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5 Ways To Protect Your Intellectual Property On Social Media


Our thanks to Stephanie Meadows for letting us re-post her article on 5 ways to protect your intellectual property on Social Media. It was originally published on LinkedIn and can be accessed here.

In a time when keeping your intellectual property private has become increasingly more difficult, how do companies manage the kind of content that their employees are sharing about their brand both during and after work hours online? The repercussions of one of your employees sharing confidential information about a product prior to it being available to the public can cost your company an undesirable amount of time and money.  Here are 5 useful tips for employers for keeping your IP private on social media.

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5 ways to protect your intel prop on social media1. Include a social media privacy policy in your NDA – Back in 2011 Apple’s social media policy was made public after a UK court filed for wrongful termination when an Apple retail employee was fired for the comments he made about the products on his private Facebook account.  As stated in an article on zdnetApple successfully argued that it was a justified decision as the company has strict rules about posting any negative comments on any social media sites in order to protect its commercial reputation.

2. Use data consolidating social media tools – Empower your human resource manager to check into what’s being said about your company from time to time. Tools like Echosec, a location based search engine allows you to insert your company’s address and view what’s being publicly posted in real time as well as any post made in previous months.  It’s an incredibly time-saving tool when you think of the amount of employees you have and their many social media accounts.

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3. Employ a social media brand ambassador– Having someone within your company who’s job description includes managing what’s being said about your brand online can help to curb online posts made by employees. Having it be known that there’s someone within the organization that will be trolling the internet for posts about your brand is likely going to deter employees from putting something out there that can potentially be found and cause them to lose their job.

4. Encourage your employees to change their privacy settings– Velocity Digital reports that “25% of Facebook users don’t even look at their privacy settings”, not to mention privacy settings continually change, and any information we post is viewable AND it becomes public domain. With that said, any written, or media documented brand exploitation could be viewed as a means of breaking the terms of an executed NDA. The more you educate your employees on what’s traceable back to them, the less likely they will be to engage in termination worthy behavior.

 5. Take action when action is needed– If you’re a private company, know what your rights are when it comes to dismissal around social media posts. You’d be surprised at what is considered “allowed” and what isn’t. There are many articles online that provide contradictory reports. It’s always best to have a legal representatives involvement when trying to figure out what the best course of action is around a dismissal of this nature. Setting an example of what will not be tolerated online by employees is a necessary evil when it comes to protecting your intellectual property.

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