Social media offers any business tremendous upside but at the same time, if it is not managed properly, it opens a company up to enormous risk. One inappropriate tweet or Facebook post can cause irreparable damage, but should this stop companies from integrating social media into their business?
Steve Nicholls, author of “Social Media in Business,” believes that any form of progress comes with risk and the key is to identify them and overcome them. In today’s digital culture, the greatest risk of all is not to embrace social media because your competitors will be.
Nicholls, who has helped business managers add millions of dollars to their bottom line through social media, offers the following top five risks and solutions to overcome them.
Top 5 Risks When Using Social Media in Business
1. Reputation management: Social media may cause a risk to a company’s reputation by creating negative publicity. Legal issues may perhaps arise if a company gives an inappropriate comment about another company on a social media platform for instance.
Solution: Create an approval process involving a senior leader for any social media communication. Do not give a junior person full control as their inexperience could cause irreparable damage.
2. Security Issues: There is always a risk of hacking, spy-ware and bugs amongst others. This means that there is a risk of having confidential company information leaked outside the company.
Solution: Work with your IT department or hire a professional to ensure proper privacy and security settings are in place. This is critical to protect confidential information, to avoid having your account hacked, or falling victim to cyber theft. Higher profile companies will need more sophisticated security systems.
3. Engaging in two-way dialogue and potential criticism: While social media allows a company to interact directly with customers in real time, it also gives those same customers a public platform to voice dissatisfaction.
Solution: Carefully monitor the social media platforms you operate on so you can quickly identify negative feedback and address it before it gains support.
4. Trust as part of the culture: In order for employees to use social media in a successful way for the company, trust is a prerequisite. Not having that trust as part of the organizational culture can present a risk when it comes to social media.
Solution: Create an extensive training program for the entire organization highlighting the do’s and don’ts. While everybody in the company needs to understand the mission, only allow a trusted few to actually pull the trigger.
5. Wasting company time: Social media can be addictive and there is a risk that employees will spend too much time on it, compromising their work and thus the organization’s business operations.
Solution: Many companies monitor what website employees visit and how much time they spend on them. If an employee seems to be spending an unnecessary amount of time on social media sites, have human resources discuss it with them.
Steve Nicholls is the author of the best-selling book “Social Media in Business” and has implemented advanced Internet applications for leading organizations including British Telecom, Ciena Corp., Detathree, Inmarsat, John Laing and NSPCC, a UK Children’s charity organization, to name just a few. Steve grows client revenue dollars by millions with his effective social media training.