Managing your social media risk
There is still the "should we, or shouldn’t we?" question on social media for many businesses.
As you know, there is always the bad with the good, and I equate social media with modern day kids. No respect and it talks back.
With smartphones giving instant internet, video and photo capabilities to anyone, not one business is immune to the risks of being slammed online when something goes wrong.
A tetchy waitress, line too long, product that didn’t live up to expectations, movie not as good as promos promised.
Conversations are being held on the web with or without your consent. They travel extremely fast and can wreak havoc along the way.
How do you manage this risk?
As a mother of six – including twins and triplets, in case you didn’t know – I thought I’d write up a protection plan with a parenthood analogy.
As a first-time parent you start from scratch learning what is necessary to ensure the best outcome of the pregnancy, the birth and then helping your child grow healthy, happy and educated.
It is the same with social media. You start by educating yourself about it. What does it mean? What are the different avenues? What are the benefits as well as the pitfalls?
Four great websites to learn more are:
2. Establish boundaries
As your child starts to crawl and move through the house, you have to establish boundaries to keep them out of danger and mischief.
How will your staff know what is and what isn’t acceptable to do on social media if they haven’t been told? So the second step is to set up a company policy and procedures – and have staff sign off on it.
I think the easiest and clearest one is summed up by Telstra Australia with their Three R Policy.
1. Be clear about who you are Representing.
2. Take Responsibility for ensuring that any references to Telstra are factually correct and accurate and do not breach confidentiality requirements.
3. Show Respect for the individuals and communities with which you interact.
The policy does not apply to employees’ personal use of social media platforms where they makes no reference to Telstra-related issues.
Just as you start educating your child by showing and reading to them, you need to educate your staff about social media.
Your staff can vary from computer illiterate through to the tech-saavy 18 year old.
I would advise you to try and engage them on an emotional level by following these steps:
1. Explain what social media is and which ones you’ll be using.
2. Explain what the benefits are to the company.
3. Discuss potential pitfalls and risk. Use analogies if possible.
4. Give examples through stories.
5. Ask for their help – both in monitoring and in providing excellent customer service so a problem doesn’t develop in the first place.
Just as you always keep a watchful eye on your child, you have to continually monitor social media.
Like trying to get your infant into a regular routine of eating, napping and play time, you need to be disciplined and allocate a specific time to do your social media reputation checks (as well as your interaction).
This needn’t be onerous for two reasons:
1. You’ll see in "monitor the web" below that you can set up email alerts to come into your inbox – then you just set a time to look at these alerts.
2. If you have a smartphone it removes the necessity to do checks from your computer and enables you to check at any time, from any place.
Search for any social media your staff is a member of and ask to be a friend (Facebook), connection (Linkedin), follower (Twitter). If they blog, subscribe through a RSS feed.
Monitor the web
Search Google. Use www.gigaalert.com to send you alerts. Use SearchTwitter – the Twitter search engine.
If your child gets hurt or is in trouble you don’t just sit there – you get them and take care of it.
The most important way to fight the fire of criticism, negative feedback and unwanted comments is:
- Immediately respond with a thankful tone if it’s someone who has a problem and detailed what went wrong, or they commented with a suggestion of how to fix things, or if it is valid criticism. Respond in the same medium. For example, if it’s a Tweet, use Twitter to respond.
- If it’s just a random or spammy attack, it is best to ignore it.
Debbie Mayo-Smith is one of the most sought-after speakers in Australasia.
For a free quick tip newsletter, a vast collection of "how-to" articles and other resources to help you work smarter and save time, visit www.debbiespeaks.co.nz