“Imagine the 1:35 a.m. call informing you that your new product scheduled for release next week has been accidentally leaked because of some Flickr images. Or the 5 p.m. call that the regulators are going to be in your office first thing tomorrow because of a response that one of your customer service reps tweeted to a customer.”
In his research report, “Guarding the Social Gates: The Imperative for Social Media Risk Management,” Altimeter Group analyst Alan Webber lays out those two chilling scenarios and more. While the ability for customers, partners, employees and others to communicate with and talk about your brand is a tremendous opportunity, it carries significant business risk.
Here are the four top risks, according to Alan’s research:
- Damage to brand reputation
- Releasing confidential information
- Legal, regulatory or compliance violations
- Identity theft or hijacking
But what do we really mean when we talk about social media risk? Alan defines it this way:
The likelihood that a negative social media event will happen
The impact that negative event will have if it does happen
The report lays out a framework–along with pragmatic recommendations–to help you identify, assess, mitigate and evaluate these risks.
Keep in mind, however, that as technologies, your social media strategies, the regulatory environment and even the political climate changes, your risk profile changes as well. This is not a one-and-done effort; it’s an ongoing function that requires a holistic approach to risk in the context of social strategy.
If you doubt this, take a look at today’s Washington Post story about how children’s advocacy groups are urging the FTC to investigate a number of large brands for allegedly violating violate the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
Here’s Alan’s report, available for download. Please use it to protect your customers, your company, colleagues and partners and your brand reputation.