How To Protect Your Brand On Social Media  - Drishti Law

Farewell 2023, but in 2024, your online brand presence must be a living, breathing organ. Over 77% of small businesses are estimated to use social media to build brand awareness. The power to drive revenue through social media cannot be understated.

However, with great power comes great responsibility, especially when protecting your brand from potential legal pitfalls. And you’d be surprised to learn that there are quite a few. Despite being a relatively recent development, there are still laws in place to prevent the misuse of social media.

 Often, these laws are irrelevant when it comes to your personal use. Still, as a business with an official brand presence online, even the smallest of pitfalls can have significant implications. This easy-to-read guide will walk you through essential tips to protect your brand on social media.

What Are the Legal Pitfalls For Brands on Social Media?

1. Glossing Over the Terms and Conditions

Scrolling past the mind-numbingly boring jargon that some lawyer drafted for the social media platform is awfully convenient. And no one would blame you for doing so when you’re signing up to a site for personal use. But when it comes to your business, being unaware of the terms governing a social media platform can damage your brand’s reputation on social media in the long run. 

For example, some social media platforms have the condition that by posting a particular image, you agree that someone can reuse it. If your business relies on Intellectual Property, someone could reuse that image without giving you credit in your social media mentions and profit from your work. Many content creators run into this problem with a video or post spreading like wildfire on a fake account, but the original creator’s handle is nowhere to be found. As such, you should understand that a lot can happen on social media, and you must know precisely what you’re getting into when creating an account using your brand name. The only way to do that is to read the terms!

2. Copyright Infringement

Many small business owners make the mistake of posting copyrighted works on their official social media profiles. This is, perhaps, the easiest trap to fall into that can ruin your brand reputation. The best way to avoid this mistake on major social media platforms is to use photos with a Creative Commons license. Sites such as Shutterstock, Unsplash, and Pixabay are your best bets.

3. Not Disclosing Sponsored Posts

The Federal Trade Commission requires businesses and influencers to clearly and visibly disclose sponsorship if they’re promoting something. These guidelines are some of the most stringent when it comes to advertising. You must comply with these for better social media brand protection.

Make sure to check out the FTC’s guidelines when you’re looking to sponsor a post. As a rule of thumb, you should disclose sponsorship in a way that is clearly visible at first sight. This means adding the disclosure at the beginning of an ad copy or making it clearly visible on the visuals.

Steps You Can Take To Protect Your Brand On Social Media

If you’re well-versed in the potential pitfalls you can run into when running your business’s social media channels, the next way to protect your brand is to establish an airtight system for effective social media management.

 The steps highlighted below will help you protect your brand assets on your official social media accounts.

Step 1: Establish a Clear Social Media Policy

Before diving into the world of tweets and posts, setting clear guidelines for your brand’s social media presence is crucial. Develop a comprehensive social media policy that outlines acceptable behavior, content guidelines, and legal considerations.

 Communicate this policy to your team and anyone representing your brand online. Make sure your policies are uniform throughout your social media accounts. This way, your policies remain consistent, and all changes are well-documented and can be effective throughout your accounts. Your presence on social media should elevate your brand and not result in an avoidable legal proceeding. 

Step 2: Trademark Your Brand

Securing a federally registered trademark is one of the most effective ways to protect your brand. Registering your brand name and logo provides legal ownership and exclusive rights to use them. This enhances your brand’s credibility and acts as a deterrent against potential infringement.

Make sure to check the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) website to double-check if there’s an existing overlap. This resource is free to use and helps you stay abreast of the trademarks of various social media brands in your industry. If you’re having trouble registering your mark and can’t figure out why, check out our blog post on the topic here. For guidance on trademark protection, enforcement, and litigation, consult a trademark attorney who can assist with brand protection strategies.

Step 3: Monitor Your Brand’s Online Presence

Regularly monitor social media platforms for any unauthorized or infringing use of your brand. Utilize online tools and monitoring services to monitor mentions, tags, and discussions related to your brand. Swift action can help mitigate potential damage and prevent unauthorized use. The USPTO’s website is of great help here as well. Make sure to search for your trademark on there every now and then to catch infringements before they turn into a drawn-out legal dispute.

 If there is to be a dispute, you must ensure you have prior knowledge of any infringements. Brand protection on social media is extremely important for anyone looking to survive in this cut-throat market. Using online tools like Google Alerts to monitor your trademarks is always advantageous. However, hiring a trademark attorney for monitoring services is also recommended. They can provide regular reports on potential infringers online or new applications being filed at the USPTO. This helps you to take timely and necessary action to protect your trademark. For more information, refer to our blog on the importance of protecting your brand’s slogan.

Step 4: Secure Your Social Media Handles

Claim your brand’s name across various social media platforms, even if you’re not planning to use them immediately. This prevents others from taking advantage of your brand name and helps maintain a consistent and recognizable online identity.

Once you’ve decided on a name, you must create a handle using that name across the various social media platforms, even if it is a relatively new and underutilized platform like Threads. You never know when a particular platform might take off!

Step 5: Address Infringements Promptly

If you encounter unauthorized use or infringement of your brand on social media, take immediate action. Most platforms have reporting mechanisms for intellectual property violations. Familiarize yourself with these processes and ensure a prompt response to protect your brand’s integrity. If you have the budget, you should have a lawyer on retainer to deal with these kinds of disputes.

Every business owner creates a social media account for their marketing needs. With the growing demand for social media marketing, these disputes will eventually become too much of a hassle to watch out for yourself. Keeping up with the pace at which copycats pop up on various social networks is time-consuming and tedious. At the USPTO, you can file a letter of protest against a pending application or initiate trademark opposition proceedings against a published mark. A trademark attorney offering online brand protection services can help you mitigate the potential damage done to your product or service’s image.

Step 6: Craft Clear Terms of Use

Establish and communicate clear terms of use on your official social media pages. Outline acceptable behavior, the type of content users can share, and the consequences for violating these terms. This helps manage your online community and provides a legal basis for taking action if needed.

Often, clear terms of use help you completely dodge disputes as people realize they have no cause of action to begin with. Having a lawyer draft this for you is a surefire way to avoid a social media crisis and afford better brand protection for your online presence.

Step 7: Educate Your Team

Ensure that your social media team and any employees representing your brand online are well-versed in your social media policy. Educate them about potential legal issues, such as defamation, copyright infringement, or violation of privacy laws. Training can go a long way in preventing accidental legal missteps.

This is especially important for social media managers as the copies they curate and their marketing tactics for your online brand can all give rise to legal disputes. Your brand voice should always steer clear of areas that could give rise to legal disputes that can tarnish your online reputation. 

Step 8: Consult with Legal Professionals

When in doubt, seek legal advice. Consulting with legal professionals specializing in intellectual property and social media law can provide valuable insights tailored to your specific situation and is perhaps one of the best ways to protect your brand on social media.

At Drishti Law, we can assist you in navigating complex legal issues and help formulate strategies to protect your brand effectively. Book an appointment now!


Proactive measures and a well-informed approach are vital to maintaining your brand’s positive and legally secure online presence. Ultimately, you must genuinely take ownership and control of your brand to the highest degree possible. An employee will not care about the potential pitfalls in the same way as you do.

It’s essential to keep an eye on every content published on your platform. Audit your online regularly and consult with a lawyer whenever necessary, and your brand should steer clear of most legal issues.