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Social media policy

Last reviewed on 13 February 2018

Most of us will use social media in our personal lives, and increasingly our professional ones too. In fact, social media is a great tool for connecting with our customers, members and fellow colleagues to share the great products and services we have to offer.

We’ve also got a set of community social media principles that we ask everyone engaging with us on social media to use.

Crucial bits

We all need to be responsible about what we put on social media. Even on our personal accounts, and in our private time. Whatever your privacy settings, what you post on social media is never really private. This is particularly important if your profile includes that you work for Co-op, or people you’re connected with would know that.

It might go without saying, but if you post comments or images on social media that people could view as offensive, discriminatory, bullying or threatening, we’ll deal with it as we would if you’d done it at work. This means we may follow the Disciplinary Policy. This is also true if you’ve ‘liked’ or shared something someone else has posted. If you wouldn’t say it or behave like that in work, don’t do it online. We may ask you to remove online content that’s not in line with this Policy.

You also need to be careful not to share confidential business information about the Co-op online. At the extreme end, this includes sharing commercially sensitive information, personal data (see information about photographs below) or confidential information or making comments/posts that could damage our Co-op brand or reputation.

Just remember that you still need to follow our other policies when you’re posting things online. Take a look at Co-op’s Bullying and Harassment/Respect Policy, Acceptable Use of Technology Policy (on the intranet), Data Protection Policy (intranet) and Information Classification and Handling Policy (intranet) and the Information Risk Policy for colleagues in Insurance (intranet), to make sure your social media posts are in line with what’s acceptable at Co-op.

That’s not to say you can’t express your personal views online, just do so respectfully. And if you’re commenting on something that the Co-op has an interest in, then just make it clear that your opinion is your own and you’re not speaking on behalf of Co-op.

Just so everyone’s clear, any breach of this Policy may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including summary dismissal.

Using social media for work

Social media is a great way for us to connect with our community, so we want to encourage colleagues to use it to engage with local activities. Whether you’re doing this from an account you use for work or from your personal account, it’s important to follow this Policy.

If you’re using social media as part of your job, or you’re responsible for an official Co-op social media account, then there are extra social media resources to help you.


Photos are a great way to share our community work. As photos are classed as personal data you need to make sure you get permission before you share them.

You just need to be clear why you’re taking someone’s photo, what you’ll be using it for and who might want to look at it - we’ve got a consent form (below) that you need to complete to make sure all of this is covered.

Remember that if you’re sharing photos of children, don’t use their full name in your post or share any other personal information about them.

You should send complete consent forms to CommunityTeams& or:

Community and Shared Value Team, 8th Floor, 1 Angel Square, Manchester, M60 0AG

Things to think about

If you’ve got a concern or complaint about work, we want you to tell us so we can resolve it, and not to put it on social media. Speak to your manager or follow the Whistleblowing Policy or Grievance Policy.

If you’ve got a question and want to ask us directly, you can contact us on colleague Facebook or direct message us on Twitter at @coopuk.

We all make mistakes, so if you think you’ve posted something you shouldn’t have, let us know as soon as possible so we can get it sorted.

If you need further support

If you’ve seen posts that contain inappropriate comments or images, contact the Social Media Team or in Private Message or Direct Message on Facebook or Twitter.

If managers need advice about dealing with issues involving social media they should contact ER Services.