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Posted on July 20, 2018 by
The reality is that few businesses (or even individuals) understand the importance of giving proper credit for branded content. When running social media programs for your business, tagging brands in your posts isn’t just the polite (and right) thing to do—according to some social media platforms, giving proper credit is the rule.
Of course, you don’t need to worry about how to properly tag other brands if all of your content is original—but, let’s be honest, coming up with consistent original content for every social media profile isn’t always easy! That’s why many businesses—ours included—occasionally posts content that was first created and shared by someone else.
Whether you post a photo of a famous celebrity, share a meme or borrow content from your own team members, you need to know how to tag and properly attribute credit . . . or face some big-time social media consequences.
Earlier this year, Facebook updated their stance: Their branded content guidelines specifically state that brands may not “tag a Page, brand or business partner without their prior consent” or “accept anything of value to post content that you did not create or were not involved in the creation of, or that does not feature you.”
Their updated rules were specifically meant to combat paid partnerships between publishers/creators and marketers, where publishers—often influencers and less-well-known celebrities—were paid to distribute content that didn’t belong to them (and wasn’t advertised as such).
“But wait! We’re not exchanging money for content!” you might protest. First of all, good! But if you gain a fan and then a customer through your Facebook page, who’s to say another brand’s content didn’t help? Better to be safe than sorry, right?
Facebook’s effort is an understandable one—they want to improve the user experience by making the quality of content on everyone’s feeds just a little bit better. Individuals Instagram users may still be able to get away without knowing how to tag properly, but the same is no longer true for businesses large and small. And while Facebook’s rules may not be standard (yet) on every other social media platform, they’re still worth following across the board.
So what does all this mean for your business page? Well, you can continue to share valuable content from other brands with your followers. You just need to be a little more careful about ensuring you’re following the “rules”.
Here’s how to do just that on Facebook—and anywhere else:
1. Don’t Mix Payment in With Publishing
This first rule is the basic premise of Facebook’s latest guidelines: They’re explicitly saying that you cannot publish content that you didn’t create in exchange for a paycheck. To be honest, we’d have advised you the same, regardless of Facebook’s stance.
Work to create content that is unique to your business and to your brand. Of course, occasionally sharing another brand’s content can be helpful and even relevant—but when you need to do so, follow the other rules outlined here and remember that compensation is out of the question.
2. Ask for Permission Before Posting
Asking for permission is always good practice. Don’t just give credit to the original poster—though that’s important, too! As a business, you should confirm that you have permission to share someone else’s creation before you post anything.
As you probably already know, a lot of time and energy goes into creating a single piece of content for Facebook or Instagram or your blog. When you utilize another brand’s investment for your own gain—there can be major social media (or even legal) repercussions.
Asking for permission to use images or video that have been created by someone else is a surefire way to keep yourself out of a mess.
3. Give (Proper) Credit Where Credit is Due
Imagine how you’d feel if you created something, only to have your content shared (and Liked and Followed) elsewhere—with no attribution to you or your hard work. Probably awful and infuriated, right? You don’t want to be the cause of that scenario for someone else—or worse, become the target of a lawsuit for copyright infringement!
Give credit to the original creator of any piece of content. If you didn’t take the photo or create the meme or design the graphic, lead your audience back to those who did.
This step is pretty easy once you’ve gained someone’s permission. They’ve already said “Yes”—now be cognizant of properly crediting them for their work. We’ve discussed how to tag content by adding a photo credit before: Be crystal clear about the source of your content. Whether on your blog, on Facebook, on Instagram or anywhere else, that means not just naming the source, but linking back to them where possible, too.
Always give credit where credit is due.
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Sure, having to ask for permission and provide credit for every shared piece of content can be time-consuming (and perhaps even a little inconvenient), but doing so is not just good social media karma—it’s following the rules.
Worry not: If you follow our tips above, you’ll never wonder how (or when) to tag and share branded content ever again!
Do you share content from other brands on social media? Let us know your thoughts on the “rules” in the comments below!