Social Media Charter: Employers need to be aware of new ASA rules, which have been amended to cover online communications – including comments made by employees on social media platforms.

A recent survey carried out by Liz Lean PR and SocialTech found out that half of all employees have admitted to writing about the company they work for on a social media website, such as Facebook and Twitter.

However, an incredible three quarters of those who have written about their company online either did not know of, or had no guidance from their employers regarding what they could or couldn’t write.

As we reported last week, from March 1st, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have extended their remit to cover online communications. This new remit covers marketing communications on advertisers’ own websites and on other free online platforms, such as social networking sites, to guarantee the same high standards as in other media.

It would appear that the major concern for small businesses is that without social media guidelines, they are potentially leaving themselves vulnerable to being penalised by the ASA for their employees’ online activity.

Luke Williams, MD of SocialTech, a company which specialises in the more social areas of the internet made the following recommendation to employers:

“As this research reveals, businesses need to be educated about the risks involved when undertaking PR and marketing on social platforms. 84% of people use social networking sites for personal reasons, which can lead to mixed messages and a blurring of the boundaries between work and play. We recommend developing a sound business driven strategy to help deliver clear, successful online communication campaigns.”

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