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Opinions of Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Columnist: Gad Ocran

Managing social media risk: 7 things that could destroy your business - Part 1

The benefits of using social media for business has proven results that cannot be undermined. Over the years, both small-scale and large companies have boosted company sales by going digital.

It has not all been rosy though. There are several threats businesses face on social media that cannot be overlooked.

Understanding the various threats you could face on your social media platforms would help you develop a good response strategy to mitigate these threats and better exploit the opportunities social media has to assist your business.

In the part 1 of the series on managing social media risks, we will look at seven (7) threats that could destroy your business.

Social risks (threats) your business may be facing

1. Poor Social Media Strategy: A good social media strategy is the backbone of any company that has succeeded in using social media to achieve business goals. Most businesses tend to overlook the primary factor of matching their social media strategy with the overall organizational or marketing goals.

Rather they tend to focus on tracking activity based metrics (likes, shares, retweets) instead of tracking value based metrics (sales, leads, customer engagement, satisfaction rate) etc. The social media strategy you create should include -but is not limited to- content strategy, social SWOT analysis, social audit, brand listening and monitoring.

2. Account Hacks: The dread of every business is to have an external and unauthorized individual or group take their brand profiles hostage on social media. Hackers can assume ownership of your company’s social media account after becoming privy to your social account details. They are motivated by diverse reasons to seize the social accounts of social influencers, celebrities, businesses etc.

Once they gain control, they would normally post content that put your brand or company in a negative light and reduce your credibility. By not taking the necessary password protection steps such as changing your password frequently or using a combination of various characters in your password, you make it easier for people to break into your account.

3. Malware: Malware is a software designed to gain access to computer devices and data without the knowledge of the owner. Malware can lead to permanent loss of some important or sensitive information about your brand. It comes in many forms; stealing sensitive information known as spyware, spreading email spam or exchanging money for lost information. A good example is the recent ransomware attack that hit the world. Grayware, which is usually in the form of “clickbait” is a form of malware popular on Facebook.

Users are lured to click on an enticing article or story where they are redirected to a website that requests filling out a quick survey or inputting pertinent information before accessing it. The information collected is then sold to cyber-criminals who leverage on the information to hack your social media account. Browser extensions adware is another form of malware which can be used by cyber-criminals to steal data and other sensitive information. This adware track every website you visit and add adware into those websites. When clicked, these lead you to sites that steal your information.

4. Fake Account /Brand Misrepresentation: Fake account or brand misrepresentation occurs when a social media account (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.) is created with your brand or company name without the permission or knowledge of your company or brand owners. Such ‘parody’ accounts, when not identified and removed, can cause serious brand damage.

The content posted on these platforms may be discriminatory and biased towards a section of your target customers. Falsifies content posted to these accounts easily cause your brand to lose its voice and values since content posted on these platforms won’t be consistent and therefore will not reflect your brand’s voice and values.

5. Bad Customer Service Problems: The open nature of social platforms has made customer service reviews on social media a high threat to be looked at by companies who want to succeed with social media. Sentiments, feedbacks and concerns, both positive and negative expressed by your customers can be seen publicly. As such a deeper understanding of social sentimental analysis, brand listening and monitoring will help companies be in a better position to address customer service problems.

6. Non-Compliance: Non-compliance occurs when a brand or company doesn’t comply with advertising rules laid out by a regulatory body such Advertising Association of Ghana, Federal Trade Association of America (FTA) eg. The law by FTA that instructs social media influencers to declare if a content posted on behalf of a brand or company is paid for or not.

Another form of non-compliance also occurs when a company staff or an employee fails to abide by policies or rules set out by internal social media excellence team to guide the use of social media in the company. Non-compliance to social media policies by employees can lead to decreased productivity in one breath as employees may be tempted to spend their work time browsing on social media, and may also lead to employees posting content or making claims on social media that can subject the company to public ridicule.

An example is the recent story in Ghana about an infamous Facebook live video which resulted in the dismissal of two(2) nurses in Ghana’s Royal MMR Hospital after they chose to while away work hours on the platform at the expense of patients who were waiting to seek healthcare. Valuable company time and resource is lost when there is non-compliance.

7. Human Negligence: Negligence by staff or an employee responsible for managing a business’ social media can have serious brand damages. When an employee responsible for updating company social media pages publishes the wrong post on social media, releases the company’s sensitive information, promotes hate speech or content that seem to pitch one group against the other, be it religious or ethnic, it dents the image of the brand or company.

Human negligence occurs when a company consistently fails to respond or pay attention to an aggrieved customer on social media. Such situations cause social media users to draw unfavorable conclusions about your business which go a long way to affect you negatively.

The seven (7) threats explained in this article are not the only risks your business might ever face on Social Media. They are carefully researched topics on the most common problems. A detailed solution on how to mitigate these risks can be found in the part two(2) of the series Managing Social Media Risks.

About the writer

An emerging social transformation and digital business leader who leverages on social and digital media to improve organizational performance from HR, Customer Service, Sales, Marketing/PR/Advertising, Innovation, Research and New product development.

Email: gadocran@gmail.com LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gadocran/


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