Personal vs Professional - Does my organisation or club need a social media policy?

26 November 2021

 

How our world has changed lately – lockdowns, mandates and home offices…. and our reliance on on-line forms of communication!

With the new era of our increased online presence comes the blurring of lines between personal and business. It is even possible now to divorce your personal preferences and presence from your work now? And how do you stop the personal preferences of your staff, volunteers, athletes, and board being seen as the word of your organisation?

Imagine a world without online communications and social media...  It’s hard to, isn’t it?  Online communications and connections have become woven into our lives, and has become a valuable tool for sports clubs and organisations.

Social media is great for promoting your organisation’s success, attracting new members and engaging with your supporters, community and sponsors.

But using it carries risks. Think about what we’ve seen recently with certain fans reacting to England’s loss of the Euro 2020s – social media can be extremely damaging and destructive when it’s not being used in a responsible way.  

Sharing images and videos of children and young people without their consent puts them at risk of cyber-bulling and online harassment or discrimination.  Unfortunately when social media is used inappropriately, it can be harmful to your members, damage your organisation’s reputation and even discourage your current and future sponsors.

To help protect your organisation and your members, you can set some ground rules in a social media policy so everyone knows what is acceptable and appropriate social media use.

Your social media policy should include:

  • why you have the policy in place (the purpose)
  • who the policy covers in terms of your members and other stakeholders;
  • what social media is;
  • what you see as being acceptable and not acceptable use on social media;
  • how people can report inappropriate social media use and how you would investigate and respond;
  • if you find that the behaviour was inappropriate, what the consequences would be.

Having a policy is a good starting point, but you’ll need to be proactive.  Explain your policy to your members, include information about social media use in your newsletters and on your website.

Bottom-line:  All sports clubs and organisations should have a social media policy in place.  This should set clear guidelines on what is responsible social media use and the expectations that you have of coaches, players, administrators, volunteers and supporters who engage in social media.

How we can help: We can provide you with a template to DIY, or help you create one to suit the needs of your organisation.

Get in touch with us if you’d like a chat: Tenille Burnside tenille.burnside@gibsonsheat.com 04 916 7464

BSS GS Legal Speak