You will no doubt have been working hard for the last year on complying with GDPR in order to protect your clients’ valuable data. You may have made changes such as; implementing a clean desk policy; clearing old information from your database; or moving to digital instead of paper forms. But have you considered the importance of making sure your clients are protected even when you post on social media? These are just a few things you can do to make a start on minimising the risks…

Check what's in the background of your images

Before you post a picture of something like your clinic, treatment machines, cosmeceutical products, or staff members, for example, make sure you check the background of the images to see if there is anything that would make clients' details public. Avoid people's faces in the background as they may not want to be photographed, and make sure there are no forms with details on show in the background. Cameras on phones are excellent quality these days and you might be surprised at how much you can zoom in to see fine details!

Get people's explicit permission

If you want to share a photo of a treatment that has gone particularly well, make sure you get the clients' permission to not only take the photo, but to also share it on your social media channels if that's what you want to do. Explain which exact sites you want to share to and how many times you expect to share it – will it just be once or a few times over the year? Will it just be shared on social media or do you want to use the images in marketing materials such as adverts or posters? Be clear with your clients and if they don't give you permission, you must respect their wishes and not pester them.

Be careful who you publicly contact on social media

You may want to invite your clients to like and follow your social media channels. Of course it is up to them what they share on their own social media pages with their friends and family, but you should avoid publicly contacting anyone in case they prefer to keep their treatment private. Posting a public message or comment without their initial interaction could embarrass them if they don't want to be associated with having treatments. Let your clients make the first move – if they want to engage publicly, they will!

Avoid names

Unless a client is singing your praises online and wants to share everything they've had done, you should certainly avoid naming people in your posts. If someone has given permission for you to share their image, you should keep the photo anonymous unless you have explicit agreement to use their name. Referring to people as clients is perfectly acceptable, unless they have said they want to be named. If a client says they are happy to be named and have images used on a public forum please ensure you have their written consent.

Of course, it is important for you to protect your clients' personal data and stay compliant with GDPR, but a lot of these tips will also allow you to maintain an excellent relationship with your clients. You endeavour to provide them with a positive and unique experience at your clinic, so keep that professionalism on social media too. It can be tempting to become casual on social media with clients, but remember you want your clinic to be perceived as highly professional on all of the platforms that you are engaging on.