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  • Courtney Holliday

Why Businesses Should “Like” Social Media

This is a guest post from our talented admin and social media guru - Courtney Holliday.

Social media can be both a gift and a curse for small business owners. On one hand, there are so many benefits to promoting your business on these free platforms. On the other hand, the work that goes into creating that content often takes time and energy that you simply don’t have while juggling the rest of your responsibilities. Social media can then end up on the bottom of the list of priorities compared to the more important tasks that you have to accomplish each day. In this blog post we outline how you might make social media work for your business and why it can be important!

Is Social Media Worth the Effort for My Small Business?

The short answer is yes! Taking advantage of these free platforms for advertising can bring attention and income to your business with little to no financial overhead. Every post has the potential to reach a new customer, engage a current one, or inspire an old one to buy from or book with you again.

Social media can also serve as a portfolio for your business. If someone hears about you via word of mouth, the first thing they’ll do is google your business or look it up on socials to see what you’re all about (this is also why it’s important to have a trademark to protect your brand name - so no one else can create a similar handle or domain). If you have customers who have tagged and shared your socials, people can find you this way and be linked directly to your social media accounts which can serve as a hub for communicating your business’s mission, vibe, and more. The more information you include on your social media platforms, the easier it will be for potential customers and clients to get a good overview of your business and decide that they want to reach out.

While the financial overhead is little to none, you will pay for your participation in social media with your time and energy.

So How Do I Make the Time?

If you don’t have the time or energy to spare but have the financial budget, you can always outsource to a social media manager or assistant. Giving these responsibilities over can be hard, but the more control you are willing to give up to a social media professional the better! Let them take those tasks off of your plate. Make sure to communicate your brand to the person that you choose and offer feedback. Give anything new that you try in the social media world at least three months to take effect, including working with a professional! They will get to know you, your brand, your aesthetic, your team, and your mission more and more over time in order to create the best content possible.

If you don’t have room in the budget to hire a professional, here are some tips that will make creating and sharing content on your own easier:

  • Batch your content: Pick a time once a week or once a month to create everything that you will need to post for the upcoming time frame. This is much easier than thinking that you’ll have time to create something and post it every day only to find out that time got away from you or more important responsibilities came up. If you block out time on your schedule to create content, then the only thing left to do is hit post in your day-to-day.

  • Schedule your content - With Instagram for example, you can schedule your content to auto-publish without you! Once you batch your content, you can schedule everything to post all itself from inside the Instagram app. You can also use a scheduling app like Later.

  • Have someone create your content/schedule a photoshoot: You can work with photographers and content creators to take the photos, edit the videos, make the graphics, etc. Then you can post them whenever you have the time or schedule them to go live on their own! Some businesses do this every month or every season so that they have fresh up to date photos and video to share. Eventually, you’ll have an entire library of content that you can pull from at any time.

  • Collaborations: Ask creators in your area and other small business owners if they want to work together. If they are willing to barter or receive gifted products for the creation of content, that is a great way to get an honest review from a community member and have something interesting to post.

How Do I Protect my IP on Social Media?

Posting your hard work on social media for (potentially) the world to see can be nerve wracking. If you’re worried about protecting your business name or logo, art, content, or intellectual property in general, here are some resources for you:

App Settings & Preferences

Even though it’s recommended that you have a public account for maximum engagement on any social media platform, there are still steps that you can take to protect your work and your business. Make sure to check out the general settings, privacy settings, and preferences menus for any platform. Using Instagram as an example, here is a setting you may want to take a look at:

  • Sharing and Remixes: This lets you choose whether others can share your reels to their stories or in messages, whether others can embed your content on their website, whether others are allowed to download your reels (this makes it easy for others to steal your content and use it as their own), and whether others can reuse or “remix” your reels.

Trademark & Copyright

These registrations are extremely beneficial when it comes to protecting your intellectual property and your brand. Registering your business name, logo, and/or slogan as a trademark ensures you can enforce your rights against other social media handles, names, profile pictures, or domain names that are confusingly similar to yours. On the flip side, the trademark application process will expose you to marks that are similar to yours so you can strategize how to differentiate your brand among consumers and so you aren’t viewed as an infringer of another’s mark. Jess explains this in another blog post by saying. “By not registering your trademark, you risk another business registering the same or similar mark first and forcing you to rebrand. As a small business, your brand is your biggest asset, so registering your trademark is well worth the investment.” 

When it comes to protecting the works of art you create and circulate on social media, such as photographs and content, it is worth considering a registration with the United States Copyright Office. Although you, as the author, inherently own the copyright of original works, you are limited in enforcing your rights and the amount of damages you can collect if your works are copied or imitated without a registration. If you’re looking for more information on these options, check out our blogs and resources! You can also reach out to Jess, our resident trademark and copyright expert.

General Intellectual Property Knowledge

Having a general sense of how intellectual property law works in the scope of the internet is always helpful! Here are some general resources to further your knowledge:

Hopefully this post will empower you to start sharing your business and hard work on social media and take advantage of these free platforms to promote your biz! Check at all the Trellis’s socials, where we have found our instagram, tiktok, and facebook have allowed us to help show the world that lawyers aren’t that scary and empower business owners to learn about the law!

Tiktok: @trellislegal 

Instagram: @trellispgh

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is meant for informational purposes only and does not constitute specific legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Readers should discuss their specific situation with an attorney.

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