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We’ve covered social media snafus on Firm Shui before. By now, you know that a well-planned social media strategy can do a lot for a brand. A perfectly curated Facebook post has the potential to launch your brand into virality, but one wrong slip can certainly cause things to spiral out of control. An added layer of care needs to be taken when posting on social media or the internet in general.
In fact, a wrongly worded tweet can be used against you in the court of law.
An early case of social media leading to a legal dispute comes from an exchange between Katherine Heigl and national drugstore chain, Duane Reade. A photo was snapped of Heigl leaving the pharmacy with two large shopping bags. Duane Reade saw an opportunity and posted the photo to their social media accounts with the caption: “Love a quick #DuaneReade run? Even @KatieHeigl can’t resist shopping #NYC’s favorite drugstore.” Heigl retorted with a $6 million lawsuit claiming that Duane Reade had appropriated her names and image for their commercial gain— and she was 100 percent right in doing so.
Duane Reade’s actions insinuated that Heigl was actively endorsing the brand when she was an ordinary patron. They attempted to use her notoriety for profit. When done properly, a celebrity endorsement acts as a bolster to a brand. Celebs can attract clients who otherwise could have been missed. Yet, when going this route there always needs to be an agreement and a contract between the organization and the celebrity endorser. Incidents like this may become more common as social media influencers continue to gain traction.
Ultimately brands are responsible for knowing what they legally can and cannot post. Another example: David Tamarkin, site director of Epicurious, recently uploaded a job listing to Twitter. The post asked for a “full-time freelancer” who would be responsible for general office duties as well as creating several recipes, articles and photo galleries each week. The problem is that New York State has very specific laws for laborers classified as freelance and the tweeted description raised concerns within the Twitterverse. So, the post attracted the attention of the New York Department of Labor who stated that they would look into the issue.
It is unreasonable to expect that everyone within an organization knows every single intricacy of the law. However, you want someone on your side to help keep things from slipping through the cracks. That’s when a trusted PR team can be an immensely valuable asset, helping to monitor and refine any items that could spell trouble for your company.
For more information on how to make your social strategy ironclad, contact The Firm Public Relations & Marketing today at 702.739.9933 or firstname.lastname@example.org.