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IP Quick Intellect

When going live on social media goes wrong!

Posted by on 15 Dec 2016

Going live on social media platforms such as Facebook or Periscope is a great way to immediately connect and interact with your audience. Your customers or target audience are invited to ask questions and can expect to receive a real-time response. With that however, comes significant responsibilities to ensure your personal brand, or brands that you are affiliated with, are not tarnished. Shane Warne, Michael Slater and Kevin Pietersen, ironically, are the latest celebrities to be reminded of the dangers of going live. 

In a live stream containing some members of the Channel 9 cricket commentary team, Shane Warne, Michael Slater and Kevin Pietersen were observed travelling seatbelt-less (see below). Within seconds observant viewers pointed out that the cricket stars were travelling unsafely. One fan commented, "Seat belts boys please - seat belts save lives," before another taunted “Safe driving boys.” Oblivious to the nature of the comment Warne responded “Yes, we’ve got Mark Taylor driving, so that’s good.”


Within a matter of moments the video, posted on Shane Warne’s website had been shared approximately 200 times, generating close to 118,000 views. The foolish behavior no doubt attracted the attention of many, including Tasmania Police who investigated the offence further. The three men escaped fines in this instance instead receiving infringement notices. Tasmania Police also took the opportunity to remind motorists of the importance of complying with seatbelt laws by posting to their own Facebook page (below).

Things to consider before going live

1. Consider the environment you are filming in – We have previously discussed the importance of selecting an appropriate backdrop for your selfie and the same applies for live streaming. If you decide to go live ask yourself the following:

  • Is there confidential documentation in the background?
  • Are you in a location that is inappropriate for your brand image? For instance, are you a politician at a pub, in a strip club or the toilet?
  • Do you have consent from the people within the photo? For instance, are you filming within child care centres where permission needs to be granted by a parent or guardian over 18 years old?
  • Is there any illegal activity occurring within your environment? For instance: illegal drugs, excessive alcohol, etc. Whilst they might not belong to you, items of this nature certainly don’t promote a positive brand image. 

2. Consider damage to associated brands – In the above scenario, the cricketers all received negative PR regarding their own personal brands, but due to their affiliation with Channel 9, the television network also copped backlash over the incident. If your online image becomes compromised due to poor social media etiquette, it is likely that other businesses may avoid working with you. Be sure to promote yourself as an engaging, appropriate social media user as doing so will maximize your opportunities to work with other brands. 

3. Do your research – If you are considering collaborating with other businesses, be sure to check out their online footprint. Do they respond positively to feedback? Are their photos appropriate? Do they swear in live streams? As with the example above, Channel 9 themselves had no involvement in the cricketers’ antics however were left to clean up the mess after the incident occurred. Doing your research before collaboration can help you weed out any potential #socialmediafails.

4. Plan before – Whilst going live spontaneously may seem like a fun idea, it is usually the most risky. Be sure to plan your environment as discussed above and ensure the people that make an appearance are unlikely to behave in a way that might cause embarrassment to you or your brand. Finally, plan the content you wish to discuss and stick to it. There is nothing worse than having conversations that don’t seem to end and it’s the very same with live streaming. Make your message short, sharp and simple to keep your audience wanting more!

Experienced an awkward online live stream?  Tweet @ColemanGreig and let us know what happened!

If you would like to speak with one of the lawyers in Coleman Greig's Brand Protection team, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us on 02 9895 9230, or via

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