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

Valentine’s Day

Wow, I can’t believe we are well into February already; the short, sweet month of love that we PR types like to hi-jack with stories of proposals in obscure places, romance related surveys and tenuous product links to the forthcoming Royal nuptials.

It’s not all about the Valentine’s angle though. I think we should grasp the moment to celebrate all the things we love, even if it’s just a simple spot of clothes shopping! I am starting to relish in the research of a wedding outfit (not for Kate and William sadly, they say my invite is lost in the post) but for the wedding of my fab friends, Katie and Fred. Once all the jumble of the January sales has ended, it is so great to see all the spring collections making their entrance, and I can’t wait to find the outfit of my dreams. I’m easily pleased these days.

As a nation of animal lovers, February gives us another excuse to acknowledge the pets in our lives and our stinky old Zennor is one who deserves celebration this month. We have calculated that in human years, the Sandbanks phenomenon which is Zennor (named after the rugged village in west Cornwall, not the laxatives) is now a ripe 100 years old and deserves her Royal wedding invite, or at least a letter from the Queen.

We should really throw her a party. Zennor is almost as famous with the locals as Harry Redknapp in Sandbanks, where she has spent her life being treated with ice creams from tourists, a daily fried breakfast from the neighbours, or a pie from the newsagent’s delivery driver. She has friends, both human and four-legged, whom I have never previously clapped eyes on, who acknowledge her by name, or sniff, in the street. Her deceiving eyes manipulate the most innocent dog walker into feeling sorry for her, achieving a nice little walk on the beach with a stranger and a new dog to play with. She’s no fool. Zennor has been ‘papped’ windsurfing in the Harbour, and has made friends over a shared lunch box with every builder who has contributed to the Peninsula’s millionaire’s mile. Now she’s an old girl and due to the many rocks she has fished out of the harbour over the years, her teeth are rotten and her breath smells terrible. But she is a legend and we love her; someone should really write a book about her, although genuinely no one would believe some of her crazy stories.

Talking of books and the subject of animals, it leads me beautifully to my ‘blatant plug of the month’ which goes to charity, the Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS) and Dorset’s very own celebrity TV vet, Luke Gamble, who launches his first book, ‘The Vet: My Wild and Wonderful Friends’ this month. No, the book’s not about his adventures with his PR agency, but an insight into his early career as a vet, leading to the launch of the charity and the subsequent filming of two series of the hit show, ‘Vet Adventures’ on Sky 1.

One of our current missions is to build the fantastic ‘Mile of Smiles’ campaign, raising awareness of the charity’s international work with animals in crisis by creating a mile of photographs of smiling people, or pets, or pets with people who have each donated £2. WVS sends teams of vets, volunteers and supplies to countries where no veterinary treatment is available. The small gift of £2 goes a long way to help animals in dire need and the people who rely on them across the globe. All the smiles can be viewed on the charity’s website and the campaign Facebook page; they’re worth a visit, there are some very funny pictures and, you know how the cheesy saying goes, “Smiling is infectious; you can catch it like the flu. Someone smiled at me today, and I started smiling too”. You won’t be able to help yourself! For more information and to upload your ‘smile’, visit

Here’s hoping you catch smiles and not the flu this month. Until the next time, and my update on my slow but steady process in the fitness stakes, enjoy the love.


Liz x

New Year, New Offices

All LLPR wants for Xmas is... a sparkling new office

All LLPR wants for Xmas is... a sparkling new office

In 2010 our Xmas wish for newly refurbished offices came true!

We are settling nicely into our new contemporary business accommodation, which has been designed with us in mind, especially for us by exciting interior designers, GM Designs.

Situated on the Sandbanks peninsula, flanked by Poole Harbour and Sandbanks beach, our offices now boast an inspiring interior to rival our stunning exterior. So window gazing has been replaced by wall gazing!

We areso looking forward to welcoming you to our new home.

Happy New Year

love and best wishes

Liz Lean PR