Social Media Marketing: Protect Yourself from the Dark Side

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In the wide open world of social media marketing, it’s easy for companies to forget that using the format can result in negative consequences.

Businesses that fail to develop and stick to a social media marketing policy put themselves at risk for trouble. These troubles range from brand damage to fines levied for accidental release of confidential information.

Altimeter’s new report on social media and businesses highlights the many ways that this marketing channel can bring trouble. The top 4 risk areas are:

  • Brand Damage
  • Release of Confidential Information
  • Legal, regulatory and compliance violations
  • Identity Theft or Hijacking

The top social networks, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, pose the most risk of generating problems. The risk comes from the extensive reach and popularity of these networks as companies communicate with fans in these spaces. In addition, Facebook frequently changes its privacy policies and leaves businesses scrambling after the fact to adjust their settings as necessary.

In other cases, companies must watch for external bloggers with large followings. These individuals can post negative comments and reach a significant number of consumers long before the business discovers the spreading brand damage.

To avoid these situations companies should develop an internal social media policy. So far, here’s where businesses stand on this front:

  • Privacy policy 58.8 percent
  • Employee policy on personal use of social media 55.9 percent
  • Disclosure, confidentiality and ethics policies 52.9 percent
  • Corporate policy on official corporate uses of social media 50 percent

Once a policy is in place, employees can be trained to follow it. Businesses must also become proactive by using 3rd party tools to listen for trouble in the online universe. Currently, only 56.4 percent of firms are actively assessing their social media risk.

By Kathy Crosett

[Source: 2012 Altimeter Social Media Risk Management Survey. Altimeter.com. 9 Aug. 2012. Web. 21 Aug. 2012]

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Topics: Public Relations, Social Media

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