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Social Media Policy

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UK Social Media Policy

“Social Media” describes the online tools that people use to share content, profiles, opinions, insights, experiences, perspectives and the media itself, thus facilitating conversations and interaction online between groups of people. These tools include blogs, message boards, podcasts, videos, networks, communities and wikis. The Institute recognises that more and more people are using social media - FACEBOOK™, MY SPACE™, LIVEJOURNAL™, YOUTUBE™, LINKEDIN™ and more – to connect with others. In order to help members get the most out of their social media efforts, the Institute has developed this Social Media Policy.

The Institute reserves the right in its absolute discretion to apply and vary the terms of the UK Social Media Policy without prior notice. This Policy is effective as of 10 July 2012 and is applicable to all Institute of Horticulture members in the UK and RoI.

 Be transparent, authentic and honest
 Be truthful and accurate at all times. Those who mislead or make false claims are being dishonest at best and doing something illegal at worst, and could jeopardise their reputation and the reputation of the Institute. If you are open, honest and forthright, you are more likely to build a loyal following. Self-disclosure will help readers understand why you are online. Always disclose that you are an IoH member at an early and opportune time when discussing the Institute.

Be relevant and credible. Add value
Tell your story in an interesting and truthful manner. Think about the positive aspects you want to present to your friends, colleagues and those reading what you are writing. Make your messages and posts relevant to the people you are speaking to – write/speak about what will resonate with your audience.

Add value to the conversation. If you want to project your expertise, practice the soft sell. Studies show that readers are turned off by hype and rhetoric. Demonstrate your value by sharing your knowledge. Offer simple, sound and accurate advice. By offering constructive advice, you can establish your credibility and earn your readers’ trust.

Using brand images and logos
Using the Institute logo or any CIH images in your social media presence is only allowed upon prior authorisation from the Institutes Secretariat.

Naming your page
The use of Institute trademarks or trade names is not allowed when naming your page. We suggest you use your full name. People who search for you online are more likely to remember your name than some clever name you have created.

            Acceptable, e.g: “A N Others Garden Consultancy”

            Unacceptable, e.g: “A N Others Institute of Horticulture Consultancy Service”

            (the use of the Institute brand name is not allowed)

No prospecting for new members
Adhere to the terms and conditions of the relevant social media portal that you are active in. Do not use social media for active membership recruitment. This might not only turn people off but may also risk your and the Institute's reputation. Additionally, this may not be allowed according to those terms and conditions.

 Inviting friends or colleagues to discuss joining the Institute is permitted only if your privacy settings have been set to assure a closed Social Media environment.

Business claims
Any claims about the Institute and its objectives must be accurate and substantiated. Only current and in verbatim Institute information authored / published by the Institute of Horticulture can be utilised.

Privacy settings
Social media sites allow you to manage your privacy settings which control who can see photo’s, the profile, updates and who can follow you. The Institute of Horticulture recommends that you manage your privacy settings so that only friends and colleagues can view the updates. Some sites such as TWITTER, are more commonly used to share information. When participating in these types of open forums, follow the Institutes Social Media guidelines and policy to protect the Institutes reputation and your own.

Do not use any material, esp. videos produced by people other than the Institute without them being reviewed and authorised by the Institute prior to being used in a social media environment. Do not upload videos to YouTube that are not authorised by IoH or which may be false, misleading or incorrect.

Reputation, reputation, reputation!
Social media is good for the overall reputation of the Institute – and yours. If you follow this policy and the Rules of Conduct, social media could enhance your reputation as well as that of the Institute. For more details please also refer to the Institute of Horticulture Social Media Guidelines available on the website:

Non compliance
In summary, you must:

·         Not make posts etc. that fall into any of the categories contained in the following non-exhaustive list: unlawful, abusive, obscene, discriminatory, harassing, offensive or defamatory.

·         Not post content that you do not have the necessary rights, licences and consents to post (for example, material covered by copyright law).

·         Not make posts etc. that may damage the reputation of the Institute or cause embarrassment to the Institute.

·         Not disclose information which the Institute has specified is confidential (unless the Institute has given written approval to do so).

·         Not make statements that purport to represent the views of the Institute (unless the Institute has given written approval to do so).

·         Not promote or comment on political matters or issues that may be regarded as such.

·         Not make posts etc. that risk prejudicing on-going or forthcoming court proceedings.

You should monitor any posts or alike made by third parties in relation to any social media which you are in control of and should remove or report to the Institute any unlawful, abusive, obscene, discriminatory, harassing, offensive or defamatory posts or alike which may harm the Institutes reputation.

Please note that your compliance with this policy is your sole responsibility. The Institute reserves the right to ask you to remove any posts, videos, statements of any kind, or alike which it deems to be inappropriate or not in line with this Policy or the Rules.

 Agreed by Council 10/07/12



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