Minimizing the Risks of Being on Social Media

By on January 27, 2020


Pixabay

Now is the best time for your business to get on social media. Regardless of whether you are interested in engaging on Facebook, Twitter, or any of the other social media sites, having a presence can be crucial for sharing your products, providing customer service, and growing your audience. However, social media is a fast-moving industry, and it only takes a second to send the wrong message to thousands of followers.

With this in mind, caution is essential. A well-constructed social media strategy will ensure that your company spreads the intended message without saying the wrong thing and ending up in hot water. Here are some common scenarios to avoid to retain your desired corporate image.

Watch What You Say

The prospect of advertising your business on social media and engaging with your faithful customers is exciting, but a strategy is necessary. You need everyone that is involved in your social media presence to be on the same page, so incorrect or harmful information is not shared. The policy should be clear and should state who can post, the frequency of postings, and what content should be allowed and avoided.

Many businesses have received flack for saying the wrong thing or appearing insensitive online. Back in 2016, the Cinnabon food company found itself under attack for mentioning that actress Carrie Fisher had the “best buns in the galaxy.” The issue? Carrie Fisher had died recently, and their followers saw it as tone-deaf. Even the wrong link could create issues as television channel ESPN learned when, instead of sharing information about a football player, they shared a link to a website for adult videos. Again, the audience was less than enthusiastic, and people remember these indiscretions.

Then there are legal concerns. Just because someone at your business finds a picture or video funny, it doesn’t mean they can post it without clearance because your company may not have the intellectual property rights to share it. You should also ensure that everything you share regarding your products is truthful, so you avoid false advertising claims. The best idea is to present questionable ideas to the compliance team before posting.

Be Positive About Negatives

Your company has joined social media because they are hoping to engage and enlarge your customer base, so the last thing you want to do is cause your business harm. To that end, all members of the team with posting permissions should be trained about what is on-brand and what is off-limits. These policies should include how you respond to customer replies or comments.

There are going to be customers who have issues with your business, but even if a customer complaint causes anger to a company representative, a positive approach must be taken. As an extreme example, the magazine Vanity Fair wrote an unsavory article about the dating app Tinder. As a response, the CEO of Tinder sent 30-tweet rant where they attacked the article and provided inaccurate data. Two days later, the CEO was fired.

The trick is to turn a negative into a positive. If a customer says that the item they bought from you arrived broken, respond by showing empathy and then tell them that you take pride in your product, and you will reach out to make things right. An even easier path is to include a link in your response that routes the customer directly to your customer service team. That way, the commenter can have their issue solved, and you retain a happy customer that will share their experiences with others.

Cybersecurity

Another risk to your social media presence is cybercriminals that would like nothing better than to hack into your system to steal customer info or use your social media accounts to send damaging posts under your name. So, ensuring that your business is not hacked also requires cybersecurity training. As a starter, the password to your social media accounts should only be shared with one or two authority figures and should be complex with letters, numbers, and special characters.

Hackers can also get into your system with a number of social engineering attacks that play on the employee’s emotions. For example, a hacker could try an attack called “baiting,” where they share a piece of software that seems helpful to the employee, like fake antivirus software, but instead, the installed code includes a virus that opens a door into your company’s infrastructure. One of the most often used attacks is phishing, where a hacker sends an email to an associate that evokes fear or curiosity, such as an email claiming to be from the IRS or their boss. The email will often include a link that the customer will click on that provides unauthorized access for the hacker.

Phishing emails are easy to fall for, so it is important to know the signs. To cause fear or intimidation, the subject and body of phishing emails will often include words like “urgent” or “response required.” On top of that, to avoid detection by security filters, phishing emails will often include many misspelled words and poor grammar. As a rule of thumb, never open an attachment or click a link in an email unless it is from a trusted source and you know it is coming.

Social media continues to be one of the best ways for a business to communicate with its customer base and attract new followers. Avoid these pitfalls, and your company will retain its squeaky clean image.

About Sam Bowman

Sam Bowman writes about marketing, tech, and how the two merge. He enjoys getting to utilize the internet for community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.
Close

Like what you're reading?

Like us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ for more!