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Car dealers warned of social media risks

Social media

Franchised car dealers using social media are being urged to implement a social media policy to avoid reputational damage.

Legal firm Howes Percival found that 30% of businesses in the UK don’t currently have a social media policy and warned that, alongside reputational damage, companies could risk disclosure of confidential information and inappropriate or harmful content or behaviour if they don't act. 

Edward Lee, Howes Percival partner and corporate law expert, said: "Social media offers a great opportunity for companies to establish and promote their brands and products.  With millions of subscribers, they're also an effective platform to connect with customers. 

"While social media is undoubtedly a great marketing tool, inappropriate use by employees can cause real problems.  We were concerned to see that nearly a third of companies don't have a social media policy to help guard against potentially damaging postings or online behaviour, such as harassment, by employees. 

“To help avoid social media pitfalls, companies should put in place a written social media policy.  This should be clearly communicated to staff and should outline if, and how, internet use is limited during working time and using company computers. 

"Sanctions for breaching confidentially online, or posting material which could damage the company's reputation, or making offensive or discriminatory comments, should also be included."    

Anecdotal evidence from the survey suggests that distractions caused by social media usage by employees, especially Facebook, while at work is a major concern for some businesses.

Four percent of the organisations surveyed admitted to having a significant issue with the misuse of social media and/or the internet in their business. 

LinkedIn and Twitter were found to be the most used platforms for businesses and organisations, with the majority (86%) having a presence on LinkedIn and just over three quarters using Twitter.  Creating a brand identity, positive brand associations, and raising brand awareness were the predominant reasons for businesses' social media presence.  

Rank

Business presence on social media platforms

%

1

LinkedIn

86

2

Twitter

78

3

Facebook

61

4

Instagram

24

5

YouTube

23

6

Google+

21

7

Pinterest

11

In addition to building and raising brand awareness (49%), other core reasons businesses gave for maintaining a social media presence included improving communication and interaction with key audiences (21%), tracking competitors (10%) and increasing web traffic (9%). Only 40% of respondents said they participate in discussion groups for their sector on social media. 

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