Checklist for Sporting Organisations Social Media Policy

How to avoid your organisation having the negative publicity arising from the likes of football’s Joey Barton or swimming’s Stephanie Rice tweets.

In the modern age sports organisations must have social media in order to raise its profile and keep members, prospective members, sponsors and partners both up to date, interested and happy.

However, where employees of sports organisations are trusted to keep the organisations social media profile updated, clear guidelines must be put in place in order to protect the organisation in case something goes wrong.

Wayward tweets have led to  Court cases being prejudiced,  actions for  breach of sponsorship contracts,  employment terminations, breach of trust actions to name a few all of  which can leave sports bodies in the front pages instead of the back pages of a newspaper.

So what are the top 10 things your organisation should be considering when developing a social media policy?

  1. Have it in writing – if its not clear and and easily understood by all then don’t bother at all.
  2. Specify which social media platforms are used by your organisation and why.  Your employees need to appreciate what the purpose of usage is for.
  3. Appoint a social media officer – all communications should come from one source with a skill in communications.  This minimises risk and ensures quality and consistency.
  4. Specify what is tolerated and what is not by representatives of your organisation. It should state clearly what employees/athletes of the organisation can and cannot do on the sports organisation’s social media profiles.
  5. Clarify in what circumstances hashtags and personal identifiers can be used for your organisation.
  6. Ensure that all social media accounts used by employees specify ‘views my own’ so that the recipients can distinguish between personal and official communications from your organisation.
  7. Prepare a Damage control plan.   Liaise with your PR company to prepare a proactive statement which is ready for the eventuality.
  8. Where the sports organisation has an underage participation element, clear guidelines should be specificed on the posting of images of underage individuals participating in events organised by the sports organisation should be included in the policy.
  9. Employees of the sports organisation should be asked to sign the social media policy or at the very least email acknowledging receipt of the policy and confirm that the employee has read the policy and understood it.
  10. Update your disciplinary rules to cater for breaches of the social media guidelines.

This publication is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal or professional advice. No liability is accepted by Ogier Leman for any action taken or not taken in reliance on the information set out in this publication. Professional or legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this publication. Any and all information is subject to change.

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