Social media: 8 things to consider before posting

This month, to celebrate Instagram’s seventh birthday, we’re focusing on social media in the workplace.

To get the ball rolling, we’ve eight areas for you to consider before posting across your business’ profiles…

1. Think before you link

If you’re linking out to an external website, always scout it out first. While the page itself might be harmless, the website could be spammy or have offensive values behind it.

This principal applies when you’re sharing, liking or re-tweeting posts, too.

2. Be fair and reasonable

You should state in your social media policy that you reserve the right to monitor employees’ social media profiles. If you do exercise this right though, make sure you’re fair and reasonable. Instead of picking out select individuals, you should look at all employees.

3. Research your #hashtags

You might think your hashtag is innocuous at the time of writing, but be mindful of:

a) How it can be interpreted – remember Susan Boyle’s accidentally crude hashtag for the launch of her new album? #susanalbumparty #awkward.

b) What’s going on in the world – a doughnut company once referenced #notguilty in a tweet, the same day the same hashtag was being used for a high profile murder case.

4. Respect people’s privacy

When sharing photos or tagging clients or customers in a post, for example, always ask for their permission beforehand.

5. Consistency is key

Enforce your social media policy consistently. It’s no good having one rule for one employee, and another for another. For policies to be effective, they must be fair and consistent at all times. Worst case, inconsistent policy roll outs could result in discrimination claims.

6. There’s no going back

Once you’ve published something from your business’ profile, there’s no going back. Yes, you can remove it, but you’ve no control over who’s seen it and/or taken screenshots of it. Make sure the people who’ve access to your social media profiles are competent and trustworthy.

When people with access to usernames and passwords leave the company, we’d always recommend that you change your login details to prevent admission.

7. Look at the legal implications

This ties in nicely with having competent people in charge of your profiles. Make sure all employees with the power to publicly post are aware of any legal implications, like privacy, defamation, confidentiality, data protection, discrimination, etc. If any of these are breached, remove the incriminating post immediately.

8. Don’t be oblivious

If there’s a tragic event unfolding around the world, think about how any of your social media posts – no matter how tenuously – could accidentally, adversely relate to it.

Using our own social media as an example, the day after the heart-breaking attack at the MEN arena in May, we had posts scheduled on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn promoting one of our events being held in Manchester, which included #Manchester.

At the time, the hashtag was being used all over the world by people showing support, so we pulled down all scheduled posts before they were due to be published.

Need a hand?

If social media’s got your head in a tizzy, then don’t struggle alone. Our friendly HR & Employment Law experts are here to help on 0345 844 1111.

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