How Do You Get Your Lawyers On Board with Social Media?


If you’ve ever wondered why some brands on social media sound more robotic than others, don’t blame the copywriters, blame the law. For the panelists at Business Insider‘s Social Media ROI conference in New York City, one of the hardest questions to answer when developing a social media strategy was, “How do you bring your lawyers along this journey with you?”

Quaker Foods director of digital and new media Barbara Liss posed this particular question in a panel about engagement. Her company’s legal department, for example, worried that image-sharing site Pinterest might make them vulnerable to copyright lawsuits. It was hard to convince them that a “pin-it” button meant that the site owners wanted the images to be pinned.

Later in the conference, Eileen Loustau, director of digital and social media marketing for iShares at Black Rock, described the difficulty of “trying to be a person in social” while still following the rules that govern providers of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). Everything that went out to the public was under scrutiny, she said, from the company’s logo to today’s date.

In one case, the company used a football metaphor to describe investing in a volatile market. Released around the same time as the 2012 Super Bowl, Black Rock’s “Getting Cash Off the Sidelines” infographic garnered 250,000 views. Notice that the infographic says nothing about the Super Bowl directly.

There are other ways to add a personal touch to your social media campaign without stirring up trouble with the legal department. Russ Koesterich, CFA, who primarily serves as iShares’ global chief investment strategist, also contributed a blog post entitled, “A Letter to My Son: Financial Advice for Life.” Because the post was relatable and did not promise a return on any one type of investment, “it got the most page views out of anything,” said Loustau. And no one sued.

 Image by NotarYES via Shutterstock.

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