Managing risk is one of the most important ongoing needs for businesses. Plenty of companies have teams or entire departments dedicated to managing various forms of compliance, regulatory requirements, and legal matters. The common thread among these three major risk-management needs is their long-term existence. While laws and regulations are updated and changed, the majority of such rules are longstanding, generally understood and used as a basis for compliance efforts.
This approach to risk management, seen across many different companies and markets, hasn’t been adopted in a widespread fashion when it comes to social media. While social networking as part of business operations is a relatively new concept, it has been used in various forms over the past decade. Many companies, from mom-and-pop shops in local communities to the largest multinational operations, have embraced social media. However, plenty of companies still have serious issues – concerns that certainly aren’t unfounded – about the risks of using social media as a business tool.
The biggest concerns
A report on social media risk developed by law firm Dixon Hughes Goodman, LLP, defined the major issues for businesses hesitant to adopt and embrace social media. The four large reasons for hesitation or disapproval of official social media use are:
- Reputational risk and the potential to sully a company’s name. Consulting firm Deloitte pointed out that reputation management has to be one of the largest concerns for businesses.
- Regulatory and legal concerns, such as the potential for divulging information before regulations or laws allow.
- The loss of intellectual property, like inadvertently sharing internal communications or trade secrets.
- Fear of a new, unknown and potentially complicated system, especially one that involves less than complete control of the conversations started and opinions shared.
These are all legitimate issues with the use of social media in professional spaces, and if left unchecked, they can lead to negative consequences. However, there are approaches, systems, and solutions – like social media monitoring – that minimize these risks and allow businesses to effectively and securely use social media.
“Organizations using the right solutions can develop their social strategies in a secure environment.”
Effective social media risk management
While new technologies and systems all involve a learning curve, organizations using the right tools can develop their social strategies in a secure environment. With social compliance and monitoring in place, business leaders, social media teams, and other stakeholders don’t have to constantly deal with concerns of inadvertently sharing intellectual property, divulging insider information at an inopportune time or breaking relevant laws and regulations.
Social media monitoring platforms that allow for granular indexing as well as the setting of automated keyword searches and post limiting go a long way toward eliminating these risks. With such a system in place, three of the four major issues that reluctant businesses have with social media are almost totally removed. When business leaders have confidence that no restricted words or terms related to proprietary information, regulatory limitations or reputational risk may be posted without express consent, they can be more confident in moving forward. While social media monitoring doesn’t directly address the fear of the unknown that some companies experience, it mitigates the issues that lead to that fear in the first place.