The Small-Business Owner's Guide to Advertising Injury


Chapter 5: Social Media Liabilities: Your Employees, Fans, & Enemies

By now, you understand the risks associated with crafting your social media content. But they don't call it a "social" network for nothing. Anything your small business posts could reach thousands of people and prompt responses from folks outside of your business.

That's certainly a good thing so long as everything goes according to plan. But what about the instances when an employee posts something you wish you could take back? Or a customer posts questionable content on your page? Or worse, what about when someone else hacks into your business's social media account and poses as your business?

It's times like these that a broader audience means you have to redouble your damage control efforts. Though small business insurance can cover a number of social media missteps and cyber damages, it's still important to understand the risks you face every time you log in.

It makes sense to get your employees involved with your business's social media marketing strategy. And with 25 percent of small businesses noting that they spend six to 10 hours each week managing social media accounts, you may have no choice but to get others involved. But where there is open communication and a broad audience, there's also the potential for PR meltdowns, unprofessional behavior, and advertising injuries.

Even if you're the only person who handles your company's social media accounts, you can never be certain that you won't run into liabilities in more indirect ways. For example, if you write disparaging remarks about your competition on your personal social media profile, there are some instances where your business could be sued. Similarly, if your employee uses their personal profile to harass other employees online, your business could be held responsible for that behavior.

Who Manages Social Media at SMBs?

Who Manages Social Media at SMBs?
Number of People Percentage of Companies
1 person 53%
2 to 5 people 21%
Everyone 4%
No One 20%


Next: Part 1: Can You Be Held Accountable for What Others Say on Social Media?

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