30 September 2016

How to effectively manage social media risks to your business

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In the pre-internet age, it was unusual for a person's out of work behaviour to be noticed at work. Social media has made it easier for employers to find records of their employees’ extracurricular activities. It has also made it easier for employer’s reputations to be damaged by employee’s online activities.

According to Complispace ebook’s figures show that every minute of every day 100,000 tweets are sent, 684,478 pieces of content are shared on Facebook, 48 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube and 3 600 photos are shared on Instagram.

In November 2015, a hotel manager from Meriton Group, Michael Nolan, lost his job after calling feminist commentator Clementine Ford a sl** on Facebook. Following an internal investigation relating to the complaint made about Mr Nolan using inappropriate language on Facebook.Ford shared a screen shot of their interaction to her 80 000 Facebook followers and tagged Nolan’s employer.

The instinctive reaction is to ban the use of social media at work, but this might not be an option for employers who wish to make the most out of social media as a business tool.

Fay Calderone from DibbsBaker believes there needs to be social media policy that contains clear guidelines on how to responsibly use social media.

The significant challenge for employers in regulating the use of social media is the blurred boundaries between work life and outside-of-work activities. Historically, courts have been reluctant to allow an employee to be dismissed for activities that occur beyond work hours and employers generally had no right to regulate activities not connected with employment,” she said.

Ms Calderone adds that while employees are increasingly using social media platforms such as Twitter and Linked In to establish and maintain new relationships, policies and procedures must be in place to minimise any risk from using it.

To minimise any risk and exposure arising from its use by, for example, requiring LinkedIn account settings be set to hide contacts; mandating disclosure of login, passwords and contacts during employment; and/or deletion of employer contacts/account on cessation of employment for any reason,” she said.

In conclusion, the use of social media is certainly blurring the lines between work and private life. What constitutes work activities as opposed to out of hours conduct becomes more difficult to decipher. However, if used properly, employers have the opportunity to enhance their brand and build relationships with their customers or clients. 

The best part of my job as an Assistant General Manager – Production is to create and manage my own conferences from concept to delivery, identify future conference topics as well as giving me a chance to expand my business card collection. Having a bit of a sweet tooth, you will always find me having lollies on my desk or you will catch me browsing on fashion sites during lunch breaks.

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