As social media marketers, we are constantly thinking about the different impacts that our statuses, tweets, interaction, content and promotional campaigns will have on our brand and reputation. How many new customers will we gain from this? How will this affect our top-of-mind awareness with our demographic? However, many social media marketers fail to recognize what impact their efforts will have legally, and even more learn this lesson the hard way. One seemingly innocent tweet could end up in a million-dollar lawsuit. Companies are now creating their own strict internal social media guidelines with the help of attorneys to prevent any legal issues that may arise. Mashable recently covered this topic with the help of Gonzalo E. Mon, an attorney with Advertising Law practice, Kelley Drye and Warren LLP. It’s an interesting read. Here are the high points:

  • Be real. Don’t have employees act as fake consumers to recommend your products. And if you do have bloggers that are endorsing your brand, be truthful as to whether or not they have a specific connection, are getting paid to blog, are getting free samples or receiving any benefits for their efforts.
  • Keep an eye on the content that’s being posted on your sites. What your followers are posting on your Facebook page about your competitors could be seen as defamatory or could contain false claims, and the consequences could be pinned on you if it’s determined you solicited this kind of response.
  • Social media is still media. The same laws apply. This is especially true when it comes to contests, sweepstakes and promotions. Facebook, for example, has its own set of guidelines for how to run a contest, and your brand’s page could be shut down if it is discovered you did not follow these rules.
  • Don’t be rash. When a problem arises, it will be temping to act on an impulse to fix it quickly in order to keep it from playing out in public. However, this could actually make things worse. Weigh the possible legal ramifications carefully before acting, even if it means consulting with a legal team and taking more time to respond.

These are just a few things to keep in mind, but remember, every social media campaign is different and should be treated uniquely.