A leading lawyer specialising in online issues has used the blog of Peterborough-based marketing communications consultancy Metrix Marketing ( to warn businesses of the dangers of social media – while recognising its marketing benefits.

Oli Worth, an intellectual property expert at law firm Greenwoods Solicitors LLP (, used the recent example of HMV employees Tweeting about their imminent redundancy to provide a timely warning to readers of the Metrix blog.

He writes: “It is accepted wisdom now that no matter what your personal thoughts on blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking, etc, social media is something that most businesses can’t afford to overlook anymore. The worldwide media storm sparked by HMV’s Tweets proves that. But of equal interest, in an area that is still developing, are the legal ramifications of social media usage.

“These are issues that businesses can’t afford to neglect.”

His blog post goes on to explore these issues in areas such as employment, corporate reputation and confidentiality.

He concludes: “A well-drafted and properly implemented social media policy is a must. So is proper training.

“Having a crisis management plan ready, and knowing what to do and where to turn, is also crucial for any business with an online presence.”

Mike Holland, managing director of Metrix, said: “Oli raises some important issues – and, coincidentally, reflects a theme of managing crisis PR that keeps cropping up on the Metrix blog.

“There is some good advice in his blog post for marketers – not just in terms of the law but also management best practice for handling social media.”