The Social Explosion
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The Social Explosion 
technology  risk services; marketing 

 

By: Robert Payne
Abstract:

“You can either get on the social bus or you can get dragged behind it, your choice” CIO Magazine, October 18, 2010


There are approximately 500 million active Facebook users, 100 million Twitter users, and 120 million LinkedIn users.  It is more about when you will use social media rather than if you will use it.  You and your employees are likely signed on to social networks before, during, and after work.  The use of social media is fairly evenly split between cell phones and computers (but the distinction between a PC, laptop, notebook, or cell phone is now pretty blurred.  What is it that you cannot do on a smart phone?)

 

What does senior management see as the main benefits obtained from social media?  It seems social media can build on a company’s existing brand and help enhance relationships with customers.  On the other hand, social media can just as easily, or perhaps even more easily, be used to damage a company’s brand.  Do you know how your company’s image is perceived online?  It is probable your image is seen differently by your employees, customers, and perhaps even your vendors.

 

What is the main reason companies do not use social media?  Primarily, it appears, they do not know enough about it and they are concerned with security and confidentiality issues.  Very few seem to think it is a bad idea or see no need for it.


Every company should establish a corporate strategy for social media, how it will be used, or why you will avoid its use.  This should, as with all strategies, be monitored on a frequent basis.  The only thing guaranteed is the strategy will need to change at some point to reflect the company’s revised use of social media.

Do you know how your company’s image is perceived online?  It is probable your image is seen differently by your employees, customers, and perhaps even your vendors.

 

 

Every company needs a social media policy to provide guidelines to employees concerning what is permitted (i.e., use of company owned equipment, personal or business use).  An existing policy could be amended to reflect social media (i.e., the corporate security policy). Measures should be taken to safeguard the reputation of the company and to protect the privacy and confidentiality of corporate information.  Social media is a new vehicle for disseminating information.  What was once done by word of mouth may now be accomplished online and made available to a much larger audience.

 

Just as companies may monitor the Internet for references to their brand, they may also need to monitor social media for similar content.  It is thought that there are in excess of 100 tools in the marketplace that can assist in the monitoring of social media.

 

In summary, while social media may have significant benefits to the company, there are inherent risks as well.  As stated before, the risks may not be new, but their chance of occurring may be increased.  Corporate strategies, policies, and procedures will need to be developed to allow social media to be used as a business enabler.