Social media is a double-edged sword, on one side presenting a wealth of opportunity for business and brand owners to better understand and engage with customers. On the other, it offers the same potential opportunities for hackers, pirates, cyber criminals and counterfeiters to misuse the brand and reach customers.
From supermarkets to airlines and major banks, criminals have misused the goodwill of customers and exploited all kinds of trusted brand names on social media platforms and messaging apps in an attempt to catch out users. When things go wrong, victims often blame the brand and, in some instances, negative publicity may follow.
The challenge for brands and individuals is exacerbated by a growing level of personalization at social media platform level. With increased personalization comes increased data – which also means increased risk.
Increasingly, social media platforms are integrating more and more functionality.
Consumers can network, set up events, to create fundraisers, buy and sell through online marketplaces and look for jobs. With more personal data feeding into platforms, the threat has increased to individuals as well as brands, and proactive monitoring is essential.
For this reason, business tools are available and feature in-built functions. Facebook Business Manager, for example, helps monitor Facebook Ads, Facebook Marketplaces and Instagram to help ensure there are no copyright, trademark or counterfeit items being promoted.
Brand owners should all have access to purpose-built technology to help monitor for social media brand infringements. When possible, they should also have direct access to monitoring and enforcement through the platform itself. If a brand owner follows all protocols and is still experiencing challenges, having a contact and relationship with the platform itself can also help significantly with the escalation process.
Online brand protection
To deal with the evolving social media landscape and keep pace with evolving trends, it is crucial that online brand protection strategies remain flexible and nimble.
In the fast-paced world of social media, platforms are continuously evolving in all kinds of ways; from changes to terms and conditions and corporate policies to platform ownership, mergers and the emergence of new platforms. As such, the fallout from missing the smallest detail can prove as much of a challenge as the need to adapt to a more visible trend.
Just as all media channels are blurring, social media platforms too are expanding and becoming marketplaces, advertising vehicles, public and private chat forums and more. Technology can be utilized on the side of the business, acting as a vital tool to help stay on-top of brand protection programs and to unlock intelligence about which platforms customers are using and how they interact with the brand in such forums.
In turn, this understanding can focus campaign efforts, help to prioritise the most important social media strategy from a marketing perspective and determine where customers are most likely to encounter, and subsequently be at risk from, brand infringement and security threats.
Cyber criminals are upping their game when it comes to brand infringement and social media scams. As a result, organizations need to prioritize online brand protection and invest in social media expertise, which can provide an invaluable support, especially when it comes to navigating emerging social media trends and threats.