The importance of being reactive on social media

24 July, 2019     Posted in: Digital

Too often businesses fall into the trap of creating social media accounts but then fail to manage them effectively.

According to our own Isobel Gordon who manages Adoni Media’s social media accounts, a poorly managed social media page can be worse than not having one at all.

“Each platform adds to your business’s digital reputation; if a potential customer or client sees a clearly neglected and outdated social media account, it could be detrimental,” Isobel said.

“Taking the steps to be reactive on social media will not only help your reputation, it can help build your business.”

A recent case in the Supreme Court of New South Wales emphasised this importance after ruling that media companies could be liable for defamatory comments on their Facebook pages.

The case

Former youth detainee Dylan Voller received significant media attention after his treatment in custody inspired a Royal Commission.

Voller sued several Australian media companies for defamation from content on their Facebook pages. However, the prosecution was not based on the posts made by the media companies themselves, it was based on comments on the posts made by members of the public.

Voller argued the media companies behind the pages were responsible, claiming they should have realised the “significant risk of defamatory observations”.

Supreme Court Justice Rothmam ruled the media companies were “publishers” of third-party comments on their public Facebook pages, stating they could have chosen to hide or monitor the comments.

What this means

This case is not the first of its kind and it won’t be the last. In 2014, a New Zealand court ruled hosts of Facebook pages would be liable for defamation if they knew about the comments and failed to remove them in a reasonable time.

Given companies have the ability to control comments on their page, they need to do so. In Voller’s case, the judge ruled “the defendant cannot escape likely consequences of its actions by turning a blind eye to it”.

What your business can do

The job is not complete once you click the post button. Social media gives businesses the opportunity to easily engage with their audience.

Be reactive and re-visit your posts to check for responses, not just on Facebook but all of your business’s social media accounts. While most posts won’t draw the same attention as the Voller case, it is still important to monitor for offensive comments that could be associated with your business.

Keep in mind, regular posts are an opportunity to build a relationship with your audience. Like comments, answer questions and give general replies where appropriate. Be personable, it gives your business an authentic personality and encourages people to engage.