Social media provides large organisations the opportunity to communicate directly and instantly with a vast audience, including customers, shareholders, the public, press and suppliers. This ability to engage in real-time conversations with a global audience opens a range of new opportunities to embrace.
But what happens if something goes wrong?
What if an offensive message is posted inadvertently and is then quickly shared and propagated online, causing a PR backlash? Worse still, what if malicious individuals or entities gain control of the organisation’s social media accounts, causing untold reputational damage? As HMV, United Airlines and an increasing number of other organisations have discovered, these incidents can have a very tangible impact on both the perception and value of their brands, as well as a real impact on the organisation’s bottom line.
Organisations need to spend time looking at social media security, and put in place relevant processes and technology so that they can protect themselves and their employees from the potential risks of social media.
The Institute of Risk Management provides this definition of risk management:
“Risk management involves understanding, analysing and addressing risk to make sure organisations achieve their objectives [...] It must be proportionate to the complexity and type of organisation involved. Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) is an integrated and joined up approach to managing risk across an organisation and its extended networks.”
In order to protect your organisation from potential disaster on social media it’s important to gain a thorough understanding of the social media security and risks involved within an enterprise environment.
The dynamic nature of social media, its technology, and how it is used means that new risks emerge on a regular basis. The list below outlines some of the most common social media risks organisations are facing:
- Loss of account credentials, leading to an inability to post or respond to questions and queries on the organisation’s social media accounts. The most famous example of this occurring is when music megastore HMW went into administration and a member of the marketing team took control of the official Twitter account and began live tweeting about the ‘firing squad’.
- Password theft or hacking, allowing unauthorised third parties or former employees to access the organisation’s social media accounts.
- Malicious posting by employees or ex-employees, for example, criticising the organisation, its management, or sharing confidential information. An example of this is when one Lacoste salesman lost his job after posting his paycheck to Instagram. He claimed he was expressing his frustration at the cost of living in New York but the clothing giant fired him because the photo infringed on their confidentiality agreement.
- Hostile or ‘troll’ accounts that are created to share negative information about the brand.
- Inappropriate content, posted by an employee or a customer that causes offence to other social media users. In 2011, car company Chrysler fired their social media team after a tweet was sent out through the official accounts saying that no one in Detroit “Knows How To F*cking Drive”.
- Social media compliance or legal issues, such as a data protection breach or breaking social media advertising law.
- Human error, leading to embarrassing, incorrect or potentially harmful content being posted to the organisation’s fans and followers.
This post is an excerpt from The Complete Guide to Enterprise Social Media. Download a free copy to read more about the risks of social media in a large and complex organisation, and how you can help protect your organisation against them.