Risk & Social Media for Business – Defending Against the Top 3 Exposures
When discussing social media for business with clients, three questions inevitably arise regarding business risk. I’m certainly not the first to post about them, but it’s info that bears repeating, especially for the uninitiated. You know what they say, “the best defense, is a good offense” or something like that. 🙂 Without further ado, here are my answers…
1.) How will we maintain control over our brand in the social sphere?
The most cited answer to this is: You don’t own your brand in the social spheres – you own the ability to share your brand in the social spheres. You won’t have control over what people say about your brand, but you can control how you respond to what is said about your brand. Control can also come in the form of a continuous commitment to publishing your own new content. Quality content that is industry-specific, keyword-rich, relevant and recent can help you rank better in search results, so in that way you can leverage some control over what comes up in organic search results. Another question a business might consider is, how can we lose control over our brand in the social sphere? The answer to that is to jump in without a strategy, without a community manager and with a hyper acute need to “control” your community. If you deliver value, your community will reward you – for, online, it is they who are in control. But that certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t participate. And, as already mentioned, make sure you have a social media policy firmly in place before you publish. For legal considerations, read what Cobalt Law has to say.
2.) If we allow broad employee access to social sites, how will we manage threats to productivity?
Before you can address this concern, another issue should be addressed post haste, if it has not been already: Does your company have a social media policy in place? Even if you have blocked Internet access and your brand is not engaged in social media, it is likely your employees are on the socialwebs in their off time. It’s been said, there’s no such thing as free speech in the workplace. If they work for you, you need to provide clear policies about social media conduct (I’m sure legal would agree – for more on legal considerations, read this blog post about legal issues and social media from Houchin & Associates). Here is a Social Media Policies Superlist that can provide insight into how other companies manage their social media policies. Productivity concerns should be addressed in your social media policy (and the training that should follow it) in the same way you address/manage employee conduct/usage of phone and email. You need to legally protect your company, its proprietary information and logo usage. Abuses should be managed/addressed should they occur. This post from Guy Clapperton provides additional considerations about social media and productivity concerns.
3.) How will we manage negative comments?
The same way you manage them offline – professionally and politely. It really is that simple. Read more about handling negative comments in posts by Matt Collier and Amber Naslund, or google it. This is where your customer service skills should (and will surely) kick in. Fear not.
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