Millions in breach of new Social Media Code?

Half of all employees have admitted to writing about the company they work for on a social media website, such as Facebook and Twitter, a new survey has revealed. However, a staggering 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.

The survey was commissioned by Dorset based company, Liz Lean PR working in conjunction with Social Media and IT consultancy, SocialTech, in response to the introduction of the new ASA CAP Code. From March 1st, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have extended their remit to cover online communications. The new remit will cover 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.

By monitoring social media and websites, and reprimanding businesses delivering misleading or untruthful marketing messages, the ASA is striving to provide more comprehensive protection for online consumers.

The major concern for companies, revealed by the survey, is that without Social Media guidelines, businesses are potentially leaving themselves wide open to being penalised by the ASA for their employees’ online activity.

Liz Willingham, Managing Director of Liz Lean PR says: “The results of our survey highlight the importance of good communication from the top down. As ambassadors of your brand, employees need to be made aware and given comprehensive guidance on how to conduct themselves in all situations to protect the overall reputation of the company.”

Luke Williams, Managing Director of SocialTech, who specialises in the more social areas of the internet comments: “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.”


Results of the Survey

A snapshot survey of 100 adults, taken around Bournemouth and Poole in February 2010


16-24 33

25-34 33

35-49 27

50-69 7

70 0


male 49

female 51

Do you use Facebook or twitter?

Yes 84

No 16

Have you ever written about the company you work for on Facebook or Twitter?

Yes 49

No 51

Has your company given you any guidance on what you can/can’t write on Facebook or Twitter?

Yes 25

No 12

Don’t Know 63

No + D.K. 75

Have you ever heard of the new ASA standards / CAP code?

Yes 33

No 67