Circumstances will dictate your first step and spoof accounts illustrate this point well. These accounts are sometimes created by satirists and others who wish to parody a company for entertainment purposes. Contacting an individual to understand their motives and establishing a relationship can provide an opportunity to explain how his or her activity is in violation of your brand guidelines and allow you to work out a mutually-agreeable solution.
However, spoof accounts can also be created by people intent on damaging a brand or lining their pockets by confusing consumers who associate social media with transparency and trust. If the individual is unresponsive or hostile, your next action may require cataloguing the activity and reporting the impersonator, counterfeiter or scammer to the social media site so the site can enforce its terms of service.
The social media site’s terms of service are one of the keys to taking action when brandjackers target your brand. The terms of service usually prohibit activity by counterfeiters or others who are bent on fraud. After all, the sites want their visitors to participate in a safe environment and brandjackers do not foster safety.
It’s important to remember that the responsibility for monitoring the sites for brandjacking activity resides with the brand – with you - so constant vigilance is required to discourage repeat offenders as well as opportunists. Vigilance brings an extra benefit, too, as you will be able to identify infringing activity in its early stages, when the offenders have not invested significant time and resources in generating traffic and business. Our experience demonstrates that early detection and action increase the success of brand protection efforts.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our discussion on the importance of incorporating a brand protection component as you continue to develop your brand across social media channels. Doing so will empower your organization to more easily stop problems in their tracks and build trust with your brand’s followers, friends and fans.
For more information, download our whitepaper, How to Preserve Brand Health in Social Media Channels, or view our webinar on the topic.