"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about."
- Angela Schwindt
Social media is an essential part of any business’ marketing and advertising strategy. Not only does social media allow businesses to personalize their message to target audiences, but it also allows timely information about your brand to communicate effectively to masses via accessible portals such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Despite the benefits of this type of advertising in enhancing and developing your brand, social media if mismanaged could open your business to several risks.
Here are the risks for your business to consider when using social media in marketing, and some simple solutions to overcome them :
1) DAMAGE TO REPUTATION
Companies need to maintain a certain quality when it comes to the content they post across their social media. Particularly in today’s technology-driven world, the image and reputation of a brand is largely built and conveyed through online activity. Just one inappropriate post can be severely damaging. So, be respectful of your audience and think things through before clicking on the post button. Remember while it only takes one moment to post sensationalist content on your social media, the consequences of negative publicity could be long-lasting.
The solution to this is fairly simple :
– Host social media training for your employees to teach them where to draw the line with content, and what constitutes appropriate content.
– Map out an approval process involving a senior member in the company for any social media posts. Don’t give an inexperienced employee full control of the media channels.
– Highlight the do’s and don’ts of your company. Cultivate trust among your employees and make sure everyone working in the company understands the business’ mission.
2) INCONSISTENT USAGE
Businesses often rush into whatever is the trendiest way to gain more customers. But rushing into social media with strategy or target can reflect poorly on your brand. Having an outdated social page is not a good way to represent your brand. Social media representing a business needs to be clear, engaging and encourage a two-way dialogue that allows brands and customers the opportunity to interact and feedback. However, jumping into social media with no plan of action makes it harder to stay ahead of competition.
There are some simple solutions to overcome this risk and keep your brand image consistent :
– Have a social media plan. Suss out which platforms are worth using and which ones add no value to your brand. Once you’ve figured this out, make sure the profiles are complete, that you routinely update the pages with quality content.
– Monitor your platforms for customer feedback and address any issues that crop up before it becomes too widespread to handle.
As with everything that’s online, your business’ social media networks are also under the risk of being hacked. The smallest mistake in your social media use can lead to mistrust and scrutiny. Moreover, there is also the risk of having confidential information leaked via hacking, spy-ware and bugs which can compromise the integrity of your product/service. Both small and major brands are equally likely to be faced with the threat of hackers.
While these kinds of security breaches are risky, they can easily be rectified by companies :
– By regularly updating passwords and creating a central management system with built-in firewalls, companies can safeguard against invasion of privacy.
– Social media risk assessments are useful to help identify flaws in a company’s online security system and keep out hackers.
– Work with the IT department or hire an expert to make sure proper privacy and security measures are in place.
Where some companies leave their social media pages without updates for a long time, some others overwhelm followers with too many posts. Not only does this quantity over quality approach comes across as amateur, it also leads to inefficient usage of human resources with the risk of employees getting addicted to making posts on social media rather than focus on other aspects of the business operations. Posting often doesn’t mean that you’re posting well.
The best way to overcome this risk is simply by research what your customers want to see on your feed/timeline:
– Post content that educates, entertains or entices customers, not content that’s simply attention-grabbing with no substance.
– Monitor how much time an employee who isn’t tasked with managing the company’s social media spends time on it. If it appears that they are spending an unnecessary amount of time on social networks, have HR discuss this with them.
Social media much like every other aspect of business comes with its own set of risks, however being aware of the risks and taking steps to ensure safety and control over the content on your social media networks, it becomes both easy and beneficial to integrate social media with your business’ other marketing tactics.