Create A Social Media Policy To Avoid Landing Your Company In Hot Water

Social media is a great tool for small businesses, often proving more accessible and more effective than traditional advertising strategies. However if you don't set a social media policy for all employees to follow when they are given access to the company's social media policy, you could risk earning a fine or even a lawsuit.

Ananya Singh has put together a list of considerations that your social media policy should contain over at Inside Small Business:

Refrain from making any false or misleading claims

Just like traditional forms of advertising, consumer protection laws prohibit businesses from making false or misleading claims about their services or product. Make sure that no one posting with your company's social media accounts is making claims that cannot be backed up, as you will be held responsible even if it is your employees who have made the post or comment.

ACCC's social media guidelines also point out that this extends to comments made by others on your company's page -- so if someone makes a statement about the company or competitor in a comment that the page managers know to be false, it must be deleted.

Special offers, competitions and awards law apply

Social media competitions are popular as a way to build engagement and interest in a product -- but while the platform makes such competitions feel more informal, you still have to make sure that the competitions are run in keeping with the guidelines set by your state or territory. NSW's laws, for example, include the following obligations from whomever is running the competition:

•disclosing special terms and conditions which must be met before the gift or prize is made available to the consumer •not disguising the cost of the ‘free’ gift or prize by including it in the selling price of the advertised goods •supplying gifts or prizes the same as those offered.

Some types of competition also require registration, or the purchase of a permit from the relevant governing organisation. Make sure to check if this is the case with your particular promotion.

Respect, and comply with, the privacy laws

Make sure that your employees (and yourself, of course) are aware of the privacy laws and your own privacy policies when it comes to posting on social media -- regarding both your customers' private information and confidential information about your business. If you want to use testimonials in your social posts, make sure your customer or client is happy with you using their comment as a testimonial, and knows where it will be posted.

Read your social media posts carefully before posting

Even if your posts don't contain anything that can get you fired or sued, an ill-thought-out post can mean bad news for your business. Make sure that none of your posts contain offensive language or content, or bullying or discriminatory language. Draft this all up in a social media policy and make sure that every employee who has access to your social media accounts is aware of the policy.

[Inside Small Business]


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