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Using Risk Analysis to Start Social Media Slowly

November 2nd, 2009 · 1 Comment

BLUF(Bottom Line Up Front) There are two approaches to using this Risk Assessment for social media 1) Use it to obtain reluctant management’s approval to start social media in the Low Risk arena. 2) Use it to create guidelines for your organization on what can and cannot be discussed by different groups via social media.

The reason many companies don’t want to try social media is Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD).  Fear of financial problems, legal problems, PR problems, sales problems, personnel problems, etc resulting from social media discussions.  How can you convince reluctant management to start participating in social media?  One key is in this blog post Navigating the Tweet Approval Maze where ScoopDog offers the idea of rating the possible risks of social media participation. 

I’ve reorganized their list and divided it into Low Risk, Moderate Risk and High Risk categories.  Using this list you can create a social media guide for your company or contact 1Good Reason to help you do it immediately.

Social Media Risk Assessment

Low Risk-
OK for all employees to discuss via social media. Detailed discussions on a specific topic should be directed to the appropriate department, but anyone can and should mention these types of events in their social media stream.

  • Public Events- Tradeshows, presentations, webinars, product launches
  • Public Information- product info, articles, whitepapers, videos, sales material
  • Opportunities- help wanted, seeking vendor/provider/partner
  • Company News- parties, events, charitable giving

Moderate Risk-
Mentions of these items should be handled on a case by case basis.  Subject Matter Experts in some departments should be given appropriate latitude to discuss subjects in their area.  But these topics should be primarily left to the responsible group, Marketing, Customer Service, PR or HR. When other employees find themselves in these discussions they should refer them to the correct personnel.

  • Product Information- product tips, warnings, recalls, updates, and upgrades
  • Re-Tweets of posts by others- articles that illustrate issues in the field, promote your position as though leaders and educators, mainly marketing and PR
  • Trade News-events, issues and breaking news, done with caution primarily by marketing and PR

High Risk-
Discussion of these items should be handled with the utmost care and will most likely be handled as a link to a position statement a press release or other formal document.

  • Organization Changes- Acquisitions, divestiture, senior management changes, major policy changes
  • Legal Matters- This is a broad category and will require detailed discussion in your organization
  • Investor Relations- fraught with regulatory issues must be handled by experts
  • Regulatory Issues- where applicable, these must be handled by experts

Slow Start: To begin a slow social media program work with your management team to define your exact set of Low Risk topics for discussion.  Then agree on a limited set of personnel who will be allowed to represent the company in social media and discuss these topics.  In the Low Risk section above replace “all employees” with “all authorized employees”.  Work over time to expand the list of topics and the group of authorized personnel.

Your turn: Give me 1 Good Reason why you can’t get this started in your company today? (Please leave your comment below.)

Posted via email from ckieff’s posterous

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Tags: Reasons For Net Marketing

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Jesse Torres // Mar 5, 2012 at 8:50 pm


    Good points. I would almost call the High Risk activities “OFF LIMITS!” due to the inherent risks.

    I wanted to share with you a risk assessment that I created. I think your points fit perfectly into it. I created it for my professional purposes and thought others could also benefit from it. It is in Word so it can be easily customized.

    You can download it from here: http://socialmediabanking.blogspot.com/2012/03/social-media-risk-assessment-process.html

    Give it a look and let me know your thoughts.

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