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How to ensure brand compliance in your social media publishing

Yugal Pandey

October 5, 20226 min read

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In 2018, Snapchat crashed for millions of users due to technical issues. The brand tweeted they were fixing the bug. Here’s the tweet:

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During the crash, Snapchat Support quickly addressed users’ concerns and offered solutions.

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Perhaps, too quickly. 

People felt that a bot was responding to their queries with automated responses, triggered by keywords like ‘streak,’ ‘lost streak,’ etc.

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Soon, many users (and non-users) started testing the theory by joining the ‘fun,’ leaving Snapchat red-faced.

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This is an example of how non-compliant messaging affects brands.

Moreover, your posts will likely stay online forever, even after you delete them — especially the problematic ones.

Therefore, ensure that all your social posts comply with your brand and social media guidelines.

What is social media brand compliance?

Social media brand compliance is the practice of ensuring that your posts adhere to the laws and regulations of the industry and are NEVER off-brand.

Consistency in elements like logos, tone, slogan, color, graphics, etc., across all social platforms is crucial to social media brand compliance.

Importance of social media brand compliance

Improves brand recognition across all channels

Irregularities in your brand logo, colors, fonts, tone, etc., can result in people not recognizing your brand and moving on — findings of recent research suggest that color alone improves brand recognition by up to 80%.

Not just that, brands that are consistently presented are four times more likely to improve their visibility (both online and offline).

Protects your brand from making false claims

Without a compliance strategy, employees can accidentally post false claims and information on social media, resulting in a needless controversy that can harm your brand’s reputation.

An independent panel within the company to moderate your posts can help you build your brand reputation.

How to ensure brand compliance in your social media publishing?

Here are seven ways to incorporate brand compliance into your social media publishing (and beyond).

1. Maintain an updated social media policy

Create a foundational document of compliance guidelines for your social activity and share it with your teams and employees.

A significant social media compliance policy contains detailed guidelines, including (but not limited to):

  • Information about your brand’s official accounts on social media platforms

  • Engagement guidelines (for example, types of posts employees can engage with)

  • Employees must identify themselves in their bios and relevant posts

  • Employees must add disclaimers like ‘All opinions expressed are my own and do NOT reflect the opinions of <company name>’ in their bio when sharing opinions on politics, etc.

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Source

  • Instruct employees to avoid sharing any confidential information.

  • Promote positivity and educate employees on social media harassment and ways to report/handle it.

  • Educate employees on intellectual property, copyright, and other important laws.

  • Provide easy access to helpful documents containing community guidelines, social media style guides (if any), etc.

  • Train employees on cybersecurity and ways to secure their accounts.

Just creating a social media policy isn’t enough. You need to update it regularly based on the latest industry regulations and social media policies. 

Inform employees of the latest iterations or additions, every time you update your social media policy. Moreover, regularly giving employees a detailed walkthrough of the compliance guidelines is essential.

2. Limit access to your social accounts to relevant teams

Sharing passwords of your social accounts with multiple teams/employees increases the risk of unauthorized access.

Only relevant teams must be able to access a brand’s social accounts. Therefore, guidelines and systems managing roles and permissions must be put in place, ensuring that you know EXACTLY who has access to your brand’s social accounts.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when giving teams access to your brand’s social accounts:

  • Teams should be granted permissions/access based on their needs. For example, support teams should have access to the support accounts and restricted access to other social accounts of the brand.

  • Relevant teams should monitor performance metrics — your brand's marketing team should be able to monitor the performance of its social accounts.

  • Give access to publishing, asset management, etc., only to relevant employees.

  • Use official company channels to handle access requests.

Regularly change the password of your social accounts to ensure account security and prevent security breaches when employees exit your company. 

Moreover, consistently changing your password revokes any unauthorized access given accidentally to employees/teams and allows you to examine who has access to the social accounts.

