While social media allows brand owners to better engage with a diverse array of consumers, it also creates protection and enforcement issues. Here are our top five social media strategies to better protect your brand:
- Create an Internal Social Media Policy - Companies should create, maintain, and regularly update guidelines regarding employees' use of social media. This should extend to social media use on behalf of the company as well as personal use when off duty.
- Consult with Trademark Counsel Early - Trademark counsel can advise whether a particular brand is available or relatively clear for your company's use and registration before you invest goodwill and money into that brand.
- Monitor Social Media Sites for Brand Misuse - Third parties may be misusing your trademarks in a way that could confuse consumers or even threaten your intellectual property rights. Monitor and address these instances of misuse as soon as you are made aware of them.
- Beware of Misuse by Fans - Fan sites or fan-made products to be used in conjunction with your product (e.g., an accessory for the "YOUR BRAND" widget) can be inappropriately labeled, resulting in infringement or misuse. These situations often require a delicate approach so as not to upset your fan base, on one hand, and to protect your intellectual property rights on the other.
- Familiarize Yourself with Social Media Takedown Options - Social media websites often offer online forms or ways in which to request takedown of materials that potentially infringe your copyright or trademark rights. Understanding each site's available options will make it easier and more efficient for you to protect your intellectual property rights.