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As social media has become an essential part of a brand’s online presence, performing a social media review as part of due diligence has also become essential. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, and Instagram have a wealth of information on the company’s products, services, and general conduct.

Use a systematic approach to optimize social media due diligence before investing in or acquiring a business. Even legal and insurance claim investigations should include a social media review.

Social media sites provide information regarding customer and competitor perception of the business. Finally, a social media review of a company’s employees can reveal important insight regarding the workplace. When conducting a social media review, look for the following red flags:

Improper Internal Conduct

A business that regularly violates data protection or intellectual property law will reveal this conduct on its social media. Look for posts that reveal customer information to promote the product or service.

Improper conduct could also include revealing protected data in a response to a public review or comment. For example, revealing details of a customer’s transaction to discredit their review on a website such as Yelp.

Having an insufficient policy on social media conduct may indicate that a business is not compliant with other legal aspects of its conduct. Noncompliance with privacy legislation is unacceptable.

Social Media Presence of the Employees

During a social media review, the target’s employees should be considered alongside official business accounts. A thorough review can provide insight into potential employee misconduct or vulnerabilities.

For example,  employees who share confidential or detailed information regarding the business on social media can undermine the intended social media presence. This can result in losing customer trust and revenue loss. Employees who share negative experiences or dissatisfaction on social media harm the company’s reputation and can lead to negative media coverage.

These situations indicate that the target business does not have an appropriate social media conduct policy for its employees. Whether negative conduct is found or not, due diligence should include requesting a copy of the company’s social media policy as well as a documented procedure for enforcement.

Social Media Review for Legal and Insurance Investigations

Posts to Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, or any other social media channels can reveal important information regarding a legal incident. Social media discovery should be requested as soon as possible to prevent sanitization by the target.

Even if the target has not posted relevant information about the incident in question, their profiles can reveal connections, patterns of behavior, and other important insights. Therefore a thorough social media review should be considered an essential part of a legal or insurance investigation.