The purpose of this document is to provide direction for the use of social media.
Austrade recognises the opportunity social media can bring in reaching new audiences and
interacting effectively with our clients, customers, stakeholders and staff. However, social media
brings with it a range of legal and regulatory challenges, along with reputational, security and privacy
These require careful management if Austrade is to maintain its reputation as a trusted authority.
Social Media Usage
Before engaging in social media or commenting in any online communication, staff should read Section 6.2 of the APS Values and Code of Conduct,
“Employees as Citizens - Making public
comment, including online”.
Commenting publicly online is becoming increasingly common for APS employees. When doing so,
they must ensure that their behaviour at al times upholds the APS Values, Employment Principles
and the Code.
Austrade’s social media policy outlines three tiers of social media usage: Official, Professional and
It is essential that Austrade staff understand these three tiers of usage, as inappropriate use of social
media may be in breach of the Australian Public Service values and code of conduct and may result
in sanctions under the Public Service Act 1999.
Official use is when an Austrade employee participates/comments in social media as an official
Austrade representative. Official use constitutes comment about a market, industry, and any
Austrade policy or program.
If participating in a third-party blog, forum, page or group the spokesperson must identify
themselves as an Austrade employee, stating their name and position. Furthermore, any official use
should be done using a profile that is identified as an official Austrade account.
For example: A Senior Trade Commissioner should not make official comment from his/her personal
twitter profile/account but rather via a sanctioned Austrade twitter profile/account (eg
Professional use is when an Austrade employee participates/comments in social media personally
but as an experienced person in a particular field. This must be done using a profile that is not
identified as an official Austrade account.
When commenting in a professional capacity an Austrader may or may not choose to identify as an
Austrade employee. If they do identify as an Austrade employee they must provide a disclaimer
making it clear that their views do not represent those of Austrade.This is an example of the kind of
statement Austraders should use when participating in social media for professional purposes.
"This site, post, or comment is for discussion purposes only and does not represent the official views
of Austrade. Any views expressed are those of the individual author only."
For example: Austrade staff using LinkedIn with the aim of expressing an opinion about a subject
that could be perceived as being within the scope of their expertise (for example, “the benefits of
free trade agreements”) is classified as “Professional Use”. In these instances, staff are not expressly
looking to connect with an investor, client or customer on behalf of Austrade. Rather, they may be
commenting in a business forum or a professional members group (such as a Chartered Accountant
Group). In these instances, staff should always use the disclaimer to state that their views are not
necessarily the views of Austrade.
Personal use is when an Austrade employee participates/comments in social media as an individual
and not in an official capacity as an Austrade staff member. This should be done using a profile that
is not identified as an official Austrade account. In addition, Austrade staff should not identify their
employer in their personal social media profile.
For example: Austrade staff should not list Austrade as their place of work within their personal
social media profiles such as Facebook or Twitter.
It is important to be aware that comments and conduct engaged in outside of work can nevertheless
have a connection with, or reflect on, Austrade, the Commonwealth or the employee’s role as an
APS employee. This may be the case even where the employee is not named or where privacy
settings are used on the social media site. Once posted, the comments may be forwarded and
Comments made in a personal capacity on social media sites must not give rise to concerns that the
employee cannot perform their duties in an impartial and professional manner.
Social Media Participation
Within Austrade there are two tiers of social media participation:
Social Media Publishers:
Social Media Publishers are Austrade staff who create, curate, schedule, and publish social media
content on Austrade social media channels for Official Use.
Social Media Publishers have successfully completed Social Media Modules 1 and 2 on Austrade
Institute and their participation has been approved by their relevant manager or Senior Trade
Commissioner and the Social Media Adviser. Off-shore, Social Media Publishers are typically the in-
market marketing specialist.
Social Media Monitors:
Social Media Monitors are Austrade staff who have access to Austrade social media accounts for
administrative purposes, such as monitoring discussions or scheduling approved content on behalf
of Social Media Publishers.
Social Media Monitors have successfully completed Social Media Modules 1 and 2 on Austrade
Institute and their participation has been approved by their relevant manager.
Becoming an Austrade Social Media Publisher and Monitor
To become an Austrade Social Media Publisher or Social Media Monitor it is necessary to complete
Social Media Modules 1 and 2 on Austrade Institute.
Upon completion of the relevant modules, staff are to complete the Social Media Participation Form
(with endorsement from the applicant’s Line manager) and return it to: email@example.com
Information Management Policy
Social media communications such as online discussion forums, blogs, Wikis, Twitter, etc. in relation
to official Austrade business activities are to be regarded in the same manner as any other form of
Austrade's business information and are subject to the same business and legislative requirements
set out in Austrade’s Information Management Policy.
Information Security Policy
Public web-based services:
• Include internet services that provide web email, social media, chat sites, instant
messaging, video conferencing and file sharing sites.
• Al ow employees to bypass approval and security measures Austrade has put in place
to protect against the unauthorised release of official agency information.
• Provide channels that can be exploited by phishing emails, computer viruses and other
malicious attacks on Austrade systems.
With the exception of Austrade's official internet and social media services, the use of public web
based services for business use is prohibited. Austrade staff must not use public web based accounts
to send or post business related information.
As defined in the Austrade Information Management Policy, information assets include paper
records, electronic documents, emails, database records, web-based information, social media
communication, audio visual recordings and images, scanned (imaged) documents, and other
content as it relates to Austrade’s business. Information generated in the course of Austrade’s
business is the property of the Australian Government.