Companies and organziations need to pay attention to social media channels, even when they don't use them, at least to ensure there aren't fake accounts.
That's the advice from Lyle Wetsch, a professor of marketing at Memorial University.
Earlier in March, the Rocky Harbour Fire Department had to report a Twitter account in its name, after that account had shared politically charged messages and content that some deemed xenophobic.
"It's a difficult situation for them to have been in, but it is sort of indicative of what organizations and brands and even individuals need to do to sort of think about managing their online reputation," said Wetsch.
It isn't enough to ensure you or your company's existing online presence is positive, Wetsch said.
You also have to be aware of anyone who might be pretending to be you, regardless of their intention.
"Doing periodic brand audits, even something as simple as Googling your company name or doing a Bing search for your company name to see what shows up. Or checking the various social media channels that you don't have accounts on," Wetsch told CBC's Corner Brook Morning Show.
"Just doing seaches to see whether there's something out there for you. Because this is how people are going to find these fake accounts or inappropriate accounts that are there."
'Important lesson to be learned'
In addition, Twitter and other social media platforms have a verification process that can be used.
But the biggest part is just being aware, and frequently checking social media for any discussion about your name, brand, company or organization.
"Monitoring what may or may not be being said about your brand … or even just comments that are being made about you on social media that may require a response or that may just require awareness," said Wetsch.
"Whether brands have channels or not, there is an important lesson to be learned that we can't just ignore social media whether we're there [or not]. We do need to be actively monitoring and keeping track of our brand online."