Social Media Basics: Legal aspects of Social Media


Navigating Social Media Legal Risks

Social media can help companies build relationships and allow customers to promote the business with user-generated content such as comments, feedback, and recommendations to friends.   Consumers are increasingly seeking out online reviews of products and services before making a purchase.  Encouraging social media endorsements, soliciting testimonials, and requesting online reviews can be a way for companies to help potential customers make a buying decision.

In a blog post promoting his new book, Navigating Social Media Legal Risks: Safeguarding Your Business, Robert McHale,, provides recommendations on the legal aspects of social media endorsements and testimonials.

Briefly, his social media policy recommendations include:

  • Create and distribute a social media policy to everyone involved in your online marketing.  The policy should mandate disclosures about any incentives given to endorsers and reviewers to promote your products or services.
  • If an endorser is paid, given a free product or is an employee, be sure they disclose this with their endorsement.
  • Don’t make and don’t allow others to make false or misleading statements about your products or services.
  • Links to disclosure statements should be obvious and easy for consumers to find.

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Social media has experienced explosive growth in the past several years and is an important part of an effective internet marketing strategy.  It’s important to do social media right, including being aware of and complying with the legal aspects of social media marketing.

McHale’s book also covers topics such as social media promotions: rules for sweepstakes, contests and lotteries; using social media in pre-employment screening; employee use of social media; and social media business opportunities.