Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Social Media Precautions

Social media has changed everything about the way we communicate with clients, coworkers, and the world in general. It has had huge advantages to companies in terms of branding and marketing; however, it also introduces legal complications to beware of. As you market your company and its events, steer clear of these issues:
Copyright/trademark infringement:  Be careful to grab photos/materials off the Internet and post them without permission. Pictures of exhibitor booths, speakers, etc. can lead to copyright infringements. Posting a picture that is seen by millions of users almost instantly can exacerbate the problem quickly. Don’t assume anything is automatically reusable. Look for copyright-free materials. Creative Commons is a nonprofit that allows images, songs and videos to be shared at no charge. Use this same care with logos.
Defamation: Defamation is defined as anything resulting in harm of a person or organization. Because it is so easy to post anything on social media platforms, it introduces a liability and responsibility to make sure that everything posted is truthful and respectful. Even negatively reviewing suppliers can be a liability if you don’t stick to completely factual information, or unnecessarily reflects others in a bad light. Make sure you also have a review system in place on your company/conference social media sites, so harmful posts by attendees/staff/etc. can be monitored
Privacy Issues: If you are posting pictures of attendees at a conference, make sure you have their explicit permission via a consent form. A lot of times this isn’t a major issue, but it avoids liability and any stress that could come up because of someone. If you are going to publish close-up shots of anyone, let them know. Also be cautious of posting anything that could be considered trade secrets/ private information.
Anti-trust violations: Don’t post anything that restrains fair trade, such as discouraging booking at a certain hotel. Be careful when negatively reviewing a service not to create a call for action for readers, as it could result in backlash from the service and their company.
For more tips, check out this article.

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