Digital: Social Media Policy - Are you sitting on a time bomb?

Social media have become impossible to ignore.

'Time bomb': Lansons' Sanders and Kindred's Armstrong
'Time bomb': Lansons' Sanders and Kindred's Armstrong

Whether a PR agency is running Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages or getting involved in blogs and forums on behalf of itself or clients, a policy outlining what is acceptable is simply common sense.

Employees are also likely to have their own personal Twitter feeds and Facebook pages, and it is important to make the distinction between when someone is speaking on behalf of the company, and when they are speaking in a personal capacity.

Kindred director of social media Paul Armstrong warns: 'Companies that do not have or value a social media policy are sitting on a time bomb. In an age where everyone overshares information, companies need to protect themselves and their employees.'

Lansons head of digital Simon Sanders adds: 'At the obvious end, a social media policy might caution that "thou shalt not criticise us - nor our customers - in thy Tweets or status updates" and "to treat those with whom you interact with respect" but it must also note wider responsibilities - which will mirror aspects of the employment contract - about not sharing information that is commercially sensitive.'

Do you know, for example, who is responsible for updating your agency's Twitter feed or clients' Facebook pages? Establishing ground rules, such as who is responsible for what, avoids confusion and awkward situations when someone has taken it upon themselves to speak on behalf of the company.

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