Much more than marketing
Social media risk can be found in every corner of your organisation.
Many people think that social media risk can only be found when organisations use social media for marketing or after sales service. But that's not true.
Because most people use social media, they can talk about your brands and services on social media. And if they have a problem they are likely to tell friends (and strangers) about it. If you are not listening, you won't know there is a problem.
But in fact social media risks go way beyond managing the way consumers feel about your products and services, as you can see from the diagram below.
Compliance and legal issues
Are you confident that you are following industry and advertising regulations when you use social media? Are there dangers of inappropriate disclosure of financial information? These are some of the most common social media risks.
Human resourcesIf you are encouraging your employees to use social media you may be exposing them to bullying from colleagues, intemperate language from the general public, a loss of privacy, and even physical risk connected with public knowledge of their location.
And if you are trawling through their social media accounts before or after you employ them (with or without their permission) you may well be opening yourself up to constructive dismissal or discrimination suits.
Information and data protectionYour employees may well be sharing confidential information though social media. This may be OK if they are doing it with colleagues. It certainly isn't if they are sharing it outside your organisation!
Reputation and crisis managementEmployees posting inappropriate messages, inexperienced marketers, unhappy consumers creating a wave of negative publicity: all of these things are risks that can damage your organisation's reputation and ultimately its profitability.
Why are social media risks such a problem?
Simply because social media exists on the internet, which gives rise to a number of issues:
- Social media content is permanent, even if it feels temporary
- Many people think social media content is private and get a big shock when their posts go viral
- Many people think social media is 'unofficial' and doesn't count legally (it does!)
- It is easy to share on social media so content can spread rapidly and across continents
- It is easy to be anonymous when you use social media
- People often talk about their employer on their private social media accounts as well as on formal corporate accounts
What can you do?
It's not too hard to manage your social media risk profile.
First of all you need to audit your social media profile and create a risk register that defines the risks, evaluates how important they are (likelihood and impact), and identifies appropriate mitigating actions.
Next you need to listen to the 'social buzz'. Listen to as much social media content as possible and ensure that anything that needs response gets forwarded to an appropriate person (they won't always be in the marketing department).
Then you need to educate your staff, especially your senior staff and Board members. You need to develop a social media policy that explains to employees how they should use social media (and how they shouldn't). You need to make sure people understand it. And you will need to monitor how people follow your policy.
And you need to prepare for risk events. A social media crisis won't happen very often. But if one does occur then you will need to have pre-prepared positions as well as a crisis management team who have practised what to do if a crisis hits.
And finally you need to audit your social media conversations. Make sure you record all your social media activity (included any deleted posts) so that you can refer back if necessary.
Get in touch
None of this is difficult. But it can seem a little daunting if you don't have some systems and processes prepared and you are not sure which social media management tools would be best to use. We can help with that. So why not get in touch? We would love to talk: call us on 07855 341 589 or email us on hello@SocialMediaRisk.co.uk.