Magazine article Financial Management (UK)

How to Deal with the Risks Posed by Social Media

Magazine article Financial Management (UK)

How to Deal with the Risks Posed by Social Media

Article excerpt

Social media can affect a business in two main ways: it has the potential to change the organisation's culture and also to increase the scope for external criticism. These factors are not entirely separate: the same social media that enables employees to circumvent traditional hierarchies can also allow them to communicate easily with critics on the outside--and perhaps even join them.

This being the case, companies might be tempted to crack down with stringent regulations designed to cover every eventuality. But such a move would be unwise, according to Phil Mennie, head of the social media governance service at PwC. "You may be excused for thinking that social media governance is simply about having a social media policy. But there are five other elements that are equally important," he says.

Mennie recommends that, apart from writing a clear policy on social media and ensuring that staff are aware of it, social media governance should include: having a clear idea of your social media objectives before setting controls; ensuring clear lines of command governing social media activities; having procedures in place to highlight problems and respond to these; ensuring data security; and achieving regulatory compliance.

Some experts would go further and actually encourage employees to engage with critics over social networks. Tom Liacas, a former activist who has since "turned gamekeeper" as an online reputation strategist, urges companies to put their people to the fore if the organisation comes under attack. …

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