Protecting Your Company from Common Social Blunders

Protecting Your Company from Common Social Blunders
By Devin Redmond

A quick look at last year’s social media headlines will tell you two things:

1) That social media has become a central enterprise communication channel.

2) That many organizations are still struggling to perfect their social media strategies. With corporate accounts being hijacked, users mistakenly posting to the wrong accounts, and questionable content getting posted to the right account, there are several lessons we can learn from all these social blunders.

Below, I’ve summarized the most common types of social media blunders from the last year, so you can get a read on how best to address them through technology, process, and policy.

Blunder #1: Bad Taste

It’s no secret that the most popular social content is timely and in the immediacy of a large discussion thread. But if you respond too quickly, without considering the implications of your post, it may offend or be viewed in bad taste.

Bad taste can be disastrous. You spend millions to build your brand persona to create trust, value, differentiation, and then it can all be eroded in less than a 140-character tweet.

Bad taste can take great resources and time to repair. It’s not just the cost of recovering, it’s the cost of lost business, brand equity, and ultimately means that each dollar you spend will have a more limited ROI.

Leverage a social marketing suite with built-in workflow for content review and approvals. Create a hierarchical system that provides for redundant controls to ensure content is reviewed and approved from multiple sources.

Blunder #2: Accidents

With potentially hundreds of accounts, apps, and users accessing your social content, it’s likely that at some point the wrong content is going to end up in the wrong post. Accidents are one of the most frequent and highly publicized social media blunders.

Accidents will be forgiven by your community if the response is authentic and timely, but the impact on engagement traffic can be significant. Governments are also fining brands for not actively moderating their page to reduce accidents or implement compliance controls.

Applications (e.g., Hootsuite) are the instrument by which you manage your social engagement, and thus they’re the most frequent vehicles for accidents. The following steps can help reduce accidents:

  • -Enforce application controls on accounts to catch and remediate unauthorized applications publishing to your branded social accounts
  • -Lock the profiles on your accounts to prevent erroneous admin updates and additions
  • -Limit the number of people and applications with direct access to your various brand accounts—don’t let every intern have access from every mobile app to every facet of your social infrastructure
  • -Use technological safe-guards to catch damaging content accidentally published to your page from any source—if a mistake happens, you have the option to be immediately notified and, if warranted, automatically remove the content within seconds
  • -Create a response plan and framework, and test it to evaluate its efficacy and ensure everyone knows what to do
Blunder #3: Direct Attacks

It’s not a matter of if, but when. Last year saw the Facebook pages and Twitter accounts of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the State of Israel get compromised. The larger and more popular your brand, the larger and more complex your social infrastructure—which in turn means big gaps in your security.

Account hijacking and direct attacks targeting your followers will have an extreme impact on the inherent trust your customers (and partners) have in your ability as a brand to protect them.

It’s not enough to rely on users setting better passwords. Implement an automated security suite to watch for anomalies across accounts, manage administrator access, and control authorized applications. These safeguards can also automate moderation of bad content, spam, and malware. Even bad URLs posted from a hijacked account can be automatically remediated and notified via an alert.

History will repeat itself and more social media blunders will occur in 2013. By recognizing the impact each of these mistakes can have on your company and taking steps to prepare and remedy them, you may just find that you’ve turned a potential blunder into a social media success story.

Photo Credit: twenty_questions via Photo Pin / Creative Commons

Devin Redmond is the CEO and Co-founder of Social iQ Networks. As a seasoned marketing executive and product planner with over 16 years of experience in public and private companies, he is passionate about leveraging technology to address the security, measurement, and management challenges organizations face in today’s cloud, mobile, and social environments. Redmond’s career includes executive and leadership roles in product management, marketing, business development, and sales.