In the era of social media, brands and individuals should be careful about their online reputation by conducting online reputation management courses. Businesses in Africa are restructuring their mode of communication to accommodate social media – Emma Salder a social media law specialist remarked at the #outsideinsight event held recently in Johannesburg.

She shared some crucial lessons to help brands adapt to the new ways of communicating in the era of digital and viral media.

Everyone is a publisher

Her insights into social media laws clarified the grey areas that have been left unattended to. As an authority on social media ethics and the legal parameters of the digital world, Emma brought a wealth of experience to the #outsideinsight congregation to shed light on the do’s and don’ts of social sharing.

Content released to the public on any social media platform ceases to be yours (the content creator) and can be used in a court of law as evidence.

The evolution of communication has evolved, making everyone a publisher in their own right. The law has equally caught up to manage the consequences that come with it.

Employee breach of contracts has stretched to reputation management on social media, where everything you say or do can be used against you.

Treat yourself like a celebrity by learning to say NO as personal remarks on current affairs, politics and other matters will be tagged back to the company you work for, and you can be caught on the wrong side of the law.Digital footprint vs digital shadow

Google yourselves once in a while and have a Google alert on your name to be up to speed with what is being said about you in the social web. Digital footprint (what you publish) is easy to manage, but the digital shadow (what people publish about you) is harder to manage. Every day, we leave digital breadcrumbs – this information can be used to determine the future of any business whether big or small.

If you wouldn’t put a billboard of your company doing bad things, then don’t put it up about yourself.

You are a brand

Each social media platform serves its purpose. Whether it is having conversations, photography, music streaming, watching video etc. Which means there are many creative options to brand yourself or your business.Make a concerted effort to manage the brand you paint out there of yourself- the power is your hands.

As digital strategists, we need to remind our clients that it doesn’t matter if it’s a verified account with 100k followers, or an egg with 10 followers the consequences are leveled.

Social Media refresher training is necessary

Social media is NOT a job for the interns. Invest in your employees and you will strengthen your brand. It is important for brands to develop social media guidelines that are carefully mapped out with reference to the respective country laws.

Brands should also conduct refresher training sessions for employees who post content on the internet either as part of their job or as private persons. These will help in managing the reputation of the brand.


Remember, in social media, every story can go viral in a matter of minutes.Here is an important link if you’re thinking of setting a social media policy for your company.

About the Author: WMC Editor

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