Why It's Essential for Franchises to Have a Solid Internet & Social Media Usage Policy

February 28, 2013

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An Internet and Social Media usage policy is a written document established by the franchisor and agreed to in writing by franchisees and corporate employees. Its intention is to identify acceptable and prohibited uses of the Internet, including Social Media. More basically, this is a set of ground rules franchisees and employees must follow in order to use the Internet and Social Media when they are part of the franchise team.

Here are some reasons why having a written Internet and Social Media Policy is essential:

•Protection from defamation lawsuits
If a disgruntled franchisee or employee posts false information about a competitor online, for example, without a policy in place, your franchise could be sued for defamation.

Potential disclosure of Company proprietary information.
Franchisees and employees are often aware of confidential information. Having a non-disclosure section written into your policy will keep the franchisee/employee accountable for online posts.

•Content Control
A policy will help ensure that content remains positive and constructive at all times and will prevent the use of social media and the Internet for personal or inappropriate communication for which the company could be held liable.

Potential use in litigation
Information shared by franchisees or employees on the Internet could be used against your company in litigation. It’s essential to define in advance what can and cannot be discussed on the Internet.

Intellectual Property
Trademark and Copyright laws extend to what you post on social networking sites, so you must make sure your franchisees and employees do not post trademarked or copyrighted material unless authorized to do so.