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The risks around Social Media

The risks around Social Media

Jul, 18, 2014
by Rod Farrar

Well hello, in this session I want to talk about something that is coming to light more and more and that is the risks around social media. You will have seen over time, people who have made significant gaffes on Twitter, on Facebook, on other forms of social media. We have had our share of it in the ACT with a couple of football players having to leave the Canberra Raiders based on things that ended up on social media. We saw some issues around the Olympic squad and it even came to a head the other week with the person who won the Telstra business award in Brisbane, actually having that award stripped for comments that he made at last week’s State of Origin. What you need to understand as a business and as a person is what you put out there, will stay there.

Now, if you have social media platforms for your business, first and foremost – do not use those for personal comments. Even if you have a personal one, you need to understand that what you do and what you say on a personal Twitter account or on Facebook can come back and impact your reputation for the business and also your brand. If you are a company you have to think very, very carefully about the rules around the use of social media for your company. You also need to think about and plan any campaigns. We saw some amazing flops with Qantas a couple of years ago, we have seen Domino’s pizza has the same issues around social media. Plan very carefully and be careful what you ask for, because if you go out with a social media campaign hoping for positive feedback, you might actually find that the reverse is what you get.

Think about, “what are the risks?” When you are developing your social media campaign, think; what is the message I am going to put out there, what is the goal of what I want to achieve with this campaign, just ask the question. What can go wrong? Because if you can perceive it going wrong, then guess what? It can go wrong. The reputational damage that can be caused by one errant comment on Twitter or a campaign on Facebook can cause huge impacts to your business. It can lead to doing a whole lot of crisis management and a whole lot of back peddling. So if you do have that business account, I personally have a high level of social media presence with Paladin Risk, I certainly don’t use any of that social media for my own personal views and for smaller business that is the best way to go.

Larger businesses need to think very carefully about their campaigns. Identify what the objective is, identify the key messages you want to get out there, but follow the process: what can go wrong? And look at and manage those risks. Some of the strategies your might have are some sort of filtration where it has to go through an endorsement process or a filtering process before it ends up on a screen. That is not to vet out the bad stuff because you want that balanced comment but it vets out the vexatious, it vets out those people who are swearing, those things that could have an impact on you if they end up on your Twitter. Think very carefully about it because there are significant risks around social media, it is a wonderful thing – don’t get me wrong. My business would not be where it is if it weren’t for social media but be very careful and think of the risks. That’s all I have got for this session so as always, let’s be careful out there.

Written by Rod Farrar

Rod is an accomplished risk consultant with extensive experience in the delivery of professional consultancy services to government, corporate and not-for-profit sectors. Rod takes every opportunity available to ensure his risk management knowledge remains at the ‘cutting edge’ of the discipline. Rod’s Risk Management expertise is highly sought after as is the insight he provides in his risk management training and workshop facilitation. Rod was recognised by the Risk Management Institution of Australia as the 2016 Risk Consultant of the Year and one of the first five Certified Chief Risk Officers in Australasia.