Social media advice for franchisees and franchisors

Similar to any other marketing platform, social media is littered with possible legal concerns. A number of laws related to social media use can limit what advertisers can and can't do on their social network sites. These may include state and federal advertising, privacy and trademark laws and social media providers' terms of use. For franchisees, factor in the terms of the franchise agreement into the equation, and you have a real task to work through prior to kick-starting your franchise advertising campaign on social media.  Based on advice from a franchise lawyer, the following are useful social media tips for both franchisees and franchisors when creating social media promotional campaigns.

State and federal laws

A number of state and federal laws are comprehensive enough to touch on social media marketing campaigns. Deceitful advertising and defamation laws are some of the more apparent ones. However, franchisors and franchisees equally also ought to think about aspects like the following:

  • The use of other company's copyrighted materials and trademarks in social media posts without permission may trigger infringement claims.
  • The use of social media to select staffs and prospects, under particular circumstances, may prompt privacy violations.
  • Applying internal social media procedures to limit staff's use of these social media platforms, when done wrongly, can bring about legal liabilities.

Social Media Terms of Use

Almost all social media platforms have Terms of Use which manage and restrict users' actions on their platforms. For example, Facebook is popular for having stringent Terms of Use policies out there. Basically, the Terms of Use acts as a legal agreement that you are subject to when you use the site. Consequently, any contravention of the Terms of Use may lead to restriction from the site or even legal action. Although many social media sites are now advertising-oriented, they still characteristically feature restrictions on aspects like the scope, nature, content and the amount of marketing that may be done. The adverse effects of attempting to bypass these restrictions may resonate all through a franchise system.

Franchise contract Terms

Last but not least, franchisees ought to also put up with the language of their franchise contracts when creating a social media advertising campaign. Many older franchise contracts either restrict social media use by franchisees or overlook mentioning the issue completely. In instances where social media use is allowed, use will usually be controlled by tangential franchise contract clauses. When these matters are left open to interpretation by the franchise contract, the best practice is to talk about it with the franchisor before setting up a social media advertising campaign.

For more information about this process, contact a franchise lawyer.