Everybody uses professional services. Whether that’s on the personal level, like going out for dental services at the nearest clinic or something like an LLC outsourcing product development to another company, they keep the world moving and meet specific needs. You can’t expect anyone and everyone to be capable of doing everything by themselves, and it’s the reason why businesses partner up with like-minded brands in their industry and why influencers and popular personalities receive sponsorships.
However, one aspect of professional services, specifically the legal department, often doesn’t get enough attention when it’s equally important in many dimensions of business operations like security, internal control, and other monitoring activities. And today, we want to dive deeper into the social media context, learn how vital legal services are when communicating with your target audience via the Internet, and why exercising extra caution is necessary for this digital era.
What Are Their Uses in the Legal Process?
At face value, social media posts and advertising campaigns on these platforms look like they only serve the purpose of informing your audience, sprinkling in a bit of shock value, and riding along with current trends. However, these very same social media posts and updates have many use cases in the legal process, namely, (1) utilized in discovery for litigation, (2) for the observance of stipulations on contracts, and (3) following copyright and licensing rules.
- Used in Discovery for Litigation: Even if your posts and adverts come off as entertainment and have zero ulterior motives, they can still be used in court for the purpose of discovery, like establishing intent. In some cases, social media posts can hold you liable for your actions and either reduce or increase damage rewards or the amount you must compensate. For example, if your company’s recent tweets do not reflect your defense, you could be facing a heftier fine in a settlement.
- Invalidate Agreements and Contracts: Companies thrive and succeed with the help of partnerships, and it’s why startups emphasize impactful and long-term professional relationships to get a competitive advantage in the market. However, every partnership agreement is signed on a contract with specific stipulations from both parties that each of them must observe. And while business decisions and projects are the primary concerns, social media posts that invalidate confidentiality clauses and terms can void any agreement made.
- Copyright Infringement and Licensing: Last but not least, anything that deals with digital information and assets will almost certainly come across risks of copyright infringement and licensing issues. For the most part, you don’t have much to worry about in terms of the music and graphics used for your content as long as it falls under fair use. However, there are cases wherein adamant companies will push for a strike, and you’ll be stuck between a rock and a hard place with legal expenses.
Always Value Company Safety and Security First
Given some of the most common reasons above on why legal services are essential when managing your company’s social media profiles and accounts, it’s clear that businesses must value their safety and security first before launching anything for the purpose of PR and traffic. And while it might appear like a difficult goal to accomplish on paper, here are some actionable and accessible steps you can take right now to get you started:
- Establish Specific Social Media Policies: While smaller businesses and limited employees are far easier to monitor in terms of social media activity that affects the company, medium-sized to larger corporations don’t have the same luxury. As a result, implementing and establishing specific social media policies is key to maintaining order and discipline in the workplace, like avoiding public comments that can adversely affect other employees.
- Work Closely with Your Marketing Team: You can only implement so many preventive and detective procedures until your internal control system is overloaded with too many tasks to circulate. That being the case, it’s far more beneficial to work closely with your marketing team or maybe even create a separate approval and verification team to double-check on possible risks of every social media post.
- Build a Crisis and Contingency Plan: At the end of the day, some risks will turn into actual problems, and just like how your business would prepare for an economic growth slowdown in 2022, you also need a contingency plan for legal trouble pertaining to social media. As a rule of thumb, you should allocate the same amount of resources and attention to your legal department to guarantee immediate action for when these challenges come to light.
Social Media Is More Than an Advertising Platform
Social media isn’t just a platform for advertising and marketing but a digital environment where accountability and responsibility are present. Therefore, treat it with the same urgency and depth as any other aspect of your business operations.