Already on the rise prior to the health crisis, usage of social media exploded during 2020. While the growth of social media usage wasn’t a surprise, what has been surprising is how our attitudes towards brands using social media have shifted.

While social media has always been about helping people feel connected, those connections became even more important during the pandemic. Research from the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) found that 43% of consumers reported it was reassuring to hear from brands they “knew and trusted” during the pandemic. 

Brand marketers took notice and adjusted their communications strategies, too.  In a blog we posted earlier this year, 85.7% of US senior-level marketing professionals revealed that their reliance on social media during the pandemic had increased.

As our situation continues to evolve, brands that create emotional connections with their consumers via authentic social media interactions will be better positioned to succeed post-pandemic. In a study released by, 6 in 10 consumers feel authenticity from a brand is more important now than it was prior to the outbreak. In the same study, consumers indicated that 40% of them are now actively paying more attention to what brands are doing in the current environment than they were prior to the pandemic.

These studies form an important backdrop to the work of brand protection professionals. Studies indicate that heightened emotional states impair an individual’s ability to respond appropriately to misleading information and, when tricked, unsuspecting victims can associate brands - not the perpetrators - with their negative experiences. 

And, unfortunately, during the pandemic as consumers spent more time on social media, bad actors sought to take advantage of trusted brands. From alerts issued by the FBI warning about vulnerabilities in banking apps, and bad actors setting up fake social accounts and handles using terms directly related to the health crisis to bogus vaccine surveys, consumers often found themselves in the cross-hairs. 

While all the major social media platforms strive to provide a safe environment for their users, it’s still up to brands to monitor social media platforms for instances of intellectual property infringement. However, protecting intellectual property rights on social media presents unique challenges. Well-meaning fans, advocates and members of a brand’s community can infringe inadvertently upon intellectual property rights while expressing their love for a brand. 

Enforcement measures require a more nuanced approach since the creators of these accounts and posts are valuable members of your brand ecosystem. Consider reviewing this type of infringement with your digital marketing or social media team and collaborate with them to ensure a resolution that protects your brand and your brand’s relationships with its community.

Having a comprehensive brand protection strategy that addresses the unique nature of social media will help ensure that your customers, fans, and community continue to enjoy authentic experiences with your brand. For more information on how to plan an effective social media enforcement program, we’ve published an informative guide that you can download here.

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