinkedIn, doing your research into your business’s customer base and where they spend their time online can put you in a great position to grab their attention.
Having a presence on social media puts you in the public eye, offering more opportunities to bring in leads and customers, build relationships with repeat clients and get ads out there into the market to reach viewers who might not have otherwise known that you existed. You build brand awareness, grow your audience, secure your brand’s message and image and can create quick, efficient and cost-effective marketing campaigns all from your social media accounts.
However, while the benefits are plentiful, it’s important to ensure that your brand is protected online. When using your social media accounts to promote your business, every post, message and like needs to align with your branding and message to protect your reputation and image. But how do you go about it?
How You Can Protect Your Brand
Protecting your brand on social media can actually be easier than you might think. By taking extra care to make sure you have the right cover in case of professional indemnity claims, doing your research into your brand and market, taking steps to prevent copycats and hackers and developing a strong and strict social media policy, you can go a long way to helping maintain and protect your presence online:
1 – Get Insured – If your business is one that offers advice or specialist services, professional indemnity insurance is a must especially if your business is also online. While you should avoid offering specialist advice on social media without incredible attention to detail, having professional indemnity insurance in place for your business will provide you with the extra peace of mind in case any posts or replies are taken as advice, and that advice is deemed to be incorrect or harmful. If legal action is taken against you, this insurance will provide you with the financial support needed to build a defence. It can also help protect in cases of negligence where data protection comes into play, such as where information may be accidentally leaked.
2 – Do Your Research – Before setting up your brand online, doing your research will give you a better understanding of where you can and should place yourself online. Knowing the best social media platforms for your industry, where your customers are and what they expect from a social media account associated with your industry will help you build a better presence that your customers can get the most out of. It will ensure that your brand is positioned correctly and that your online image and reputation are in-line with the business as a whole.
3 – Track Brand Mentions – There are a number of tools available online to help you keep track of any mentions of your brand online. Some are more costly than others but can prove to be a helpful tool and a good investment, particularly if your company is talked about a lot online. You can keep track of what people are saying about you, as well as any negative experiences being shared. This can help you find and sort that information and feedback, improving your online presence and dealing with any harmful or false information too.
4 – Online Security – You can take every care in the world to ensure your social media presence is a good one, but if someone gets into your account, it can all fall apart. There are plenty of threats online to be aware of, from crypto scams and phishing attacks to impersonators, hackers and more. There are a few ways you can protect your social media accounts from these threats:
- Use strong passwords and change them regularly
- Two-factor authentication for extra security
- Have a separate unrelated email address for social media accounts that can’t be easily guessed or found
- Only provide passwords for select employees who will need access, and keep track of who they are
- Avoid public wifi connections
5 – Social Media Policy – Having a social media policy in place for you and your staff will ensure that not only are the brand’s own accounts under a strict policy that’s easy to track but that your staff aren’t going and posting things on their own social media that could harm your business. Legal teams can help you put together a fair use policy, including arrangements that prevent threats to security, inappropriate posts, improving brand voice online and reducing the risk of poor posts online.
6 – Respond To Negative Reviews – Finally, making sure that you keep on top of reviews left online for your business can help you ensure that your brand’s identity stays protected and well-maintained. All businesses are likely to get negative reviews from time to time, but how you handle them can really improve your overall standing and reputation. A negative review responded to with action points, such as encouraging them to contact your team to discuss a way to resolve the issue or responses where you can prove a negative review is false in a professional manner, are likely to do your business good rather than leaving the negative review to harm you.
For more information about how insurance can help protect your business online, our team are on hand to help. Get in touch with Ashburnham Insurance for help and advice.