3. Ensure brand compliance in your influencers’ posts

Influencer marketing is projected to become a $24.1 billion industry by 2025. But working with influencers can be risky for your brand if they are non-compliant. 

So, you must create a brand compliance policy for influencers to ensure that the content they post on your brand’s behalf adheres to your brand guidelines.

Leslie Fair, senior attorney, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), had this piece of advice for brands concerning influencer contracts:

“Was it movie mogul Sam Goldwyn who said, ‘An oral contract isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on? A written policy for influencers without effective monitoring and follow-through suffers from the same deficiency. Keep an eye on what influencers are doing on your behalf. If you pre-approve your influencers’ posts, don’t give them the OK unless they have adequate disclosures. And if your influencers don’t follow your rules, bid them buh-bye.”

Here’s how you can ensure that your influencers are brand compliant:

  • Add your brand compliance guidelines to your influencer contracts.

  • Set up a meeting with influencers and explain your brand compliance guidelines.

  • Share pre-approved post types and preferred choice of words that influencers can refer to before posting.

  • Inform influencers about the preferred hashtags.

  • Review their content, image, hashtag, disclaimer of a paid partnership, etc. before approval.

  • Monitor the posts published by your influencers during the collaboration.

4. Establish a regulated approval process

Overlooking regulated approval paths increases the risk of non-compliant posts getting published accidentally by your team.

A regulated approval process allows you to tweak a post to make it more compliant and even flag it for non-compliance at the review stage when necessary.

You can establish a regulated approval process by 

  • Defining multi-tiered approval paths consisting of user approval, queue-based approval, or external user approval;

  • And implementing a global compliant framework with rules and guidelines to configure your approval workflow.

5. Create a pre-approved content library 

Defining a regulated approval process is efficient, but reviewing and approving all the posts timely can be tricky — unless you have a pre-approved content library.

A pre-approved content library mainly contains:

  • Post templates

  • Images

  • Logos

  • GIFs

  • Infographics

  • Videos

Since these elements are pre-approved, employees and internal teams can use them to publish across their social accounts without requiring approval while maintaining compliance with your brand guidelines.

6. Use AI to augment your compliance strategy

Besides creating a pre-approved content library, AI can also help save time invested in reviewing and seeking approval.

Incorporating AI into your compliance policy guidelines ensures that your posts aren’t biased, irrelevant, abusive, or aggressive. It also allows you to receive real-time alerts about non-compliant posts.

Not just texts, AI can also vet images, videos, infographics, and animated GIFs.

7. Be on the lookout for unofficial accounts

Monitoring your brand’s interactions with consumers on social media in comments, messages, etc., is crucial to give you an idea of whether your messages and responses have been compliant with your brand’s social media guidelines or not.

Consistent monitoring also helps you identify fake accounts masquerading as your official brand account and interacting with your users, which might be harming your brand image. 

Such imposters won’t likely follow your social media brand compliance guidelines because of three key reasons:

  • They are unaware of your social media brand compliance guidelines.

  • They are imposters and don’t care about your brand image.

  • Competitors might have created such accounts to promote their products and defame yours.

But why do people create fake brand accounts? 

The key reasons are:

  • To gain access to your followers’ personal information, like credit card details, name, contact information, etc.

  • To offer fake discounts and promotions to tarnish your brand image.

  • To cheat unsuspecting people of their money.

Adding links to your social accounts on your official website can help users differentiate fake accounts from official ones.

Apart from this, you ought to remain consistent with monitoring your accounts and mentions to identify any imposters and immediately respond to customers’ concerns on social media.

Facts:

  • Almost 20% of social media accounts associated with the top ten brands are fraudulent.

  • In 2020, the Internet Crime Complaint Center recorded over 28,000 complaints related to spoofing, with losses totaling approximately $216 million.

In 2021, Facebook took down nearly 1.3 billion fake accounts.

Once you’ve ensured that your posts comply with your brand, continue monitoring and improving your social media publishing strategies.

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