What the New Social Media Data Regulations Mean for Marketers

Back in 2018, the EU passed the landmark General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to increase data privacy requirements, and earlier this year, California announced there would be no pandemic-related delay in enforcing the newly-passed California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). These regulations give consumers more awareness and control over exactly what personal information is collected, how it is sold, and how its security is ensured. As the pandemic forces many companies to conduct most of their business and marketing efforts online, it’s important they stay up to date on the rules and regulations if they expect to conduct business in California or the EU. 

Even though GDPR has been in effect for a couple of years now, many businesses are still not in full compliance, a serious risk to your business since non-compliance with GDPR can cost you up to €20 million in fines or 4% of your company’s global annual turnover of the previous financial year—whichever is higher. 

How GDPR and CCPA  Affects Marketing 

The primary purpose of these new laws is to protect the consumer. Some major rules that enable this are: Businesses can only capture, store, and use personal data for the specific purpose they have disclosed and must take measures to safeguard the data, consumers have more authority over who can have their data and how it is used, and consumers decide if they want to get marketing emails from businesses or have their behavior tracked for analytics and advertising.

Marketers have taken a variety of steps to comply with the new regulations, such as making sure web forms include opt-in checkboxes that ask for consent before adding users to a mailing list, providing easy access to privacy statements and disclosures, and creating dedicated web pages where users can submit requests to access, modify, or delete their personal information.

However, even with all of these efforts, marketers are struggling to keep up with the regulations now that even more is being done online than ever before. It can be difficult to stay up-to-date on all of this, but there are tools that can help.

How to Adapt 

Analytics and automation technologies can help companies meet new legislative requirements around customer and auditor requests much more efficiently and affordably. The CCPA specifies “rights of access” requirements, which means that customers must have a way to ask for a copy of the data categories being gathered, or for their data to be deleted. The Harvard Business Review suggests, “forms that auto-populate with necessary information can help ensure that complicated requirements are met. Similarly, real-time desktop guidance tools or virtual assistants can help employees execute tasks in a specific order, or prompt contact center agents to provide and confirm proper disclosure information”. 

If you’re targeting EU consumers, you must be clear about where you’re using consumer data and how you track and disclose your compliance with GDPR at each step of your marketing funnel. Social media marketers should include clear privacy notices on all marketing campaigns to ensure that consumers understand how their data will be used. 

The GDPR and CCPA are great opportunities to build trust with consumers. It’s so important for brands to build relationships on social media, and by being transparent with what you do with their data, you can work towards a meaningful relationship with consumers.