Brand Safety and Trust Through Social Media

April 3rd, 2023 | Nicole Toppin

As a small business owner in financial services (or any industry), you might be thinking, “what is brand safety and why is it important?” Simply put, brand safety is making sure your ads, content, and marketing campaigns don’t negatively impact your brand and business reputation. This could look like any type of content that is controversial, offensive, unethical, or illegal. The process of creating a positive brand is an ongoing, never-ending pursuit. That’s why brand safety matters – it directly impacts the image of the brand you’re trying to create or sustain. Remember, it takes a lifetime to create a good brand, but only one bad viral post to ruin it!

What’s more, it could also affect collaborations, partnerships, or suppliers. It’s no joke - 67% of consumers say they would drop a brand if their content was offensive or unethical1. Throughout our time helping countless advisors establish brand safety standards, here are the best strategies Myriad’s gathered that will help to protect your brand.

Establish a Social Listening Strategy2

Social media listening involves paying attention to the metatextual conversation being had about an industry or a specific company’s brand. For example, let’s say Wells Fargo was found to be creating fraudulent accounts to support their sales goals. That would be a bad time to post anything associating your brand with Wells Fargo!

Social listening comes down to understanding the conversation in your brand space, as well as the products and services you offer. Social listening can also help with campaign analysis, competitive analysis, industry trends, and event monitoring!

Implement a Social Media Crisis Plan

As a brand, knowing when to post is important. It’s also important to know when not to post. Examples of a social media crisis plans include:

  • Pausing posts during major world events and establishing a time frame to resume posting.
  • Plan of action for responding when there’s a large influx of customer complaints.
  • Policies and plans for coordinating internal communications for a unified response in the event of a crisis.

Create an Employee Policy for Social Media

In today’s digital world, more companies are focusing company content on their employees. However - that does come with risk. As an employer, companies are unable to control their employee’s personal social media profiles. Worse-case-scenario, employee-generated content has the potential to threaten or damage a company’s brand strategy. One way to mitigate this risk includes implementing a social media policy that lists the dos and don’ts for employee-content on social media.

Determine Your Brand’s Safety Tolerance

Before establishing your brand strategy, make sure to evaluate your brand’s risk tolerance. That means determining the specific topics you should avoid based on your brand values. For example, Nike might not want their ads to appear next to discussions and posts about fast food. McDonald’s, however, wouldn’t take much issue with that.

Typically, ad platforms have options to help you control this. When setting up your ad, you can choose various risk levels for your content. These risk levels can range anywhere from limited (safer with less reach) to wide range (riskier with higher reach).

Be Aware of Negative Targeting3

It’s important to consider words you DON’T want your brand to be associated with. Nike might want to appear on a search for ‘sports apparel’ but NOT ‘cheap sports apparel,’ for example.’ Keep in mind there is the potential to inadvertently decrease your reach, however. If Nike put ‘cricket’ on their blacklist, it might exclude general sports blogs and videos.

Narrowing down key words is still a good idea because you’re also narrowing down your audience to a specific niche. This can help you to focus on hitting your specific target audience, rather than a larger group of people.


Overall, the amount of content that is being pushed out every day is making brand safety a more daunting task. Following these guidelines can aid in mitigating the risks surrounding your brand. Most importantly, you don’t have to go it alone! Our in-house marketing team is ready to help you devise and implement a safety plan to better protect your brand’s reputation. Call 515.850.1226 or e-mail to get started!

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