Social Media Policies
Firms cannot ignore the impact of social media on their business.
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Over the last few years social media has opened up a whole new channel for businesses to interact with their customers and potential customers, promote their products and services and gain valuable ‘instant’ feedback on the work they do.
Many firms encourage their staff to use LinkedIn to make business contacts, and some will have people 'tweeting' and posting on Facebook on behalf of the organisation.
But the increasing use of social media has also blurred the lines between personal and business lives and many employers have been slow to catch up with the risks associated with this.
One way to reduce some of the risks is to have a social media policy. Research undertaken by Roythornes and Pelican Communications - Social Media at Work Survey 2017/18 showed that whilst most firms are using social media, almost half had no social media policy to control it.
A social media policy should be considered by all organisations, whatever size, as it at least lays down the guidelines for protecting the business.
Without a social media policy a business is exposing itself to potential reputational and financial damage. There have been many cases over recent years where employees have used social media in ways which have had a detrimental effect on the business they work for.
Examples of how social media can open up businesses to risk include situations where employees could:
At one level a social media policy simply needs to set out how an employer expects its employees to behave on-line.
Specific issues it may cover include:
A social media policy should not stand alone. It needs to be part of a suite of IT related policies, which may also cover the use and protection of equipment, data and client confidentiality.
There are many templates for social media policies available and, whilst these may cover the basic issues, our experience shows that they are often too generic and sometimes lacking in detail specific to the organisation and the way in which it works.
If you use social media as part of your business you need a social media policy.
The first step is to contact Phil Cookson. Phil is Roythornes' key contact for social media issues. He is often asked to speak at events on how social media opens a business to risk and how this can be controlled. He has also drafted a number of policies for organisations which are helping them to manage their on-line risks.