Social Media Use, TikTok, and Your Small Business
For several months now, lawmakers have expressed security concerns regarding the wildly popular video app TikTok. Several countries have already forbidden government employees from using the application, citing worries over user data being shared with the Chinese government or fears that the application will be used to spread misinformation. The future of TikTok in the United States is uncertain, and some lawmakers have pushed for the app to be banned entirely. In fact, the governor of Montana signed a bill this week to ban TikTok in the state.
However, banning TikTok may have unintended consequences for many small business owners. Increasingly, small businesses are using social media applications and websites such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and even Snapchat to advertise their products and services.
Small Businesses Who Rely on TikTok May Be Forced to Pivot
One study found that 78 percent of the small businesses that advertise on TikTok have reported a positive return on investment. If TikTok is banned in the United States, many small businesses will need to reevaluate how they advertise their products and services. While social media platforms have been used for advertisements for years now, TikTok offers a unique method for delivering short, engaging video messages.
YouTube, Facebook, and other platforms have launched their versions of the popular short-form videos on TikTok, which may provide a viable alternative.
Social Media Can Make or Break a Small Business
For entrepreneurs and business owners operating on a shoestring budget, social media is often a cost-effective, easily accessible means of connecting with potential customers. However, business owners must also be cautious with how they use social media and what they share. Just as a glowing review about a new product can go viral, disparaging information about a burgeoning business can dash a business’s potential for growth in a few clicks of the mouse.
In today’s digital world, it is crucial for businesses to have a social media policy describing how social media should and should not be used. The policy should state who can post on social media on behalf of the company, the types of things that should and should not be posted on a company’s social media accounts, security protocols, an action plan in the event of a PR crisis, and information about the use of copyrighted materials.
Businesses should also be mindful of how they handle negative online reviews. It may be momentarily satisfying to quip back at an ungrateful customer who leaves an unfair negative review, but doing so can tarnish your business’s reputation irreparably.
Employers cannot police what employees post on their personal accounts outside of work hours. However, a comprehensive social media policy should address the fact that employees represent the company – even when they are off work – and encourage employees to keep this in mind when interacting on social networks. More importantly, the social media policy should specifically state that employees are forbidden from sharing confidential business or customer information on social media.
Contact our Naperville Business Law Attorneys
The experienced Naperville business lawyers at the Gierach Law Firm assist with drafting and review of employee handbooks, business contracts, and much more. Call our office today at 630-756-1160 to set up a confidential consultation.
Please note: These blogs have been created over a period of time and laws and information can change. For the most current information on a topic you are interested in please seek proper legal counsel.