Your Industry 

Social media usage policies

This article is part of
Guide to Social Media

Derek Bradley, chief executive of Panacea Adviser, says advisers should educate their staff on their customised social media strategy, how it will work with a company’s website and who to connect with, how, when and on what networks.

If you allow members of staff to use social media on behalf of the business, Nina Stenning, head of marketing communications at Openwork, says you should remember that they will effectively be your spokespeople.

As such, Ms Stenning says you will want to make sure they know what they can and can’t say - and to whom.

Ms Stenning says: “Document this for them so they have clear guidelines.

“If you don’t allow staff to speak on behalf of the business, bear in mind they may still use social media privately. This could have an impact on your business, or the industry you operate in, online.

“To manage this risk, it may be wise to put together a brief social media policy that clarifies their responsibilities as employees.”

If your staff are not permitted to speak on behalf of the business, Ms Stenning says your social media policy may include things like:

1) Where the conversation relates to your business or the financial services industry, their post should say that you are an employee of your business.

2) In instances where it is clear who they work for, employees should state that their views are their own (not those of the company).

3) Privacy should be respected, and inappropriate remarks should not be posted with regard to your business or industry.

4) Confidential company or client information should never be shared.

Your policy can be as long or as short as you think necessary and Ms Stenning says you can find a range of social media policy templates online, which will help you come up with your own.

If you are allowing your staff to use social media to promote the business, Ms Stenning says your policy might include details like:

1) The audience you want to reach using that platform.

2) Key messages, themes and content you want to promote on each platform.

3) The compliance rules and financial promotions rules they need to observe.

4) The amount of time you feel is reasonable for them to commit in order to keep your social media channels updated.

Ideally, Ms Stenning says advisers should set objectives for each social media platform they are using, so they can review how effective their staff’s activity is.

From a compliance perspective, Stephen Gazard, managing director of Sesame Bankhall Group, says adviser firms need to make sure that a social media usage policy meets the financial promotion rules and it is approved by the person within the firm who has responsibility for signing off financial promotions before being issued.

However Helen Turner, distribution and development director of Tenet, warns there is no point having a social media usage policy if you don’t make sure that everyone within your company understands the guidelines and sticks to it.