The internet continues to grow and evolve year after year. Now being referred to as the “Internet of Things” (IoT), the internet is made up not only of websites, but of devices such as appliances, cars, thermostats, and anything else that can connect, interact, and share data. One ever growing part of the internet is social media, which as of 2018, has 3.196 billion (yes, BILLION) users across the world.
Many businesses have recognized the trend, and in fact 53% of small businesses are using social media. So with 3.196 billion users on social media, why are nearly half of all small businesses not using it? One reason that we at Jennasis hear often is that business owners do not want to violate any compliance policies, so they just avoid social media altogether. How do you tackle social media if you have to follow strict compliance rules such as HIPAA or GDPR? Here are a few guidelines on how to participate on social media with compliance.
How to Use Social Media & Be Compliant
First of all, taking pictures and videos for social media presents the challenge of knowing who has or doesn’t have photo consent. According to Alyse Mitten, owner of Interlace Communications and Executive Director of Mid-Atlantic Papers Association, who has over 37 years of experience in marketing, “Instead of worrying about who is in a photo that you can post, and who can’t be in it, take a photo from behind that only shows the back of the heads, or blur the photo enough that you can’t see faces.” Mitten also suggests taking pictures of equipment or using close up imagery to remove the risk of anything compromising appearing in the photo. Finally, you can always use a stock photo rather than trying to take pictures yourself. Check out our Jennasis blog on the Top 10 Free Stock Photo Sites to Use in 2019 to get you started.
Besides learning what content is best to post, you need to be most careful about what NOT to post. HIPAA regulations protect any private healthcare information, so don’t post anything that could lead to identification of a patient. Also, as a business, you always want to remain professional. You can have fun, but be polite and respectful. Be sure to proofread, and make sure that your post will make sense to someone unfamiliar with your product or service. Although social media is a great tool to reach new potential clients, it can also cause harm. If you have glaring spelling or grammatical errors, your audience may not take you seriously. Don’t worry, though—mistakes can happen, but you can always edit or remove your post if needed.
Do you struggle with knowing what to write?
Sometimes the main issue for small business marketers is simple—what should I write about? If you struggle to come up with your own content, there is no compliance issue with sharing existing content that is relevant to your business or that your target market would be interested in. After all, Google has no problem with you referencing an article, as long as you give credit to the author. In fact, it will actually help your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) if you add links to websites or articles that are already ranking highly on Google.
I always try to think like my clients or prospects: “If I were them, what would I want to look at or read?” This helps me come up with a list of ideas that not only do I find interesting, but the target market I’m trying to reach should find interesting as well. I try to stick with something educational or inspiring, or maybe something new in the industry. There is no need to be “salesy” on social media. That is what the appointment or meeting is for!
Don’t know where to start?
Social media is very easy to set up, and privacy settings are completely customizable. Just make sure to use an email that you have access to (in case you forget your password) and to put your password somewhere safe (again, in case you forget it). For additional safety, I use a password manager called Roboform. This program (and others like it) securely saves all the login info for all the sites you use, making it so all you have to remember is one main password. This extra layer of security makes logging in and using unique and creative passwords much easier.
If the whole idea of participating in social media is daunting to you, we have a great team at Jennasis that would love to help you. From starting new social media pages to creating compliant content to maintaining multiple media profiles, our team has the online expertise and creative energy to transform your social media marketing presence. Call us, we would love to chat with you! You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website to learn more about us. We’re excited to help you grow!
Megan Augustine is a Cleveland, Ohio native who relocated to Charlotte, NC in 2018. She has over 4 years of experience marketing in the technology field, and a passion to learn more every day. She enjoys traveling and scuba diving, and spending time with her 2 daughters.