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What should be included in my social media policy?

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Depending on your business, how you use social media and why you use social media, a social media policy should specify the appropriate language to be used on both personal and company profiles, who should be posting on behalf of the company, when employees can and cannot be accessing social media, as well as the sanctions if the social media policy is not adhered to.  Here, our Employment team explain more about the detail that should be included within a social media policy.

Why should my business have a social media policy?

Social media now plays an important role in a company’s marketing strategies as well as our every day lives. It can, however, be abused by employees during the working day. It is important that you have a social media policy in place so as to ensure appropriate professional behaviour of staff whilst using social media sites and apps. It is good practice for you to keep the social media policy up to date as technology and social media trends develop quickly so policies need to be kept relevant.

Personal Social Media Accounts

Use of social media platforms in the workplace can have a negative impact on the efficiency and productivity of employees, so a social media policy should detail whether the use of these sites is acceptable during work hours. It should go on to explain the potential consequences of being caught using social media during prohibited times, for example, whether this would be classed as misconduct and therefore result in a disciplinary action, including dismissal. A social media policy should also outline the range of consequences available to you if an employee does anything to bring the company into disrepute, for example, making inappropriate or defamatory comments on Facebook.

Company Social Media Accounts

If your company has a social media page it is also advisable for the policy to explain the social media policy for these accounts. This should cover:

  • who can speak on behalf of your business online
  • who should answer customer complaints or questions directed towards the company, including the fact that this should not be done by employees using their personal accounts
  • how your employees talk about your company and products online,
  • if, and how, you want employees to respond to positive and negative comments about your company,
  • how to credit original sources if they are reposting content from external sources
  •  company information that should not be shared on social media, and
  • the consequences of abusing social media.

It may even be appropriate to provide training on this topic to ensure that all employees understand the consequences of social media misuse.

Furthermore, guidelines covering the creation of secure passwords and two-factor authentication for commercial and personal accounts and the updating of software to keep devices secure are advisable. Providing guidance on how to spot social media risks and how to handle a security breach are also sensible additions to social media policies.

If a social media policy is well established and understood by all employees then they will be aware of what is and isn’t acceptable. It will be up to you as the employer to decide on the severity of any action to be taken when catching an employee on any social media platforms during prohibited times, and this will of course vary depending on your industry, size of business, regularity of the misuse etc. If misuse has taken place, you should follow the process set out in your policy, act reasonably when reaching an outcome and remain consistent.

If you have questions about your social media policy, or you need to create one for your business, our experienced Employment team are on hand to help you. To discuss this, or to find out more about how Peace of Mind could help you in keeping all of your policies and employment contracts up to date, contact the team on 023 8071 7717 or email employment@warnergoodman.co.uk.  Alternatively, visit our Peace of Mind information here.

ENDS

This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.