Social media has become a boon to many businesses, and for others, it's a harmless distraction. Think again, says James Leavesley of CrowdControlHQ. In his article on Continuity Central titled "Why Social Media Media is Moving Up the Risk Register and Why Risk Managers Should Be Worried", Leavesley details how social media can open up a whole new realm of risk to businesses, and how they can manage these threats.
"An organization’s reputation can quickly be damaged through the instant spread of bad news or a negative incident via social media. Gone are the days when public affairs departments had time to consider statements to be released to the press, traditional media and customers in the event of a crisis happening," writes Leavesley. He continues, "In fact a crisis can even begin on social media. It only takes one disgruntled customer to take to Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and the results can be costly. Even worse, damage can be done by a disgruntled employee with access to corporate social media accounts and a determination to discredit the company."
What's a company to do? Leavesley says the first step is to identify the potential risks, such as the loss of control or ownership of the organization’s social media accounts, or failing to respond to negative posts. Once these potential threats have been determined, Leavesley says business managers should then record and manage all social media activity. This can be done by having a single dashboard that allows controlled access to all social media profiles, and individual log-ins that are only known by administrators in order to maintain security.
Finally, if a social media snafu does occur, Leavesley says mitigation is key. He says that social media channels should be kept open and audiences kept informed. "Openness and clarity are essential," writes Leavesley.
Many businesses are learning how to harness social media to help them grow — but it's the ones who also prepare for social media's unseen surprises that will truly profit overall. Social media continually offers new avenues of opportunity — and risks — for businesses. Risk managers need to keep these avenues in their sights.