Modern day social media can have many benefits, but firms should protect themselves from the potential dangers.
The risks vary-from identity theft, to reputation damage, and ultimately a loss of business.
But if used carelessly, it can lead to personal and business reputation being damaged, such as in the event of inappropriate or controversial comments being posted.
Social media movements such as the ‘no-makeup selfies campaign’ generated massive interest and raised millions for cancer research.
Here are 7 dangers of social media and steps to mitigate it:
1. Trolls (people who deliberately and persistently post insulting and upsetting comments) and online bullying. These can present a risk to almost anyone, but particularly those who represent a controversial organisation or point of view. This can include politicians and CEOs of firms.
It is important to remain polite and respond to complaints. However, set boundaries if you have a troll problem, and post online rules of etiquette, for example. It helps to closely monitor conversations of followers and to step in if bullying becomes a problem.
2. A faux pas on social media. Comments, particularly jokes, can come across as inappropriate to other business owners and they may not wish to associate with you as a result. It can lead to employees being dismissed, or business opportunities lost.
Think carefully before you post humour or anything on a more personal level. Run it past a third party to check how your words may be interpreted.
3. Fake news. Sharing stories which are made-up, possibly from biased and unreliable sources, can make you look ill-informed and possibly judgemental. Check to make sure stories are true before sharing them.
4. Theft of personal information. Criminals looking to hack into your bank account could find clues for passwords in the content you post on social media. Think before sharing your date of birth, address, telephone number, your pet’s name or other personal information which could help a would-be identify thief.
5. Burglary. Avoid sharing when you are away on holiday or at a conference until after you have returned home.
6. Marketing backfires. Messages put out casually through social media might not capture the right tone for your target clients. Consider carefully any potential negative impacts of your messaging in every event.
7. Wasting time. The creation and posting of social media postings can take up many hours, which could be better used elsewhere. It is worth putting a social media strategy in place and allocating set hours to the activity.