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Which Social Media Sites Scare You?

What social media sites scare you?  Which ones represent risks to your organization?

In the spring, Deloitte and Forbes Insights asked US executives about the biggest risks to their organizations in the next 3 years, and Social Media was one of the top 5 sources of risk.  Over a quarter of the executives from businesses engaged in consumer and industrial products, life sciences, health care, technology, media and telecommunications said that social media was a risk.

So, we know that organizations are scarred of social media, but which sites are the scariest?

In its August 2012 study “Guarding the Gates: The Imperative for Social Media Risk Management,” Altimeter Group found that companies considered the top three social networks the riskiest – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Why These Sites Are Risky

This probably isn’t surprising since more companies are on those sites, so it isn’t surprising that there is increased risk in the more popular sites.

As we look more at WHY these sites are risky the picture becomes more clear.  On Facebook a negative comment about a brand can be seen not only by the friends of the poster, but anyone who visits the page.  Businesses have much less control on Facebook, and deleting posts that are negative can blow up and create an even bigger problem.  The fact that any post can be seen by all of the brand fans, and the posts can’t be moderated in advance is inherently risky for businesses that are used to controlling their messages.

Twitter is risky because messages spread SO QUICKLY.  A negative experience about a business on Twitter can spread like wildfire.  Also, all of the mentions about brands are public, which means that everyone is exposed to tweets, even if a business isn’t active on Twitter yet.

While businesses see this as risky, what is interesting is that these risks, the risk that people will say bad things about your business, has always been there.  It is now just amplified and public.

How to Overcome the Risks

There are a number of things that businesses can do to overcome these risks:

  • Monitor social channels so that you know what people are saying and are aware of any issues
  • Have a plan on how to address critical issues
  • Respond early before an issue gets our of hand
  • Create a Social Media Training Program for your organization so that employees don’t become part of the risk factors
  • Educate executives with an executive social media training program so they are fully aware of both the benefits and risks
  • Create risk management plans so that your organization is prepared

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