It is no surprise that 84% of businesses have now adopted social media to implement an online presence to communicate with customers and overall, increase their brand reach . Whether a small independent business or a large B2B company, it is more evident than ever that businesses who do not build and maintain an online social media presence will get left behind, and evidently lack competitiveness. Having a social media presence offers clear advantages for marketing and sales departments, however, with this comes the disadvantage of having increased social media risks that could potentially harm the company’s brand. Therefore, it is extremely important that businesses adopt a Social Media Risk Plan to manage their reputation online and know how to mitigate potential threats.
Topics: Brand Protection, risk management, defamatory, brand abuse, online brand protection, Reputation Management, Social Media Monitoring, employees social media, online identity, social media, Internet Threats, Risk, internet security, cyber threats
Time and time again, we come across a social media crisis that could have been prevented. Although you can’t control what’s being said outside your organization, you very well can control what’s being said inside. The internal threat is all too real. Whether it’s leaking unapproved information, or a disgruntled employee complaining about their organization (see HMV crisis circa January 2013), organizations need to establish some form of social media guidance. Employees are people; and people make mistakes. It’s important to try to circumvent any possible issues that may cause customers some anguish.
The grifter, conman and the thief makes a great story and an even better film. But in today’s reality, what once was the debonair Paul Newman in the Sting, has become a social engineer.
In June of this year Facebook launched the functionality for users to add photos to comments on their personal pages. A month later they went a step further by expanding this ability to include comments on Brand Pages as well. While there doesn’t appear to be, at present, any way to turn off this new ability if users aren’t interested in it, or moderate the posted photos for that matter, (verification needed) this addition appears to have garnered much more positive fanfare than negative in amongst the general Facebook community.
Spoofs, make-up tutorials, hilarious practical jokes, embarrassing blunders, cathartic double rainbows, I could go on and on. As a society of voyeurs we are all suckers for these things and YouTube has allowed us to enjoy them from the comfort of our home or desk at the office. To say that YouTube is loved by many is a slight understatement. According to YouTube’s statistics page, the site welcomes 800 million unique user visits on a monthly basis with 4 billion hours of video watched every month. Even with the love and admiration many have for YouTube it has been a sore spot at times for IP owners, particularly in the area of copyright.
Corporations can learn a lot by simply listening to social media. They can get customer and employee feedback and use it to make internal and external decisions. However, with the good comes the bad and in this case the bad can very ugly. Competitors can post false information about you, disgruntled employees or ex-employee can post negative comments about the way the corporation conducts itself or an angry customer can go on a rant and say very damaging things about your organization and intern damage your reputation.
Most corporations first instinct would be to get rid of the content ASAP, however it is not that simple in most cases. A negative comment while hurtful and damaging will not be removed by most social media sites because they protect the posters right to free speech. In this case you would need to do damage control and having a social media plan is imperative to deal with situations like this.
However, if the organization can prove that the information is false, defamatory, confidential, fraudulent or even abuses a brand trademark then they have two legs to stand as that behavior usually violates the Terms of Service of the social media sites and the information would be removed. BrandProtect has assisted many Fortune 500 companies by getting this kind of content removed on their behalf.
Where it gets a little tricky is when an employee is posting on behalf of an organization and their comment can severely damage the reputation of the company. It is imperative that organizations of all sizes have social media guidelines for all employees to follow when they are representing the company. There have been many cases where people have lost their jobs for doing such things and not following the rules laid out by the company. In other cases employees have lost their jobs for posting on personal pages information that could affect the company or reflect on their performance at work. These people are free to post what they want under the freedom of speech act, however that does not mean their bosses have to accept that kind of conduct.
I believe the anonymity and immediacy of social media provides people with an outlet to say whatever they want but this can be very dangerous. My advice would be before you press “enter” consider what you are saying, who it will hurt, including yourself and if you would say it if you were face to face.