Tracey E. Diamond, Esq., Hyland Levin LLP practices in the areas of employment law, human resources counseling and employment litigation. In addition to her practice, Tracey serves as an Adjunct Professor at Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law in Philadelphia, where she teaches employment law and contract drafting.

Tracey was a panelist for the IFA (International Franchise Association) Franchise Business Network meeting in Philadelphia and a guest on Social Geek Radio outlining best practices of social media policies. Tracey said, “As franchisors continue to use social media to expand brand presence and maintain consistency across all media, it is important to adopt a comprehensive social media policy to ensure that company employees, franchisees and employees of franchisee’s are on board-while at the same time avoiding exercising too much control over the franchisee’s employment practices to limit vicarious liability claims. The following list highlights best practices that should be addressed in all social media policies.

  1. Set expectations for franchisees and their employees’ use of social media, both on and off the job.  Detail what social networking sites may be used to promote the brand and require that franchisees obtain approval before using any social media site not specifically addressed in the policy.
  2. Require that franchisees and employees comply with all rules and regulations concerning the endorsement of products.  If a franchisee promotes a product on a social media site, the franchisee must clearly and conspicuously disclose his or her relationship with the product manufacturer.
  3. Remind franchisees and employees that the terms of the franchise agreement and operations manuals with regard to harassment, discrimination, confidentiality, copyright and code of business conduct also apply in the social media world.
  4. Inform employees that they are expected to portray themselves professionally in all circumstances where customers may be present, including on social media websites.
  5. Address what franchisees may say about the brand, the company, employees, competitors, customers and products.  Remind franchisees and employees that all statements must be truthful and not misleading.
  6. Make sure that when franchise employees make comments on their own personal social networking pages about issues related to the business of the franchise system, they insert a disclaimer that they are not speaking on behalf of the franchise.
  7. Emphasize the dangers of inadvertently disclosing proprietary, confidential or commercially-sensitive information on the Internet.
  8. Reserve the right to require a franchisee to remove any content that violates the franchisor’s social media policy or any law or regulation, or that the franchisor feels is not consistent with the appropriate use of its trademarks.
  9. Update the policy at least annually to take into account changes in technology.”

Contact information for Tracey Diamond: diamond@hylandlevin.com 856-355-2900