Social media is all encouraging – but you should be aware of the risks too

At ATI, we frequently co-host events and panel discussions with Law Firms and other Technology Companies, addressing crucial legal aspects for businesses, including Managing Risks for Social Media. In this context, we delve deeper into the ramifications for organizations and individuals that do not have effective Social Media policies in place.

Social Media Risk

The exponential growth of Social Media has offered a bevy of channels to start or join a conversation among consumers and companies around the globe.  For organizations, at the same time, technology-enabled Social Media platforms offer new opportunities to engage clients and partners, build brand awareness and involve the public in interesting ways that can help extend reach and appeal.

The benefits of Social Media to a business are far-reaching in their scope. Harvard Business Review in one of its slideshows reflects the following benefits of using Social Media by organizations:

Harvard Social Media

Source: Harvard Business Review

No doubt, the social media revolution has changed the way that successful businesses interact with customers and reach out to new markets.

But, some of the most critical questions before strategizing Social Media are:

  • Are you prepared to manage Social Media risks too? Do you have strategies and policies to address the risks and opportunities posed by Social Media been developed and communicated properly?
  • Have you developed appropriate controls in place to manage emerging risks created by Social Media?
  • Are you geared up to monitor, evaluate and take advantage of the constantly evolving Social Media landscape?

Ill-informed or irresponsible Social Media usage can have severe ramifications for individuals and organizations,  and also pose significant risks. The increasing use of Social Media has brought with it new risks for organizations, in terms of privacy, confidentiality, and employee loyalty. A marketing mistake or tweet from a disgruntled ex-employee can become a global hashtag phenomenon within minutes. A notable example is McDonald’s #mcdstories.

With regard to the corporate use of Social Media, an organization should have a Social Media policy in place to minimize reputation risk and vulnerability to legal issues.

Organizations should educate and also monitor employees about the use of Social Media both inside and outside of the workplace and should ensure that Social Media policies are effectively communicated.

5 steps an organization should take to manage the risks of using Social Media:

  1. Develop a Social Media strategy consistent with organizational goals and objectives.
  2.  The organization should have a Social Media policy in place to minimize reputational risk and vulnerability to legal issues.
  3. Clearly establish roles and responsibilities with respect to Social Media.
  4. Put into practice a process to monitor and respond proactively to conversations going around on Social Media platforms about your organization.
  5. Organizations must take into consideration local laws while doing online campaigns.

So in today’s interconnected world, a well-thought-out Social Media policy can be a strategic tool in mitigating risk for organizations. Organizations need refined and flexible risk management policies in place to avoid indiscriminate use of Social Media.