Social Media Policies: The good, the bad and the ugly

7 October 2015
Social media in the workplace is a continually evolving beast that is yet to be tamed by anyone, least of all the Courts. A common theme throughout the cases in this area is the need for a robust policy, so let’s get you better protected.

I am sure that many of you will have Internet Use policies or something similar in place. These may touch on the use of the Internet and emails for personal reasons, but I doubt there are many employers out there who can hand-on-heart say that they have a policy to adequately cover use of social media where their business is concerned.

So, what should your policy cover? Think about the following which could be included in your current IT policy or built upon to sit alongside in a separate social media policy:

  • Smart phones – These may be personal or company issued but they offer a whole new platform for staff to access social media sites whilst working.
  • Privacy settings – Remind employees about these. Many employees would no doubt alter what they had written on social networking sites if they thought their employer could easily read them.
  • Cross reference this policy with your bullying and harassment policy to make the lines of acceptable behaviour very clear.
  • Business objectives – Many employers are integrating the use of social media into their business strategy so don’t be afraid to also talk about and encourage positive and acceptable use.
  • Training – If staff are involved in blogging or tweeting for the company, make sure you set out appropriate supervision of this and put regular training in place so that they understand what they may disclose and express.
  • Disciplinary procedures – You must make it clear in your policy that the same standards will apply to online and offline conduct. Provide examples of what you consider would constitute defamation and what the potential sanctions may be.

I urge you all though to never forget the statistics that we looked at in the first blog in this series and the immense power of social media in our ever-growing global business community. For those who get this right, that power can be harnessed to propel your companies into the future, so don’t be left behind!


Corporate Law



Author: Dana Ewans