Who Owns Your Social Media Account?

Does your business have a Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube account? Ever wonder who owns the platform? Or the community of friends on your organization’s social media accounts?
The New York Times recently published an article about a case where an former employee of PhoneDog Media is suing for 15% of their site’s gross advertising revenue. PhoneDog, in turn, has filed a suit claiming that their 17,000 followers are, in actuality, a customer list. They are suing their former employee and seeking damages of $2.50 a month, per follower, for eight months; a total of $350,000. Sound ridiculous? Look closer, it’s more complicated than it appears.
While working at the company, the employee began developing and posting content on Twitter under his personal account name, Phonedog_Noah. Over time he developed a following of 17,000 plus. When he gave his notice, which he says was on good terms, PhoneDog told him he could keep his personal Twitter account name in exchange for an occasional post. According to the ex-employee, the company asked him, in return, to tweet for PhoneDog from time-to-time.
As a social media consultant, I’m very familiar with the challenges many organizations face in knowing how to manage their social media accounts. Budgets are thin, and squeezing in another marketing element can be overwhelming, let alone one that is a real-time dynamic with two-way engagement. So, while it may be tempting to manage social media as a sidebar, or to delegate it to the young hipster on the team, there’s far too much at risk.
Cross Media services include social media consulting. Contact us today to discuss sound and proven options for managing your social media accounts. You can choose to receive our top-level service as a layer-on to your team, or as a stand-alone effort. And you’ll be surprised at the cost savings included with reducing risk and protecting intellectual property.

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