Does Your Social Media Campaign Pass the Legal Test?

Social Media can be a powerful marketing tool for your business, but some businesses forget that Australian law still applies and can run foul of legislation, particularly the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth).

Misleading and Deceptive Conduct

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission takes a very proactive stance against businesses that engage in Misleading and Deceptive Conduct. It is vital that you consider very carefully the content of any campaign.

Being able to get a campaign to go viral can produce huge exposure for a small outlay. And while it can be permissible in social media marketing to attempt to attract clicks by using some sort of intriguing lure, if it is not clearly apparent that the campaign is indeed advertising for your business, you can quickly come under scrutiny.

Rave reviews about your product and service can provide great credibility for your business, however if those reviews are not genuine, not only could you be engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct, if you are caught out, your campaign may go viral for the wrong reasons.

Moderate Comments in Forums / Blogs

Allowing any website visitor to post to your site, forum blog or other interactive social media campaign is an invitation for trouble. As a controller of that particular site it is possible that you are opening yourself up to being a publisher of defamatory material, a provider of pornography, copyrighted or other inappropriate material.

You should consider allowing negative feedback, outline how you will address the issues and turn a negative into a positive. This will show that your site is real, authentic and you are prepared to take criticism.

Comply With the Rules of the Website

Although it’s technically possible that you could face legal action over breaching a particular website’s rules (eg. Facebook), the more likely scenario is that you are either kicked off, suspended or the website will post some sort of rectifying or warning statement on your page. This can have negative consequences for your brand.

Don’t Write Something You Wouldn’t Put in a Radio, Newspaper or TV Ad

Social media and the internet can give the appearance of anonymity and people often let their guard down and treat it as a casual environment. Be careful what you write, say, post or even the photos, music and video you use. A great rule of thumb is to consider whether you would, or would even be allowed to, place that content in a radio, newspaper or television advertisement.

Limit Staff Access and Have Clear Guidelines

We have all seen examples of some Facebook comments or other social media forum where an errant employee has posted something completely inappropriate, abused a customer or otherwise brought the company into disrepute. As they say, bad news travels fast.

Having clear policies and procedures and limiting access to your social media accounts to those staff that are fully trained in those policies and procedures will help you minimise problems.

What Do You Do if it Goes Bad

Firstly, call us and we will help you develop a strategy to deal with the issue in a timely way. Get our advice and we will aim to have you deal with the issue in an open, transparent and legally sound manner that can limit the damage to your brand.

Considering a Social Media Campaign

If you have any questions or you are considering a social media campaign, it is wise to seek advice from experienced technology lawyers. Call Certus Legal Group, we are here to help.