February 7, 2013
Legal cases involving social media are on the rise. Companies need to be prepared more than ever.
Today we launch our benchmark study on social media and the law. Looking at how prepared UK companies are for social media litigation. You can use the data to evaluate your own knowledge and establish what areas you might need to focus on to protect your business.
Looking at the responses from the survey, 93% of which are involved with social media marketing, there are three rather interesting findings:
We know the risks, but don’t have company buy-in
Over 50% of companies don’t consider social media legal risks to be an issue or a priority. This was unexpected when respondents made it clear that they are very aware of the risks. The data shows that the biggest vulnerability is disclosure of confidential information. 61% are not confident that sensitive information is protected on social media. And recent crisis and legal claims would back this up.
One conclusion from these insights is that senior management are not quite as aware of the risks as those at the coalface of social networking. In our enthusiasm to use social media, maybe the risks were not detailed and plans not put in place. We need to get companies involved, tighten policies and most importantly educate the business companywide.
Social Media & the law – An infographic by the team at social media consultancy, immediate future
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We don’t have to be lawyers, but we should know when to get legal involved
It is quite understandable that that we are not all legal eagles. But we should at least be aware of when laws apply and know when to involve the lawyers. Awareness of the law was quite low; suggesting a bit more education is required. I was surprised though, at the number of participants that were not fully aware of quite well known regulations. Especially those with a marketing background. And particularly those running competitions, promotions and endorsements in social media. Only 6% were very aware of Cap Code regulations.
If you want to remind yourself of some of these regulations, they are available on the ASA website and there is a lovely summary of their application by the social media council at IAB.
Some companies still need to do the ground work
Almost 20% of companies don’t yet have a social media policy. Even if you aren’t actively involved in social, this does leave businesses rather exposed.
A policy though, is just a first step. You need to bring your policies to life. It only takes a slip of the keyboard to publish a personal tweet on a company profile or for one person to more purposefully throw the cat amongst the pigeons. So think about the processes you need in place, train your people and make technology and tools work for you.
Download the full report and compare your social media legal knowledge