Professional social media management can help protect you from controversy and public backlash. It can also help to minimize the impact when your accounts are targeted – fairly or unfairly – by other users or by the platforms themselves.
Both of these roles are increasingly important at a time when networks like Facebook and Twitter are going through difficult transitions and becoming more heavily regulated.
Those regulations need not come from the government in order to seriously affect the business of social media marketing and social media management. Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith recently told reporters that tech companies are likely to take it upon themselves to assume more responsibility for what is said on their platforms, even if the US Congress doesn’t act upon the issue.
Other countries have already passed laws that contradict an American statute which says companies cannot be held legally responsible for what their users say. This may help push American social media platforms in a certain direction even amidst backlash from people who are worried about the stifling of free speech.
There’s room for debate about whether changes in legal accountability are justified. But it’s difficult to deny that these can result in overzealous enforcement by sites that are sensitive about giving a platform to questionable language and views. Social media management can be a tool for monitoring that trend and pushing back against it.
Without taking the position that there should be no restraints on the use of social media, I will say that there have definitely been instances of people having their accounts restricted on the basis of misunderstandings and clumsy enforcement. There was a time when professional social media management was enough to prevent you from falling afoul of a platform’s rules, but this isn’t the case anymore.
Does that diminish the value of social media management? Not at all. If anything, it enhances it. By having professionals in your corner, you can more readily recognize when you have been the victim of a false positive by a platform’s filters and gatekeepers.
A social media management team may also have a better idea of how to reverse a suspension or ban. And in cases where it’s filling a similar role for multiple clients, such a team can help to identify problems with a platform’s enforcement protocols, and then fix them.
Regardless of how you feel about the new, more heavily policed landscape of social media, I think we can all agree that online platforms will be better off when rules are enforced only as they’re meant to be.