Social media platforms have forever changed the way in which people communicate. They allow them to engage with other users across the globe and give them opportunities to promote their own businesses online. However, every great tool has risks, and social media is no different.
In a time when so many businesses manage social media accounts, it’s essential to know the risks of using social media platforms to promote your brand. Hacking is a particularly pertinent threat that can tarnish your brand’s reputation and alienate its target audience. However, there are many other risks to consider too.
Preparing your business with a cohesive social media risk management strategy is the key to protecting your brand from potential harm. Using tools like Clearview Social can help you to create social strategies that prioritize employee advocacy without putting your brand at risk.
Foundations of Social Media Risk Management
Solid social media risk mitigation strategies have a strong foundation of keen understanding, proactive planning, and flexible approaches. Here are the four essential foundations of social risk management:
1. Having a deep understanding of the risks involved
Businesses that unwittingly leak sensitive data may have to face an onslaught of privacy breaches, hacks, and damage to their reputations.
These threats may arise from outside your business or within it—malicious team members may also pose their own risks. The more you understand your business’ threats and vulnerabilities, the better equipped you’ll be to mitigate them.
2. Building a strong social media management team
Social media use poses risks not only to your IT and social teams but to everyone in your organization. Managing these risks takes constant communication between departments, regular internal audits, excellent compliance, and a robust managerial approach.
3. Creating proactive plans
Once you understand the risks of using social media, you can create a detailed plan of your risk management strategies. Allocate skilled people from your organization to take responsibility for your social media sites and profiles and draft plans of how you will deal with possible attacks and unexpected data breaches.
Determining who will communicate with your customers and target audience during threats is vital to preserve your brand’s reputation.
4. Listening to feedback from your target audience
Keep your risk mitigation approach open to all types of feedback from your audience and your loyal customers. All feedback—positive and negative—provides you with valuable information about your customer’s experience with your brand.
Negative feedback allows you to reshape your social media risk management plan in line with your customer’s expectations and preferences. This is great for boosting your reputation, even during a crisis.
Key Social Media Risks to Be Aware Of
According to NC State’s Poole College of Management, you can classify social media risks into three major groups:
- Legal And Employment Risks
- Reputational Risks
- Information Security Risks
These risks can arise from three primary sources: the public, your employees, or other organizations. Additionally, most legal and information security risks carry reputational threats. These can include a loss of trust from your audience and gaining a poor reputation in your industry through lawsuits or unsatisfied customers.
Legal and Employment Risks
There are many legal and employment risks associated with social media use for brands and businesses. They include risks that stem from the following:
1. Candidate vetting and screening
Using social media to vet potential candidates for open roles could leave employers exposed to data that can be used in litigation cases. Social media platforms often store information on candidates’ age, gender, race, and religion, which could fuel discrimination lawsuits.
2. Employees connecting on social platforms
Employees who connect with each other on social channels may feel offended by some of the personal information they find on their coworkers’ profiles. This could lead to tension in the workplace that’s challenging to resolve.
3. Employee terminations
Some employers make termination decisions based on information they find on social media platforms. If this information is protected by privacy rights or is false or misleading, this could leave brands open to litigation risks.
4. Loss of team productivity
Certain businesses make the choice to block employee access to social media sites in a bid to improve productivity. However, some employees need to use social media for work purposes, and others may still be able to access platforms on mobile devices, which can lower their productivity.
Information Security Risks
Thousands of global businesses with social media profiles experience hacking attempts every day. The key information security risks to be aware of include those related to the following:
1. Employee oversharing on social channels
Many social media users post information about their work and images of their workplaces, and others are engaged in unstructured employee advocacy programs. This could leave your business open to potential losses of confidential data.
2. Social engineering hacks
Many organizational applications use identity validation questions to authenticate their users. These questions request personal information that users may also have stored on their personal social media profiles. If an employee’s social media account is attacked, it could provide hackers with enough data to infiltrate your business’ security systems.
Hackers use advanced malware and digital viruses to exploit weaknesses in social media sites and attack social media users and businesses.
Strategies to Mitigate Social Media Risks
Building a social media risk management plan takes a multidisciplinary approach that tackles all of the risks associated with social media use.
The first step is to build a strong team across your business’ departments who are capable of working together to mitigate risks as soon as they appear.
Next, you will need to create a documented manifesto of your brand’s intended use for each social media platform. This document should be shared across all of your key departments, allowing each department to express its own intended uses. Assess these intended uses and adjust any that do not align with your business’s goals and vision.
It’s essential to perform a thorough risk assessment to gauge the likelihood and potential impact of each risk your company faces. Once you’ve analyzed the risks, you can create detailed plans and controls to mitigate each risk individually. Expand your current policies to implement these controls, manage employees’ social media use, and optimize your vendor and supplier management policies.
Your employees should also receive in-depth training and refreshers on your company’s social media use policies. Highlight acceptable uses of the business and personal social media platforms, and specify unacceptable and undesirable use cases to ensure they clearly understand your policies.
Lastly, you should monitor your social media platforms at all times to ensure that your social media risk management strategy is being implemented and adhered to. You can automate this aspect of your plan by using Clearview Social’s Social Media Automation tool to track and report on social media problems and potential red flags.
Manage Your Risks with Clearview Social
Are you looking for a platform that allows you to boost your social media reach and ROI while mitigating the risks associated with social media use?
Clearview Social’s Employee Advocacy Software makes it easy for your employees to participate in promoting company content on social media while ensuring they adhere to your risk management policies.
Clearview Social allows your employees to share thought leadership from your business. This vastly increases your brand’s visibility while including team members in your social strategies in structured and beneficial ways. Plus, our Social Media Analytics tool can help you to track your social media channels, assess employee adoption rates, and mitigate risks before they become threats.
Contact us today to discover how Clearview Social can protect your social media profiles, employees, your brand’s reputation, and more.