Twitter's Controversial Algorithm Changes: What They Mean for Your BusinessTwitter Vs. Facebook: Which One Is Better for Promoting Your Brand?3 Free Twitter Tools PR Pros Can't Live WithoutSocially Stephanie: Social Media for the Automotive Industry
- Content Marketing
When Your Customers Become Your Contributors: Brand Journalism Meets TraditionalToo Many Advertisers Are Talking, Not Enough Are ListeningEmotion Drives Behavior: 3 Brands Getting It RightNative Advertising: The New New Thing or a Race to the Bottom? [VIDEO]
Technology & Data
Data and Creativity: Defining Your Data-Driven Social CampaignTalking Strategy and Data with Shannon Lee of Precision StrategiesNew IBM Study Reveals 3 Key Characteristics of the Most Successful CompaniesMinority Report: Confronting Privacy Issues in Big Data Gathering
- Tech & Innovation
- marketing automation
- Social Tools
- Small Business
- Social Organization
Recap from the First-Ever Employee Advocacy SummitFormer IBM Senior Advisors Launch Brands Rising to Build Employee Advocacy ProgramsPerformance and Risk Management Through Social Media TrainingEmployee Advocacy Summit: Advocate Stories from the Field
- Customer Service
Join us September 15th in Atlanta for The Employee Advocacy Summit and learn how to unleash the power of your employees.
Post your event here and we'll share it with our community. If one of our members is featured, we'll promote as well on their profile.
- Marketplace & Webinars
The SMT Marketplace
Your resource for exclusive content and insights from Social Media Today, and opportunities to reach our community of professionals.
The Social Business Book Club brings you books, discussions, and insights from today's to business thought leaders.
Join interactive talks and and panel discussions with leading thinkers and practitioners on social media and networked business, or browse the catalogue of recorded sessions - all completely free.
Reach Social Media Today's community of marketing and communications professionals in an editor-approved context with a native advertising package.
The "Like" Is for Real, According to General Mills
Posted on April 19th 2014
We've seen a fair amount of discussion about the significance of "likes" and their equivalents in the professional use of social media. Does a "like" constitute a true endorsement or is it more equivalent to a navigation swipe or a mouse click (yeah, I know I just dated myself by referring to a mouse!)?
Why is this important? Because in the compliance realm of things endorsements carry legal obligations sometime more onerous than a post. An endorsement is someone saying, "I put some of my social capital behind this idea, opportunity, product, persons." But the problem is twofold; in one sense, in the professional realm, said social capital could actually be the endorser's company vs. the endorser's themselves and it might not be the endorser's authority to spend it, and I'm looking forward to a continuing discussion about account ownership. The second, more burning issue about the endorsement is the obligations associated with disclosure and fair balance. In many industries such as Pharma and sectors of Financial Services, when one endorses one takes on an immense burden to supply information about the risks, associated with the endorsed product, and personal disclosures like conflict of interest. Very quickly the burden of complying crowds out the "space" provided for the endorsement.
To embrace social, companies have taken the position that a "like" is not as significant as an professional endorsement and therefore not bound to obligations like what I described above. That might have been possible at one point but as of late, that ship has sailed. Why? In the past few days we've been hearing about the General Mills terms of service change which made "liking" an agreement not to sue the company that was "liked". Pretty clever, huh? But the law of unintended consequences rears its head. If a like is a legal event that binds a company in a beneficial way, it follows that a "like" can also bind the company to other obligations.
As a result, while I think the General Mills assertion will be tested, I think it will hold and the result is that every industry will have to treat a "like" as equivalent to any other endorsement. This means that companies will need to monitor the liking of their accounts or the accounts of their representatives to either ensure they meet their compliance obligations or they prevent "liking" entirely. I don't think the latter is practical or very social so I think monitoring of "likes" needs to rise to top of mind for business, compliance and regulatory officials. It's part of the landscape now.