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Social media policy

Manage risk and create consistent messaging

This social media policy is for everyone who engages in social media activity on behalf of BMJ. It is written mostly to help journal editors use social media. We understand you need the autonomy and flexibility to use your own judgment. We also recognise the importance of joining in and managing online conversations. By following the best practices outlined here, you will help us manage risk and build a stronger and more consistent social media presence for BMJ.

What do we mean by ‘social media’?

Social media is a catch-all term that covers networks, communication channels, conversation, interaction, and media that are shared online. For many people, Facebook and Twitter immediately spring to mind, but there are many other channels that have come to prominence recently. For example, Career networking (LinkedIn), Blogs (Wordpress, Blogger) and Video sharing (Vimeo, Vine, YouTube). These now play an important part in daily and business life.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do know your audience. Begin to understand where audiences congregate and demonstrate excellence, integrity, innovation and collaboration through your communications.
  • Do keep within your area of expertise. Stay up to date with the latest news, and always keep social media accounts active and current.
  • Do be transparent and truthful. Be honest about who you are and who you work with.
  • Do add value by posting helpful information and engaging in thought-provoking discussions with users.
  • Do attempt to subdue heated discussions with sources and facts to substantiate your claims and always be respectful.
  • Do admit to mistakes and take action to correct them immediately. Responding quickly to mistakes and sincerely correcting them can positively manage BMJ’s reputation.
  • Do be careful of copyright and links to third party websites. Always cite your image or text sources and be clear when a user has moved to a third party website.
  • Do be aware that anything posted on the internet is permanent. Although social media posts may seem impermanent, there is a strong possibility they will remain online forever.


  • Don’t overshare information. Never share any confidential, personal or financial, business strategies, trade secrets, legal proceedings, or commercially sensitive information.
  • Don’t criticise competitors or engage in negative dialogue.
  • Don’t comment on behalf of anyone else.
  • Don’t start a conversation you don’t mean to finish.
  • Don’t ignore comments or messages, as they are a direct contact from our customers. If you’re unsure of the answer, please forward the message to our Media Relations team (
  • Don’t forget to use your own personal social media accounts to share updates about BMJ.


Content shared from private accounts get 8 times more engagement than content shared by brand channels.

Dealing with online complaints

Social Media is a unique public environment that has its own culture and expectations. Traditional customer service and public relations may not be enough. Here are some tips to handle complaints, negativity or inappropriateness online.

  • Aim to have a complaint dealt with or, at least, replied to within 24 hours of its posting.
  • Determine if it’s worth a response: Not all negative comments are worth a response. Sometimes responding just fuels the situation. Please always forward complaints to Customer Services ( and/or the Media Relations team (
  • It is good practice to always acknowledge people, even with a simple 'thank you', however, please seek a second opinion from the Media Relations team if it is a particularly negative comment.


Our Media Relations team deal with and provide comment on issues relevant to BMJ activities and values.

Please contact the Media Relations team for support or queries: Emma Dickinson or Megan Frost at