Protecting Your Company Through A Social Media Policy In 2019, a social media policy is essential for any workplace. Whether it’s for contacting new leads or celebrating the everyday successes within the company, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram are platforms which carry an enormous amount of weight and potential behind them. And sometimes, this weight can shift and crash through your company like a bull in a china shop.
Social media is an incredibly useful tool within the 21st century, however it can quickly shift into PR nightmare with one wrong like or one dodgy retweet. How can you ensure your employees social media antics do not affect your company reputation? It’s best starting with a social media policy.
What is a social media policy?
A social media policy can be the safety net that protects your company from online damage caused by an employee. Social media policies are a living document that outline the accepted (and unaccepted use) of social media throughout your company. You’d be wrong to think that social media policies are only useful if your company has its own social media accounts. We recommend that your business implements a social media policy regardless as the policy should cover your company’s use of social media as well as your employees’ personal use of the platforms. The document needs to be simple, clear, accessible and continuously updated in order to stay as effective as possible. Concentrate on what you do and do not want your employees promoting online.
Why are social media policies important?
Social media policies highlight that staff who engage in social networking – even whilst they are off duty and off the premises – must always be mindful of expressing views that go against the company values in any way. Should an employee post anything on their social media that is in any way offensive or controversial, then the reputational damage to all associated can be extensive.
Be mindful that you do not restrict employees from social media use
Even though your social media policy should set out the do’s and don’ts of social media use, you cannot restrict your employees from using social media. Doing so would be limiting your employees’ freedom of speech and could also lead to legal proceedings. However, it is perfectly acceptable to restrict employee use of social media during working hours, after all, employees are getting paid to work not post updates.
An employee’s social media post has gone against our social media policy, what can I do?
If an employee has posted something on social media that brings your company into disrepute then this can be classed as a misconduct issue, and potentially, gross misconduct. Additionally, if the post has negatively affected the company then it could lead to a break down of the implied term of mutual trust and confidence, and therefore a breach of the contract of employment.
As with all misconduct issues, you will need to follow the disciplinary procedure as prescribed by the ACAS Code of Practice. Full investigations should be conducted before the disciplinary procedure in order to gather the facts, as well as safeguarding you against an employment tribunal.
Ultimately, every person who has an association with your business has a responsibility to represent your company’s image online in a way that only reflects positively.
Want to introduce a social media policy but aren’t too sure where to start? Our legal consultants are able to create a bespoke social media policy for your business. They are also able to advise upon any resulting issues including disciplinary action and tribunals. For more information, contact our team on 08450 50 40 60.