Social media boasts as many content distribution risks as it does opportunities. In order to maximize the potential for promotion and distribution, it’s imperative to have measures in place to minimize risks. Here are a few practical ways to do this in a corporate setting:
Develop a social media policy guide and implement it
What guidelines should corporate social media managers follow to ensure that the company’s brand is being protected, from both a trademark and a public relations perspective? The same discretion should be applied to company employees and their personal social media accounts. It should provide a framework for answering common questions such as:
- What are employees not allowed to post about the company?
- Are employees prohibited from speaking on behalf of the company through the use of their personal social media accounts?
- What are the consequences for an employee’s failure to adhere to the social media policy?
Seek legal counsel before investing in a social media program
Legal professionals can assist in the development and implementation of an online content strategy that deals with issues of both protection and enforcement of trademarks.
For example, a lawyer can advise on such matters as registering the company’s brands as usernames on social media sites, clauses dealing with online use and monitoring third-party use of a company’s brand. Lawyers well-versed in Intellectual property law can advise on which trademarks are available for the company’s use and registration, and which ones are to be avoided due to potential confusion with existing trademarks.
Monitor your reputation regularly
When someone searches for your business, you want them to easily find you, along with all of the positive things being said about you. Unfortunately, it’s fairly common for users with malicious intentions to create social media pages or profiles to harm your business.
For example, the creator of a faux account might lure fans with the promise of special discounts, if they provide such sensitive data as credit card information. Then there’s the problem of social media users with pornographic avatars posting content on company pages and offending other fans.
Smart monitoring can help you address problems before they escalate into PR nightmares, as opposed to just taking a reactive approach.
Prioritize your efforts
While there is no formula per se to determine which channels pose the greatest risk, consider the results of a study by the company Altimeter. The company surveyed companies about their perceived level of risk through various social channels.
They found LinkedIn was considered a risk by just five percent of respondents, while sites like Pinterest, Flickr and Foursquare were named by only three percent of businesses. More than a third of respondents named Facebook as their most significant risk. Last, 25 percent said they worry most about Twitter, and video sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo were considered a risk by 15 percent.
The bottom line? Take a proactive approach to identify your organization’s protocol in the social media realm from the outset and you’ll be less likely to encounter problems along the way. The peace of mind is worth some work on the front end.