Dorset’s leading brands banded together to make the third annual Coles Miller Social Media Seminar the biggest and best yet.
More than 120 Dorset business leaders converged on AFC Bournemouth for the Telling Your Social Story seminar - the event was fully booked out weeks in advance.
Audience members tweeted their appreciation using the hashtag #CMStory as the panel of experts from top Dorset brands gave their social media tips.
Coles Miller Partner Neil Andrews and employment law solicitor Amy Cousineau highlighted the legal pitfalls of social media - giving real life examples of what could go wrong. They advised:
- Always have a social media policy - this is an absolute must. Without it, employers trying to defend themselves from negative social media posts could find their cases undermined by the Human Rights Act, the Data Protection Act and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.
- Don’t panic - do not over-react to something an employee has posted, do not sack them without taking legal advice; it could provoke an unfair dismissal claim
- Train your staff - make sure they understand your social media policy; explain to them why it is so important and what would happen if they breached it
- Know the rules - get legal advice on restrictive covenants and injunctions if you are concerned about employees taking your intellectual property (such as LinkedIn connections) with them when they leave
- Protect yourself against vicarious liability - employers could be liable for what their employees do to third parties on social media.
Neil Andrews said: “We’re not saying ‘don’t use social media’ - it is an essential part of business now.
“We’re talking about protecting your business to make sure that you can deal with any errors arising and that employees can do as little damage as possible.”
Jimmy’s Iced Coffee founder Jim Cregan said: “We believe that social media should be in everything we do. It’s the natural normal thing. Video is where it’s at, images are next, text is last.”
He added: “Social networks have different paces. Learn them. Facebook is nice and slow, you log in maybe one a week. Twitter is the best for instant chat. Instagram is my favourite - I’m on it all the time.”
Jim’s social media tips: don’t be negative; don’t post if you have nothing to say; don’t buy likes (“you’re just lying to yourself”), be rad - massage your brand’s magic into people’s lives.
Intergage Managing Director Paul Tansey said social media had made modern business much more transparent.
“Old fashioned businesses hid behind corporate walls. They spoke in corporate jargon and talked down to their customers.
“Businesses must now be much more transparent and much more human because everything is now shared, discussed and rated.
“Your key asset is your reputation. Without trust, nothing happens - with trust, business is simple and fast.”
TeamJobs Managing Director Jason Gault - the facilitator of the seminar - said: “This is the third, annual, social media seminar TeamJobs has been involved in hosting and it was incredibly exciting to see so many of the county’s most dynamic businesses sharing experiences and advice on this vital means of communication.
“TeamJobs’ rapid growth has been largely due to its excellent online presence and use of social media. Like many guests I spoke to, I came away from the seminar with more great ideas and safeguards to put into practice.”
Other speakers included Lush Social Media Content Editor Nicolas Copeland; Farrow & Ball Head of Customer Service Clare Atkin and Senior Online Communications Executive Rob Murray and RNLI Social Media Innovation Officer Luke Williams.
For more information on the employment law issues surrounding social media, contact Coles Miller Partner Neil Andrews.