Understanding the Risks of Social Media Marketing

Social media is definitely one of the hottest topics in digital marketing, and the numbers underscore the reason for the hype. Facebook, the undisputed titan, reported 2.38 billion regular users in the first quarter of 2019. Instagram, the preferred platform for many younger consumers, reports 1 billion regular users, and YouTube claims 1.3 billion. Facebook celebrated its fifteenth birthday this year, which means there is a generation of consumers who have never known a world without social media. With all these considerations in mind, marketing your self-storage operation on these platforms is no longer a question of “if” but “when.”

Promoting your facility on social media can help your business stay relevant and provides free access to a large audience of potential customers. Social media gives businesses the ability to post real-time updates and can help enhance the relationship with prospective and existing tenants in a way that no other medium can replicate.

Know the Risks of Posting

As with any business tool, however, the benefits are accompanied by risk. Social media is a form of publishing, and users may be subject to the associated legal liabilities. The most common types of social media risk and liability include the following:

  • Reputational risk
  • Lack of message control
  • Defamation, libel, and product disparagement
  • Copyright infringement
  • Breach of security, privacy, or confidential information

The first and most critical step in managing social media risk is to create a stand-alone social media policy that identifies those that have the authority to use social media on behalf of the business. This policy will need to outline the approved strategy for posting and responding to comments, and specific details about how the policy will be enforced. It is highly recommended that you consult your attorney during the policy development process. Once the policy is in place, it’s important to provide ongoing training and education for your employees.

Monitor Accounts Daily

Social media activity should be monitored daily with negative comments reported to you immediately. If you don’t have access to in-house staff to create content and actively monitor your accounts, consider reaching out to a third-party social media company. If you choose to handle social media activities within your operation, it is still beneficial to have a third party review your activity on a quarterly basis to provide marketing guidance and help ensure compliance with the social media policy.

Finally, consult your insurance agent for advice about exposures related to social media and online marketing risks. Your agent can provide information about applicable coverage including cyber insurance and other products that address your operation’s needs.

Mike Schofield

President and CEO

Leave a Reply