Picture credit: Eboy
Whether your brand is in its infancy in terms of age, or a well respected, established brand.
The one thing we can’t escape is the constant growth of social media platforms, and how the portrayal of your brand on these platforms has become key.
Let’s face it, everyone is at it… from blogging via blogspot to liking on Facebook or trending & tweeting via Twitter, day in day out, the world is constantly connected, making local news global news, within seconds. It’s growth is set to continue just as fast as we’ve seen over the last 5 years, with the imminent arrival of Google + (plus).
A digital brand is the collective impression of all that is online about a person or a business. This impression is important in establishing and building customer trust and loyalty. The popularity of social networking sites means most consumer-facing brands have some kind of presence there, whether it’s a fan page, profile, channel or advertising viral. But the nature of social networks means that brands can’t guarantee the quality of content that appears on them. So how can you avoid the risk of inappropriate user-generated content appearing next to your brand name?
A worrying number of brands believe that social networks assume responsibility for all content posted on them, and so their own pages (and reputations) are kept ‘safe’. Not so. The sheer volume of content makes it impractical for networks to monitor each post before it appears online – and understandably, the legal responsibility for that content is not something they want to take on. So who is responsible for content? And how can brands exploit them and protect their brand?
If you think of social networks as content hosts rather than producers, it becomes clear where the responsibility lies (or doesn’t lie). After all, if you make a malicious phone call, you’re the one who ends up in hot water, not your phone company. Simply put, responsibility for content posted on social networking sites lies with the person that posts it. That person has a duty to comply with the terms and conditions of the network.
That’s all well and good, but what if your business has a popular Facebook group with thousands of members, one of whom decides to post an offensive comment? Only if the post is reported to the social network is it legally obliged to remove it. Brands that don’t moderate the content posted on their branded pages are risking a lot, primarily the safety of their consumers. They have a duty of care – particularly if they are targeting children – to make sure content that is posted in their names is safe, legal and free from abuse of any kind.
It is possible to moderate user-generated content, across the major social networks (Facebook, YouTube, MySpace and Bebo etc.). These are open forums, and no matter how well brands believe they know their users (and trust their behaviour), there is always a chance that a bad apple will turn up and start posting on your site.
For further reading on this subject, we’ve recommended the following articles:
As ever, head over to Higher Ground Creative to see how we can help you with all your Branding, Digital & Print requirements…
Until next time!