This post is in follow up to our post last week about the risks of social media, this time we are looking at how to avoid them.
1. Litigation – to avoid the threat of litigation put HR processes in place so that your staff knows what can be said and what can’t. Never spout off in social media in the heat of the moment and always stop to ask if what you are posting is professional, fair and representative of your brand.
2. Brand Killer – Avoid diluting your brand by using the same corporate or product name, logo, corporate colours and messaging in all these forums. Ensure that the brand remains consistent across all touch points and that your presence is easily recognizable.
3. Forever and Ever – always remember that what you post is out there forever so refer back to point one.
4. Time Waster – schedule time for social media marketing and stick to it. If you want to play, do it in your own time to avoid the big time suck.
5. Pushy -look for opportunities to add value, to answer questions those in your community ask that are relevent to your area of expertise and always share links, posts and sites that you think might be valuable to your audience. This really helps in building your rapport online and mitigates any risk of looking too pushy. Oh and remember not to blatantly sell – it just puts followers off.
6. Disclosure – again make sure to put in place policies so that staff know what is expected of them in social media, what can and can’t be said.
7. Negativity – if someone says something bad about you in these forums, respond quickly and professionally – state your case or address the concern. This will have the counter effect of showing that you are listening and that your company cares about what people think.
8. Just Because – Don’t build a social media presence just because its the latest buzz technology. Before you start ask, what is in it for me or my company, do I have the time and resources to do this, how are my competitors using it, is my target market on there or is there an opportunity to reach new markets.
9. Spam – you can limit this by being extremely strategic and careful when building your following, by using software like Akismet and Captcha and by making sure you don’t click on links from untrusted sources.
10. Ignore It – A social media presence might not be right for every company but that doesn’t mean you should ignore social media completely. Use these forums to listen and learn and to hear what is being said about your industry to help you stay ahead of the curve.
I did a search for “risk” on Flickr and up came this wonderful photo of a tiger from Ian Michael Thomas’ fabulous photostream. Social media may be risky but thankfully it doesn’t have such sharp teeth! Thanks Ian.
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