Social media is a handy tool for businesses. Among other purposes, organizations use it to communicate with their target audience, generate new low-cost leads, nurture existing ones, and build their brand and reputation.
However, along with all the benefits come potential risks. Those risks, in some instances, can have devastating consequences and inflict severe damage on a company.
But in the eyes of the average social media marketeer, nothing seems to be scarier than the risk of non-compliance.
This article will focus on explaining the most common social media compliance risks and the steps you can take to minimize them.
What Is Social Media Compliance?
Social media compliance is ensuring that your company’s communications on social media follow all relevant laws and regulations and are under your company’s policies and procedures.
Although the process seems straightforward, it is quite different in practice.
The rules you should stay under are often very complicated to follow, as they come from various sources, such as federal, state, and local laws and industry regulations.
The Most Common Social Media Compliance Risks
There are two major groups of social media compliance risks organizations can face when using social media channels to reach out to their target audience:
- Misleading or False Claims
- Data Privacy, Security and Confidentiality
Data Privacy and Security
When using social media to interact with your customers, it’s essential to know that there are strict regulations regarding who you can contact and under which conditions, as well as the ways you collect, store and use their data.
However, in the broadest sense, they tend to overlap, imposing some general principles that you must obey, such as:
- Do not send unsolicited messages – you must have permission to do so.
- You must notify your target audience when you collect and store personal data.
- You must provide the safety and security of personal data and use it responsibly.
Some of the relevant regulations that you must understand and stay under if you’re using social media for business purposes are:
- CAN-SPAM (in the United States)
- The California Consumer Privacy Act
- The U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act
- Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation
- The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- The Global Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) Forum
When it comes to data confidently, you need to get familiar with and understand all relevant regulations governing your industry.
For example, one of the essential regulations you must pay attention to if you’re working in healthcare is HIPAA compliance, as it has rigorous regulatory requirements for healthcare employees on social media and can lead to hefty fines.
Misleading or False Claims
To stay compliant on social media, you must follow marketing and advertising rules from bodies such as Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
To sum it up, no false or misleading claims should be used in your promotional and marketing activities, as they would be considered deceiving to the audience.
However, this also means that even if third parties, such as influencers or fans, make such comments on your social media channels, and you use these comments in your campaigns – you can be held responsible.
How to Minimize Social Media Compliance Risks?
1. Use Social Media Archieveing Tool
When using social media for business purposes, keeping relevant and adequate archives of all your business social media activities is essential for your compliance.
As social media lack native archiving capabilities and manual archiving is practically impossible, cloud archiving solutions come to the rescue. Some of these tools can grant you peace of mind, as they can capture interactions in real-time with all the relevant contextual data and archive them securely for easy access.
In case of potential litigation, you can have the evidence you need in the form acceptable at the court.
2. Create a Strong Social Media Policy
One of the ways to ensure compliance is by establishing a solid social media policy that will regulate your internal social media activities.
This policy must include the relevant rules and procedures your employees must follow, an explanation of roles and responsibilities, and guidelines for securing accounts.
Furthermore, if you’re considering using influencer marketing, remember that most of them don’t know much about compliance issues. So ensure you build an influencer compliance policy into your contract to safeguard your business.
3. Train Your Employees Regularly
However, more than having a social media compliance policy is required to stay compliant.
You need to ensure your employees follow it. To achieve this, have compulsory onboarding training for new hires.
Also, always control who has access to your social media accounts and the approval procedure, as it will reduce the odds of negative consequences.
Wrapping It Up
Although using social media for business purposes has many benefits, there are certain compliance risks. However, a solid social media policy, reliable archiving tools, controlled access, and educated staff will safeguard your business from possible damage.