Are you a little nervous about starting up social in your organization? Do you worry that you might be exposing your firm to new and unknown risks, and that by giving up control you’ll be vulnerable to posts, discussions and unauthorized information releases that could potentially damage your firm?
If so, you certainly are not alone. And while we are certainly proponents of integrating social into the enterprise,it’s also true that there are real and legitimate concerns facing firms that are considering doing it — or have come to realize that social is already underway in their enterprise.
The good news? While such concerns are valid, there are relatively easy ways to identify, manage, mitigate and even prevent risks. These strategies are laid out clearly in a new study released on August 9 by the Altimeter Group, titled “Guarding the Social Gates: The Imperative for Social Media Risk Management,” written by Alan Webber with Charlene Li and Jaimy Szymanski.
According to Altimeter, social media risk can be defined as:
The likelihood that a negative social media event will happen X (multiplied by) the impact that negative event will have if it does happen
Some of the key findings in the study that we found to be most compelling:
- Two thirds of companies surveyed say that social media is a significant or critical risk to their brand reputation; however, previous research by Altimeter found that 60% never train their employees about their corporate social media policies, or do so only upon initial hiring.
- The biggest concerns revolve around brand reputation; release of confidential information; legal, regulatory and compliance violations; and identity theft/brand hijacking.
- The major sources of risk that companies say they are most concerned about are the “big three”: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
One of the features of the report we appreciated was that it not only identified these concerns, but then went on to provide very detailed instructions on how to avoid having these risks turn into full-fledged crises. While the report provides very specific step by step advice and process charts on how to do this, the overall approach is as follows:
1. Identify the risks
2. Assess the risks
3. Manage and mitigate the risks