Friday 2 March 2018

How social media can make or break your business

Why social media is a double-edged sword
It’s probably safe to say that social media has a variety of benefits; whether we’re talking about Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, these platforms have allowed us to network and engage with others in a way that was unfathomable, just a few short years ago. The caveat, however, is that these very platforms are the same ones that have placed some companies in harm's way. 

Obviously, posting something as benign as your office’s potluck is no cause for concern, but what about the disgruntled employee who feels compelled to rant about perceived problems in the workplace or someone who discloses proprietary company information on these sites? Social media has made the world, especially the corporate world, a lot smaller; information can be disseminated with the click of a button and could result in unfavorable repercussions for a company.
Social media statistics
Statistically speaking, the number of social media users is on the rise; in 2017, the collective users across all major social media sites equaled 2.46 billion, and by 2019, these numbers are expected to climb to 2.77 billion users. These numbers reflect usage amongst individuals and corporations alike. 

According to an article in the Arizona Republic, a Phoenix-based newspaper, social media can be detrimental to a business; the very nature of these platforms can leave corporations with little to no control over content. 

What does this mean, exactly? Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter make it possible for a variety of users to interact with one piece of content, which is often done through shares, likes, and in the case of Twitter, retweets. If an employee places a negative post on any of these sites, it can have a lasting effect on a business and, in some cases, can lead to financial loss.

The good and the bad
Obviously, social media is not inherently bad; however, businesses should be mindful that certain post, whether done in malice or carelessness, could potentially cause problems. What constitutes malicious intent? Well, it could be anything from unauthorized to inappropriate post on a company’s social media account, which oftentimes, can damage a business' reputation. 

Also, post that discloses proprietary information like company methods and processes can cause businesses to lose their competitive edge, which, in turn, could result in lost revenue. Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom; there are some benefits to professional social media accounts. These accounts can be a vehicle for marketing; if customers or employees post good reviews, it could establish trust, increase engagement and, lastly, create more business opportunities.

Protecting your brand 
What can companies do to safeguard their reputation? When it comes to social media, it’s highly recommended that you have established guidelines that delineate what is acceptable and unacceptable amongst your employees. 

Additionally, companies are encouraged to hire a social media screening service; these companies not only monitor your social media accounts, but they’re also valuable when it comes to hiring. For example, social media screening companies like Fama will conduct social media background checks on prospective employees to ensure that they’re a good fit for your organization, and they will monitor your accounts to help safeguard your company’s online presence. If you’re not currently using a social media screening service, there is no time like the present to get started.

* Guest post *

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