Today Facebook and Instagram have become the most successful social media sites; with 1.55 billion and 400 million users respectively (Facebook, Nov 2015). So there is no doubt that there is power for brands participating in social media. There is also a huge advantage in running or advertising promotional competitions via these channels.
However running any form of communication through social media is not without risk – you have no control over what your ‘followers’ post on your page. We at April5 endeavour to provide our clients with tools to mitigate the potential risks of running promotions via social media channels.
First things first – what are you responsible for on your social media pages? For Facebook if you own and run a brand or business page you are responsible for any content posted (published) on your page. Yes this includes those (questionable) posts you receive from consumers. As the publisher of the content you are obliged to remove posts that may be defamatory, offensive or misleading – even if the post was written by a consumer.
Conversely, if a consumer offers negative feedback that is within reason and you delete the comment in an effort to keep face – you may be in breach of the ACCC guidelines.
In comparison, running a brand or business page on Instagram does not make you a publisher or copyright owner of content your followers may tag you in or enter as part of a promotion. Rather the copyright is owned by the person who took the photograph – keeping in mind this often isn’t the person within the image (unless it is a #selfie of course!). In this instance April5 advises including clauses within your competition T&C’s outlining that as a condition of entering the competition the copyright owner (and others within the photo) grant permission to the brand/business to use the image.
In order to mitigate potential breaches when running competitions via social media channels April5 advocates two golden rules. The first; permits, permits, permits! The rumours are not true – you must obtain a permit to run a Game of Chance promotion via social media channels. The second; Terms and Conditions – these are your competition ‘rules’ and outlines to entrants on how the competition will be run and administered. April5 suggests ensuring that your Terms and Conditions are hosted on your social media page. If this is not possible April5 advises providing a link to the Terms and Conditions in the competition copy; or in the ‘About Page’ available throughout each social media channel.