Question: Should a franchisor implement a social media policy?
Answer: Yes. A well-drafted social media policy can help a franchisor leverage social media positively by defining a strategy for the franchise system’s online public relations, advertising and marketing efforts. It can also help control the otherwise unfettered use and access to social media services by the franchisor’s employees and franchisees, thereby protecting the franchisor and the franchise system.
Employees and franchisees should be required to comply with a social media policy, both when participating in social media personally, or as an official representative of the franchisor or the franchised business, as applicable. A policy should, among other things, prohibit employees and franchisees from using social media platforms to (i) make false, misleading or otherwise illegal representations, and (ii) disclose confidential information or make defamatory or disparaging comments about the franchisor, its franchisees, or the franchise system, including the franchised products or services. A social media policy should provide guidance to franchisees on how they may participate in social media in a positive and responsible manner, consistent with the franchisor’s social media strategy. A franchisor should consider reserving the right to determine the content and use of any social media sites associated with the franchise system.
For more information and suggestions on how to prepare a suitable social media policy, please contact any member of our Franchise & Distribution Group.