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Tweet or Twibel: A Small Business Owner's Guide to Advertising Injury

Feb 17, 2017



  • Tweet or Twibel: The Small-Business Owner's Guide to Advertising Injury

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    how Social Media helpS SMall BuSineSSeS ......... 8

    what countS aS advertiSing injury? a look at Slander, liBel, invaSion of privacy, and copyright infringeMent ...........................14

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    Social Media MiStakeS that coSt SMall BuSineSSeS Big ...22


    copyright lawS & Social Media: a SMall BuSineSS guide ........................ 29



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    Social Media liaBilitieS: your eMployeeS, fanS, & eneMieS ....................... 35




    the high coSt of advertiSing injury lawSuitS .......................46

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    Social Media Marketing tipS for SMall BuSineSS: cut your advertiSing injury expoSure ..................53


    Beyond advertiSing injury .........................................65


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    introductionOnce upon a time, advertising injury was something for big business to worry about when they offended a competitor in a major-market TV ad. In the age of online ads and social media, though, even sole proprietors and owners of home-based businesses are at risk for advertising injury claims.

    Why? Because claims of slander, libel, invasion of privacy, and copyright infringement (all of which fall under the advertising injury umbrella) can be filed for posts to social media sites.

    Considering that 73 percent of small businesses used social media in 2012, and 25 million have active accounts on Facebook, that translates to a lot of advertising injury exposure for the nations entrepreneurs.

    A single misstep can trigger legal action that costs a business owner thousands of dollars (regardless of his or her actual guilt). Thats why its crucial for business owners to understand what advertising injury is and how to avoid it when promoting goods and services online.

    This eBook is your comprehensive guide to advertising injury: what it is, how to avoid it, and what to do if your business is slapped with an advertising injury lawsuit. Read on for tips on how to keep your business financially strong and out of court.

    what iS advertiSing injury?Advertising Injury: /n/ a type of personal injury involving the publication or dissemination of libelous or slanderous information, the infringement of copyright or brand, or other misuse or misrepresentation

    Tweet or Twibel: The Small-Business Owners Guide to Advertising Injury

    WhAT yOu need TO knOW TO AVOId The COsTly dAngeRs OF sOCIAl medIA mARkeTIng

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    how doeS advertiSing injury affect SMall BuSineSSeS?In the Information Age, small businesses are most likely to come across advertising injury issues when using social media. That isnt to say social media marketing isnt without its merits. When handled well, it offers an inexpensive, authentic way to promote your business and engage with your customers.

    But social media can be tricky: people on social media sites tend to want two contradicting things. They want to be seen and to connect with their friends on these networking platforms, and at the same time, they want to limit how much advertisers and businesses can know about their preferences.

    so how can you make sure your small business benefits from the valuable information social media sites of-fer about your customers while staying in the good graces of the people youre trying to connect with? This eBook answers that question. In it, youll discover

    how social media helps small businesses.

    What constitutes advertising injury in the context of social media.

    how to avoid the social media mistakes most likely to trigger advertising injury lawsuits.

    how to handle copyright on social media sites.

    how to use customer photos legally.

    What advertising injury lawsuits cost.

    how to deal with frivolous advertising injury lawsuits.

    how to minimize the chances that youll ever face an advertising injury lawsuit.

    If you dont find the answers to your advertising injury questions here, feel free to send us an email. Were happy to help keep your business safe any way we can!

    mailto:[email protected]?subject=Advertising%20Injury%20Question

  • How Social Media Helps Small Businesses

    chapter 1

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    Chapter 1: How Social Media Helps Small BusinessesAs we mentioned, tens of millions of small businesses have joined social media sites to promote their brands and engage with their audience. That makes sense: 73 percent of all online adults use social media, with fully 71 percent of them using Facebook.

    Whats especially encouraging is that small-business owners are savvy about the ways social media can help a business by engaging customers, increasing brand awareness, and augmenting existing customer service operations even if it doesnt offer a straightforward, dollars-and-cents return on investment.

    Check out the chart below to see a breakdown of the reasons small-business owners include social media in their marketing strategy.

    Why smBs use sOCIAl medIA










    Engage CurrentCustomers

    Boost CurrentLoyalty

    Find NewCustomers

    Collaborate Externally

    Collaborate Internally

    Boost BrandAwareness

    Provide Customer Service

    Combat Negative Publicity

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    As with anything, though, social media is a mixed bag: in addition to offering business owners a low-cost, high-visibility way to connect with current and potential customers, it exposes small businesses to a number of liability risks.

    most notably, social media sites introduce the risk of advertising liability claims against small businesses. That takes a lot of small-business owners by surprise. Because youre not forking over thousands of dollars for air time or spending weeks conceptualizing an ad campaign, marketing efforts on social media can feel low-stakes and inconsequential compared to their old-school counterparts.

    But anything published where the public can see it radio ad, billboard, or tweet can be the target of an advertising injury lawsuit. And the costs of any lawsuit are high, even if its dropped before going to court. even hiring a lawyer can cost a couple grand.

    dont worry, though: if youve got a basic general liability Insurance policy, youve probably got coverage for most advertising injury claims. so if you are sued for something you or one of your employees posts online, youll likely be able to make a claim on your gl Insurance and not have to suffer any financial consequences greater than the cost of your deductible.

    (you can learn more about this coverage by jumping to the how general liability Insurance Protects you from Advertising Injuries section on page 63 of this guide.)

    Of course, its cheaper and easier to avoid lawsuits altogether. In Chapter 2, we discuss everything you need to know about advertising injury so you can do exactly that.

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    I talk to a lot of small-business owners, and because I own a media business, a lot of them ask me ques-tions about social media. What Ive found is that social media is kind of like exercise: everyone knows that its important, but most people strug-gle with finding the time to do it and arent sure how to get the greatest benefit from the least amount of work.

    As a result, too many business owners waste valuable time and money on social media efforts that deliver very little ROI. luckily, theres hope. heres a look at what I call the seven deadly sins of social media. Avoid these, and youll be able to fit social media into your schedule and maximize the impact your efforts have.

    Social Media Sin #1: Mixing personal and professional accountsdid you know 14 percent of small-business owners blend personal and professional accounts? Its understandable, especially for businesses that start as side projects you want to promote to your family and friends. But as soon as you start selling, you need a separate page for your business. Otherwise, you could end up facing a messy lawsuit or alienating potential customers (see #2). The time it takes to set up and maintain a business account separate from your personal page is well worth the effort.

    Social Media Sin #2: Talking Politics (or Religion) Ive spoken to small-business owners who reasoned that posting their political views on their business pages made sense: after all, isnt the point of social media to give your business a personality? yes, but thats only half the story. your businesss personality needs to be carefully cultivated to appeal to your target audience. Business owners already have so many factors working against them why add another by potentially turning off customers who would otherwise be enthusiastic buyers? (The caveat here is if you own a political or religious business. Then, of course, posting about your views makes sense.)

    Social Media Sin #3: Posting Too Much Information On the one hand, you want your fans to know youre having a sale this weeken

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