Instagram, the photo-sharing platform was able to achieve 1 million registered users within two months of its release. And It is no wonder that all the major brands jumped on the Instagram bandwagon. Social networks have drastically changed the way the world communicates. This has impacted business communications as well.
Adopting social media, especially one with an added importance for the visual component as a channel for business communication comes with risks and challenges. Even though a lot of firms consider communications on social network as formal, many don’t realize that they are entitled with the legal responsibility for the content they post on social media
So, how can enterprises stay compliant with the rules and regulations in the Instagram era? Let’s take a look:
Rules of the Regulatory Game
It is important to notice that brands who use social media must be compliant with advertising and data preservation regulations, especially if your company belong to one of the regulated industries like financial services where the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) enlists about preserving information on electronic media. If you fail to adhere to these regulations, it can lead to fines, lawsuits or injunctions.
Most of the businesses are accustomed when it comes to the governing of mediums like email and advertisements. But, many fail to replicate the same and lose sight of mandatory guidelines when it comes to social media channels.
Comments or posts exchanged on Instagram can be interpreted as business exchanges or advertisements and therefore, the existing rules apply. You have to be more careful about regulations while using Instagram because of the predominance of visual content. It is important to combat copyright infringement, violation of security laws or publishing of trade secrets. To do so, firms need to make sure that they are using images lawfully. The first step towards avoiding foul play and staying compliant is understanding the regulations.
Mitigating Reputational Risk
If a social media post is framed poorly, your social team might quickly end up with complaints from the clients and will also receive unwanted attention.
Example – The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration), has already made it clear that posting about medical products on social media might be considered as a violation of law. A warning letter was issued to celebrity Kim Kardashian when she was vocal about a morning sickness drug on Instagram.
The first step towards mitigating reputational risk will be developing management controls and procedures regarding what your employees can post on Instagram or other social media. You can also create a set of policies and processes that can help in developing content for social media.
If a corporate policy needs to effective, it should clearly outline what an employee is allowed to and not allowed to do. Moreover, each social network or channel comes with unique challenges. So, consider having different policies for each platform. Use screenshots and examples to help your employees understand the policies. Make sure that these systems are readily available to your employees as well. As an indication of transparency, many firms are posting photos of their social media policies publically on their websites.
Keeping Track Of What You’ve Done
Companies who use Instagram as a channel for communication should be prepared to track and protect their content. Instagram comments and posts are transient in nature, as any engagement or content can be deleted at any time.
If a brand is faced with investigations or lawsuits, they might need to submit social media discovery. Those who do not have a retention strategy, are putting themselves at risk legally. It can also create challenges internally that may result in a further drain on your resources. Social media discovery also paves an opportunity for businesses to attain more knowledge from social communications data.
Reviewing and retaining Instagram activities of your employees is a building block to achieve solid employee supervision and strategies regarding regulatory compliance. In many text-based social media platforms, compliance transgressions are automated. This is done with the use of “lexicons” or “keyword” searches. But, in the case of Instagram, manual review is needed to ensure that the images scheduled for posting are appropriate.
While posting, firms should avoid pictures that might convey wrong ideas. Individual images may be offensive to some, but not to others. Do not post derogatory and obscene pictures. In short, even a new age social medium like Instagram requires extra bandwidth and sophistication for reviewing.
In the past decade, many companies have established connections with their audience via social networks and channels. This move has dramatically transformed the landscape of business communications. When it comes to channels like Instagram, creating robust compliance strategies can aid the brands in widening their Instagram follower base and in adhering to the ever growing list of rules and regulations.