Using social media

Social media can be used to send out messages to a large number of people very quickly. So, if there is an event that needs to be promoted, or a committee vacancy that needs to be filled, the social media channels could be used to push these messages out.

The biggest risk of an organisation like IOSH being on social media is that it is a completely open platform, and that means that it is opening the organisation up to scrutiny or criticism that could be shared very quickly with a very big organisation.

IOSH uses a number of social media platforms to communicate with members and other stakeholders. These platforms are:

Facebook icon Facebook. This is arguably the premier social networking site in the world. After registering to use the site, users can create a user profile, add other users as ‘friends’, exchange messages, post status updates and photos, share videos and receive notifications when others update their profiles. Additionally, users may join common-interest user groups, organized by workplace, school or college, or other characteristics, and categorize their friends into lists such as ‘People From Work’ or ‘Close Friends’.

Twitter icon Twitter. This is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called "tweets". Registered users can read and post tweets, but unregistered users can only read them. Users access Twitter through the website interface, SMS, or mobile device app. The term ‘hashtag’ (the # symbol) is widely used amongst tweeters to indicate an item that has popular value, known as trending.

LinkedIn icon LinkedIn. The basic functionality of LinkedIn allows users (workers and employers) to create profiles and ‘connections’ to each other in an online social network which may represent real-world professional relationships. Users can invite anyone (whether a site user or not) to become a connection. LinkedIn is often referred to as the ‘professional Facebook’.

Audioboom. AudioBoom is a website and an application for iOS and Android which allows users to listen to, record and share sound files. AudioBoom allows smartphone and website users to record, upload and playback digital audio recordings, which can be then listened to on the AudioBoom website, listened to via the apps, embedded in a user's own website, Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr feed, and submitted to iTunes as a podcast feed. Image, location, title, description, category and tags can be enclosed with any uploaded clip.

Adding social media content to these official channels
If there’s something you’d like to see on one of IOSH’s official social media channels, get in touch with your Relationship Manager who can speak to the Communications team for you. The Communications team plan content out a week in advance. This means the deadline for requests is 12 noon on the Friday of the week before you’d like something to go out.

One of the Communications team will look at your request. They will make sure that what you are asking them to add is appropriate for the channel. They will also make sure it doesn’t conflict with any other social media messages that have been planned. 

Policy on creating unofficial channels
While committees can create unofficial channels themselves, there are rules to follow in doing so. The title of the account should contain the word ‘unofficial’ and there should be no IOSH branding used, including the IOSH logo. The main reason for this is that the IOSH name is registered, so there are trademark and intellectual copyright issues involved. Another important reason is because this is not an account that IOSH is managing or monitoring, we need members, and external stakeholders, to know that IOSH is not directly involved in it. 

Ethics and legalities
It is very important to think about the ethical and legal considerations when posting on social media. Some of the considerations that need to be made include:

  • Being aware of plagiarism and ensuring that work is original, or attributed to, the originator
  • Posts should not be defamatory, and it should not be used as a place to attack or harass others
  • Data protection legislation should be kept in mind at all times
  • Be careful about what content you repost, as you could be found liable if you have shared/reposted a comment that is defamatory even if you weren’t the originator.

These are not all of the ethical and legal considerations when using social media, but they are important points. If you are ever unsure if something is inappropriate to share on a social channel, it is always a good idea to check with either your Relationship Manager or the Communications team beforehand.

[v2 October 2017]