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Why you Need a Social Media Code of Conduct

Posted by

Lynne Callister

on 04 Jul 2017

Why you Need a Social Media Code of Conduct

Social media is everywhere. From keeping up with friends, buying products  and political messages to health updates. So your business needs a social media code of conduct, now.

According to a social media study carried out by Pew Research Center, 77% of employees use social media at work. And there can be many benefits to your business of employees being active on social media. However the downsides of unrestricted use go well beyond wasting time.

From lost business to discrimination, without guidance workplace social media posts can be a minefield. And with the introduction of GDPR, it is now more important than ever to make staff aware of what is and is not acceptable behaviour.

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UK social media statistics

Recent figures compiled by Avocado Social show how widespread social media has become:

  • 45 million users of social media in the UK (67% of population)
  • Only 13% use social media for work purposes (remember 77% are using it at work!)
  • 78% of Internet users are on Facebook
  • There are 27 million UK LinkedIn profiles
  • 24% of the population are on Twitter

Most of your employees are tapping away on social during working hours, so just like any other communication channel you need to set some guidelines. A social media code of conduct.

Top tips for workplace social media compliance

  1. Create a social media policy - Define what your company's attitude is to social media - for example, is some personal use allowed during lunch or break times or is there a complete ban?
  2. Set usage expectations - Be clear about what behaviour is and isn't allowed - for example, updating your Facebook status may be acceptable during lunch or break times, but don't say or comment on something that may be considered detrimental to your firm, reveal commercial secrets or share offensive images or emails.
  3. Advise against airing grievances - It may be safer to stay clear of social media altogether if someone has had a bad day at work; airing personal grievances about their boss/colleagues/customers online should be avoided as it may lead to disciplinary action.
  4. Refresh employees knowledge of compliance issues - What one person considers funny may instead be discriminatory, bullying or even libellous. And when communicating with third parties don't forget GDPR - particularly when dealing with sensitive personal information.
  5. Stop non-work use of work email addresses - Most companies prohibit employees from using their work email to post comments on chat forums, sign up for social media or shopping sites, or buy goods online, unless it is work related.
  6. Remind staff not to claim to represent your firm - In posts or when making comments unless it is part of their role to do so! And when they do, remember there may be additional restrictions for your industry.
  7. Think before you post - Remember that social media sites are considered 'public' by law and once you've posted something online, it is impossible to remove it again. So, employees should avoid posting anything that may compromise their personal safety or breach confidentiality.

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