3 Steps To Safeguard Your Brand On Social Media
Santomassimo Davis Legal Alert
With the increase of users on Social Media, consider safeguarding your brand on social media. It’s a fact: More Americans than ever are using social media, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. A recent Harris Poll found that more than 46% of U.S. adults were consuming more social media since the outbreak began.
So, it’s no surprise that as the pandemic continues to upend the global economy, many companies are scrambling to expand their presence on social media.
“There’s no question that a lot of companies are starting to focus more of their efforts on online selling and marketing right now,” says Anthony Davis, a partner at Santomassimo Davis LLP Outside General Counsel™ Solutions, a New Jersey-based firm with offices in New Jersey, Philadelphia and New York.
How Can You Be Responsible In Using Social Media?
And while social media is a viable way for brands to promote their products and services, it also can pose risks to the protection of a company’s intellectual property.
“We see such an array of misuse of trademarks online,” Davis says. “You’ve got to really be proactive to get ahead of it.”
Davis recommends companies take these three steps to help safeguard their brands on social media:
Step 1: Adhere to branding standards.
Trademarks can be weakened, and ultimately even lost, if you, an imposter, or even well-meaning customers, misuse them, warns Davis. So, it’s important not to relax your branding guidelines on social media. Whatever brand standards you’ve established that specify how your marks should be presented—including color, size, and any other special characteristics, need to be applied online, Davis advises.
“These are very simple things, but you have to be consistent,” he says. “We’re constantly helping clients clean up their branding on social media.”
Davis says to make sure your customers understand the guidelines, too. “Have a policy in place that if they’re not using your marks correctly, you don’t sell to them.”
Step 2: Carve out your space on major platforms
One surefire way to avoid brand impersonators on social media is to get ahead of them, says Davis. “Grab up every hashtag and username that incorporate your trademarks so you can maintain control of your brands,” he says. Otherwise, competitors, and overzealous fans, might attempt to hijack your brand online.
To further establish control, maintain social media profiles on all major platforms your customers may use. “If you have a strong presence, there will be a clear comparison between fakes and your brand,” he says.
One tip: Take the steps to show your account is authentic by securing a “verified” label on your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. (Each platform has its own requirements and simple application processes.)
Step 3: Be on the lookout for violations
There is no trademark police who will let you know if someone else is using your brand on social media. Therefore, it’s your responsibility to spot potential infringers and take action. Savvy companies have employees designated to regularly scour social media for that purpose, according to Davis. “They should act like customers and be actively searching social media sites for their company, brand name, products and trademarks to see who’s using them,” he says.
Your legal partner and third-party firms can also help scour social media for potential violators. If you discover a post that is infringing on your trademark or copyright, one solution is to file a takedown request with the social media platform to have the post removed.
If the issue is more complicated, work with your legal partner who will investigate possible remedies, including sending a cease-and-desist letter to the infringing business demanding that they stop using your mark. “Nine times out of ten, people will cooperate,” he says. “Most people don’t want any part of litigation.”
How Can Our Outside General Counsel Attorneys Help You Safeguard Your Brand On Social Media?
Santomassimo Davis LLP has a team of legal experts that can help companies navigate intellectual property issues, including the management of patents, trademarks, and copyrights.
For more information on Intellectual Property Management, schedule an appointment and take the necessary steps to protect your brand today!