15 Tips to Manage Social Media Risks

By Savell, Lawrence | Risk Management, October 2010 | Go to article overview

15 Tips to Manage Social Media Risks


Savell, Lawrence, Risk Management


Social networking presents many opportunities for companies that use it properly. But those that don't may face reputation damage, defamation cases and intellectual property lawsuits. So, armed with the following tips, try a little role-play. Pretend you are a plaintiff's lawyer and take a fresh look at your company's social networking activities. Think about the potential claims an attorney could raise on behalf of a client. Then, think about how you can apply these guidelines to minimize your risks.

#1: Don't Be Fooled by Informality

Horror stories persist about how the perceived informality of email caused employees to think there was latitude to say things that would be inappropriate in formal contexts. That same trap lurks in the social media. Employees must know they are subject to traditional legal principles.

#2: Know the Implications of Employee Posts

Employers are generally held responsible for all employee's actions that are performed as a part of their job. Remind staff that existing employee guidelines also apply to online posts--and create a social media policy that unambiguously formalizes acceptable behavior.

#3: Think Twice About Outside Submissions

Risks arising from posts or comments by third parties can be avoided by simply not allowing them. Not allowing posts or comments by others can have practical downsides, however. Chief among these is limiting opportunities for interaction with potential customers.

#4 if You Make a Mistake. Fix It

Should you determine that a mistake was made and that what you posted was a false, derogatory statement, a prompt correction or clarification should help reduce potential damages. Plus, it furthers the goal of providing accurate information to your audience.

#5: Never Make Promises You Can't Keep

If you say you will do something, make sure you follow through. This will help avoid potential liability for claims such as misrepresentation or breach of contract. It will also help keep you from earning the unwanted ire of disappointed customers.

#6: Monitor Your Online Presence

Regularly monitor your online pages and profiles so that you can promptly detect if your page or profile has been hijacked or modified by an outside party without permission. They may send messages you did not create and attribute them to you.

#7: Comply With Regulatory Requirements

If your business is in a heavily regulated industry, be sure you are not violating applicable requirements, If your business is a publicly traded entity that is subject to SEC regulations, do not run afoul of rules such as those regarding public statements. …

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