Why should your business use a social media policy

by Redmans on September 7, 2012

  • SumoMe

The growth of the internet has presented opportunities to business but it has also posed challenges. It has opened up new ways to market and deliver a product or a service to clients and has revolutionised the amount of information available to businesses. A great deal of marketing and information sharing is currently done through social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In. The benefits of these, however, can potentially outweighed by the costs incurred by misuse of social media by your employees. An example can be seen in this Australian case where pupils bullied their teacher. Such indiscretions can damage your business’ reputation, damage staff morale or embroil you in costly litigation. In this post we’ll take a look at the following:

  1. Reasons why your business should have a social media policy
  2. How you can implement a social media policy

Reasons why your business should have a social media policy

There are a number of reasons why your business should utilise a social media policy. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Business reputation – the reputation of your business can be damaged by defamatory comments made by your employees on social media. Your business may legally incur vicarious responsibility for these comments or it may just be seen to be responsible in fact for its employees.
  2. Keeping happy clients – clients want to see your business as professional, responsible, efficient. Misuse of social media by employees can damage this perception and can potentially reduce revenue as a result.
  3. Morale – you have to tread a fine line between the needs of your business and the morale of your staff when you implement a social media policy. Employees want to feel trusted and responsible – removing all social media privileges may damage their trust in your business and cut off potentially lucrative sources of informal or formal marketing.
  4. Boundaries – although staff want to feel trusted they also need strong boundaries set by the business to prevent them from misusing social media. A social media policy will allow them to be fully aware of their rights and responsibilities regarding the use of social media.
  5. Avoiding litigation – this is a crucially important element. By utilising a comprehensive social media policy you can potentially shield your business from costly litigation. The type of litigation that your business could become in is manifold, including employment litigation, defamation cases or intellectual property cases. For example, if one of your employees is bullying or harassing another employee through social media then you may become vicariously liable for their actions if this is made known to a line manager and nothing is done about it. Further, you may be liable for unfair dismissal if you dismiss an employee for misconduct in their use of social media but you do not have a social media policy.
  6. Disciplinary action – as above, you will need a comprehensive social media policy to protect yourself from claims of unfair dismissal. This policy will refer to the disciplinary policy and state the types of misconduct that may warrant disciplinary action (and potentially dismissal).

How you can implement a social media policy

You can, by clicking the adjacent link, download a social media policy template uk. Simply fill in the various blanks in the social media policy example and make the document readily available to employees (for example, on the company intranet). Further, provide the social media policy to employees on their instruction into the business.

Redmans Solicitors are London employment lawyers that offer Employment Tribunal representation to employers and employees. Their solicitors are experts in no win no fee unfair dismissal cases and are specialist compromise agreement solicitors.

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