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General liability insurance and social media

Small businesses that use social media are at risk of accidentally committing libel, slander, and copyright infringement. A general liability policy can protect you from advertising injury claims and more.

What is advertising injury on social media?

General liability insurance protects your business from third-party lawsuits over bodily injuries and property damages, but it can also guard your business against advertising injury lawsuits.

A general liability insurance policy can help pay for legal expenses when you're sued over social media mistakes, including:

Libel

Libel is a written defamatory statement that hurts someone’s professional reputation. For example, a tweet about a competitor's services that is not accurate could result in a lawsuit.

Slander

Slander is a spoken defamatory statement that hurts someone’s professional reputation. If you create video content for your business, it could fall under this category.

Copyright or brand infringement

Copyright or brand infringement occurs when copyrighted work is used without the creator’s permission. For example, you might use a copyrighted photo from the web to promote your business without first getting permission.

Privacy invasion

Privacy invasion is an intrusion into someone’s personal affairs without just cause. For example, you might post a picture of a client on your business's Facebook page without their consent. Learn more about your customer's rights and when it is permissible to share customer photos on social media.

How to avoid social media mishaps

Investing in a general liability insurance policy can help you survive a lawsuit, but that's only half the battle. If your business is going to thrive online, you have to make a plan to keep your advertising injury exposure in check. Avoid social media snafus with these tips:

Create a social media policy. Make guidelines for what is and isn’t acceptable to post. Make sure your employees read and understand the policy.

Check the facts. Whatever topic you’re posting about, make sure any statements about others are true. Verify your sources.

Make a schedule for updates. With a schedule in place, you’ll know when to post without eating up your time or overwhelming your audience.

Listen and engage. Social media is about meaningful interactions. Engage with your followers by delivering interesting content that starts conversations.

Tighten up security. To prevent a nefarious third-party hacker from hijacking your social media accounts, create strong passwords. Update passwords frequently and only share them with employees who have permission to post on behalf of your business.

Pick fair-use images. Don’t use images that put you at risk for a copyright violation. Search for images available free of charge or take your own pictures.

Make sure your general liability insurance policy also includes advertising injury coverage. Mistakes happen, and this coverage can help your business bounce back after making one.

Save money by comparing quotes with Insureon

Complete Insureon’s easy online application today to compare general liability insurance quotes from top-rated U.S. companies. Once you find the right policy for your small business, you can begin coverage in less than 24 hours.

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