Will GDPR affect how we use social media for business?

GDPR and social media

GDPR and social media

WOW! I have just finished our GDPR stuff. All that STUFF we have to do to be compliant: privacy policies, updated contracts, processor agreements, security assessments, new policies bla bla bla.


I don’t really mind the fact that all businesses are needing to do this; protecting people’s data is very important. What I DO mind is the scaremongering! And people out there trying to make a quick buck from that.


Saying that, taking a course and being guided on what you need to do: I would say that’s really important. I have done it (with assistance from Chris but not really) and I researched for hours, and trained myself on it for hours too, using Suzanne Dibble’s guidance.


She really is a fantastic GDPR lawyer and I’m very grateful for all her help and for being introduced to her by the wonderful Kim Moore who is a brilliant marketer and who offers a very good GDPR course. There is no messing about with Suzanne or Kim; they don’t scaremonger or charge a lot of money and that’s important to a boutique 😉business such as ours.


Does GDPR mean we can’t use social media to market to people anymore?

No. You can still market to people on social media. We need to see exactly what will happen after May 25th and the landscape may change a bit but if you’re a business on social media, you can absolutely market to people.


All the social media platforms have, or are, updating their terms and conditions of use. And yes, it is a little bit different from email marketing where you need people to actively opt in. But on social, if you want to use the platforms (and remember even though they are free to use, nothing’s REALLY free is it?!), you need to accept their terms of use.


But people can still opt out from receiving adverts, and the social media user does have a lot of say over what they see in their newsfeed.


Is this bad news for business on social media?

There is ALWAYS bad news for business on social media if you believe the news stories. BUT take Mark Zuckerberg’s recent appearance in front of the congressional hearing: we wondered what effect that would have, and in the weeks that have followed, we’ve seen a marked improvement in social media engagement and consequently sales. In fact, in that very week, we were running a campaign for a new client and saw huge sales for a very low advert spend.


More recently we trained a business owner on social media and she went away to practise: she reported back the next day that she had spent a whopping £1.50 and had 10 strong leads… I’ll leave that one with you 😉 (training is from £195+VAT)


GDPR and its effect on social media

There are some areas that need consideration in light of the new GDPR rules. As a business on social media, you need to bear in mind how long you keep a record of the people who have contacted you via eg messenger on social media.


If a potential customer gets in touch and gives you their contact details, you need to be able to respond to them (so your communication with them is definitely solicited) and you can email them if they give you their email address. You can’t really add them to your email database unless they purchase from you. And even then, you need an opt-in at the point of purchase, to allow you to send them marketing messages. Saying that, there is an argument for legitimate interests here and I’ll let you do your own research on that!


As a business, who represents a lot of other businesses on social media, we are ensuring that we remove any contact details or identifiers of a Customer’s customer, from our devices each month. You need to decide how long you keep messages from enquirers/potential customers.


Also we, as Processors, need to ensure that the Controller (our client) has ensured that any email addresses we use to create custom audiences or lookalike audiences, have been properly collected. So their customers need to have opted in correctly to allow us to use the emails for marketing purposes.


Lead generation adverts and social media

Lead generation adverts too: some have asked if those are not going to be allowed any more. But why not? If you see an advert and want what is on offer, yes you will need to give some contact details but it’s not a condition of getting what is on offer (because you could always just call or email the company to get it). And the person who responds to the lead generation advert will STILL be able to opt out of any marketing emails…


Lead generation adverts may change a bit (they already have to some extent) and we will wait to see!


Photographs and social media

If you didn’t before, you will most definitely now need to ensure you have written permission for photograph use on social media. Verbal consent isn’t enough. Opt-out is not acceptable EXCEPT in a public place (but if it’s an event you’re attending, there should be signs to say photographs will be taken and if you don’t want to be included, you should be able to contact someone to request that you aren’t).


Written permission for photographs could be someone messaging you to say it’s OK to use the photo, or an email, or them signing a form and ticking the opt-in box. You need the evidence to be able to use it and if someone asks you to remove a photo, then you need to do that even if you had consent before.


And finally, I most definitely am not a lawyer (!). I have done a lot of research to answer my own questions but even by the time this is published, things may have changed. GDPR is a ‘wait and see what happens’ phenomenon to a large extent… but as all the best people say: don’t be freaked out by it all, just be sensible about how you treat people’s data; that’s what it’s all about!