Most businesses that I work with are utilizing social media in some form or fashion. Not only can things like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram be used to further your business, but it’s all 100% FREE. It’s brilliant.
However, with the development of this online world, it changes what risks we are opening our business up to. Risk is a normal part of running any business so it’s important to know how to protect against it.
When a small business uses social media, its risk of accidentally committing libel, slander, copyright infringement, and privacy invasion increases. All those tweets and posts can lead to lawsuits. A general liability policy can help. It includes protection for "advertising injury" meaning claims from your competitors that you badmouthed them in an ad.
Let's take a look at social media marketing risks and how general liability insurance can protect your small business.
What Is Advertising Injury, and What Does Social Media Have to Do with It?
Commercial general liability insurance guards your business from third-party lawsuits over bodily injuries and property damages. But it can also protect your business from advertising injury lawsuits.
A general liability insurance policy can help pay for legal expenses when you're sued over the following social media mistakes:
- Libel: a written defamatory statement that hurts someone’s professional reputation (e.g., you write a mean tweet about a competitor's moral failures and publish it for all to see).
- Slander: a spoken defamatory statement that hurts someone’s professional reputation (e.g., you post a YouTube video in which you made some snide remarks about a public figure who ate at your restaurant).
- Copyright or brand infringement: a copyrighted work used or claimed as your own without the creator’s permission (e.g., you swipe a copyrighted Pomeranian photo from the web and use it to promote your business without first getting permission).
- Privacy invasion: an intrusion in someone’s personal affairs without just cause (e.g., you post a picture of a client on your business's Facebook page without their consent).
Your small business can be sued over these advertising injuries even if it's an honest mistake. That's because a post can’t just be deleted – once it’s on the Internet, it lives on through screen grabs and shares. In other words, a rogue tweet or misguided post can continue causing damage, even if you didn't intend it.
Keep in mind some general liability policies are just that - general. Depending on the commercial policy, a claim made for media-based lawsuits may or may not receive coverage. Examine your company's commercial policy or BOP to make sure you're covered for media-related lawsuits and check to see that your limits are set high enough.
If you have questions regarding your insurance, ECI is always here. Contact us for a Oklahoma City general liability insurance quote today.