Are you exuberant about your new marketing strategy? Enthusiastic about implementing your new social media content ideas? Proceed with caution. Those around you may not share your excitement and may have concerns about privacy and information sharing on the internet. We have all seen bad news stories about trolling and bad experiences due to an online presence and so their caution is justified. Unfortunately, depending on your target market, social media may be a driving force for your business and so you should weigh up the positives and negatives.

In my previous employment, consent forms were completed by anyone who would be visible in our marketing material BEFORE the photograph was taken. Fellow staff did not complete consent forms but simply moved out of the frame if they did not want to be included in the image. This was a few years ago, I would do things differently now. I believe, in the same way, as has been suggested for organ donation/donor cards, it should be assumed that every employee gives permission to be included in their employer’s marketing material, but should make it clear in writing if they wish to withdraw consent. This should be done on day one of employment or the first day of the new marketing strategy. The individual should have the right to change their mind at a later date. There should be no picking or choosing what they will or won’t be included in. It should be all or nothing to avoid confusion.

Important bit – Photos and images of individuals taken for business purposes may be classified as personal data and are therefore regulated by the Date Protection Act 1998. If an individual can be clearly identified within the image it is likely to be considered as personal data. Consent must be sought if an individual or group of individuals are the focus of the image.  The Data Protection Act does not specify that consent needs to be in a written format but I strongly recommended that you obtain written consent for future reference.

I have added some links below for guidance on what should be included in consent forms. There are some templates for you to work from. Requirements may be different depending on the industry you work in.

Words Angel